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A regional asphalt paving and road construction company with a dozen locations was dealing with a number of problems managing their safety footwear program. It was set up as a typical reimbursement program with a fixed amount allocated per employee.

Employees purchased footwear from any retail outlet, paid out-of-pocket and submitted the receipt for reimbursement. Location managers had to handle paper receipts, complete a reimbursement form and mail the documents back to the centralized Human Resources department along with their payroll reports. An employee in HR compiled the data, managed the program on a spreadsheet and forwarded a request to Accounting to cut a reimbursement check for the employee.

Often employees handed in receipts at the job site since employees would often start work on location. Lost receipts, confusion regarding eligibility and the fact that employees waited two to four weeks to get a reimbursement check (which still needed to be cashed at a bank) created frustration for both location managers and employees.

The Gearcor Safety Footwear program simplified the administration with an easy to use, online system that maintains the employee census, monitors eligibility, tracks employee purchases and validates compliance with the company policies and OSHA requirements.

"Gearcor helped reduce the overall cost of providing this benefit."

Location managers are relieved of administering the footwear program and a single administrator in HR is now able to maintain the census and provide oversight.

In addition, reimbursement checks were eliminated and billing has been reduced to a consolidated bi-weekly invoice. These efficiencies along with others helped eliminate wasted administrative costs and reduce the overall cost of providing this benefit.

Employees benefit by being able to make purchases online via a home computer, tablet or smartphone. For additional convenience, Gearcor provides a printed mini-catalog so that some employees who lacked a computer could simply call in their order. Voucher balances are displayed at log in and automatically applied to purchases with any remaining balance being paid for by credit card or through selecting the payroll deduction option.

With the requirement to pay out-of-pocket for their footwear, employees often purchased the cheapest boots they could find that would be fully covered by the voucher. Inferior boots often fell apart within months and the soles of the asphalt worker's boots would become caked with hardened asphalt and gravel. When boots became unusable, some employees would report to work with non-safety toe boots and footwear not suitable for the job.

Gearcor provides a solution to this problem by offering footwear styles specifically designed for use in asphalt paving, including the Cofra Asphalt Boot which includes a unique flat bottom sole and heat resistant materials. Not only does this boot solve multiple usage and quality challenges, it was priced to the employees to fall within their voucher amount.

Employees in other occupations or in the general construction divisions benefit from a broad selection of name brand styles at competitive prices.

The success of the Safety Footwear Program led to the creation of a section on the co-branded website that enabled location managers to order company uniform shirts, gloves, hardhats, safety glasses, hi-vis clothing and other consumables.

A combination of company owned products and PPE provided by Gearcor is held in inventory by Gearcor and shipped to the various locations. The program uses a location budget allocation and enabled the location managers to handle their own PPE requirements and budget.

* Note: By mutual agreement, the name of the customer referenced in this case study is not available due to competitive concerns for both Gearcor and the Employer.

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