he International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), established in 1937, is a labor union responsible for representing dock workers on the West Coast. Local 13, the Los Angeles chapter of the union was established shortly thereafter. The new union member database saved them time, money and effort.
This West Coast Local was struggling with their legacy membership software, which was more than a decade old and was not keeping up with their business needs. More and more operations were being handled offline using spreadsheets and manual processes. Data entry was becoming increasing difficult as membership grew. It was also difficult to answer member questions, because data was located in multiple places, and there was no single system of record.
At the same time, the Local was very interested in improving member services. They had launched a member portal two years prior, which provided some basic self-service features such as accessing contracts and updating their contact information. But even that became problematic, because the portal did not integrate with the membership system. Members would be upset that they had changed their address online, only to discover that the change had not been transcribed into the main database.
We began our implementation like we always do, with a Discovery Project. We used the Discovery to confirm the project scope, cost, and schedule.
Next came the implementation, which took four months. This included migrating all of their legacy data into eMembership. We configured (and customized, where necessary) eMembership to meet the specific business processing requirements of the Local.
Whereas onboarding of new members used to be a manual process requiring data entry into multiple screens, this can now be accomplished by simply importing a spreadsheet directly into eMembership. Further, new members are now automatically enrolled in requisite training classes that can be tracked and managed by office staff, as well as members themselves via the eMembership Member Portal.
With their legacy system, the Local used to have to manually key in thousands of payroll and remittance records every month. With eMembership, now they simply upload the files directly into the system.
We also replaced the legacy member portal, which was not connected to their member database, with an eMembership Member Portal. The new Portal and eMembership use the same database in real time, so data updated by the staff is immediately available to members online, and vice versa. No more syncing of data; no more angry members! The new Member Portal provides for loads of functionality that the old one did not, including the ability to pay dues online, check union standing, manage training status, and enroll in training classes. And best of all, we deployed the Member App so that members can access all Portal functions from their phones.
Membership cards printed out of eMembership have QR codes that employers can scan, which provide real-time access to the member’s union standing and training status. This replaced the periodic printing of cards and documents needed by those employers.
““We had a system that really didn’t work for a union. We wanted to move from an accrued based accounting system into a more cash-basis system. Our old software couldn’t handle that. It was a nightmare. We evaluated three companies; Membership just seemed so user-friendly. Reporting was simple. Winmill made the transition a really intense and rigorous process – easy. There has never been a time when I wasn’t able to get in touch with someone. Everything has been so easy. It simplifies my life. And the online portal is such a convenience to our members. And Winmill continuously reaches out and follows up, including when new modules come out. I really appreciate that. It’s been awesome.”
The Local is saving enormous time and effort by having all data consolidated in a single system, as a single source of truth. No more data being managed in spreadsheets; no more confusion as to which data is most up to date; and no more painstaking consolidation of data from multiple sources.
The Member Portal and Member App have been extremely well received by the members. The volume of member calls coming into the Local dropped by 40% in just 12 months.
The ability to upload remittance and payroll files has reduced the month need for temporary data-entry staff. Further, the data quality is never compromised, because it is not subject to typing errors.
Processes that used to be manual, like remittance data entry, member onboarding and member training, are now integrated into eMembership. Automated workflows save time and ensure that nothing falls through the cracks. The eMembership homepage has a “to do” list for each staff member.
Members need to be able to demonstrate to employers that they have met training requirements. An employer’s ability to scan the QR code on the member’s card to get real-time, up-to-date training status has eliminated the need for reprinting cards, providing interim proof of training, and constant calls into the union.
The reporting capabilities of eMembership have been a game changer. Query Builder allows users to formulate their own reports at any time. And our customizable dashboards allow the users to see a graphical snapshot of the data that is most important to them.