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PDS Catches Attention With Low-key Approach

June 3, 2005

Industry-leading HRMS companies use aggressive sales and marketing campaigns and big trade shows attended by hundreds of clients to help sell their software. Then there is PDS, a full-service HRMS company based in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania.

    PDS, which generates $5 million to $10 million in revenue serving midmarket companies, gets a lot of business by word-of-mouth. The 31-year-old company offers a full suite of HRMS products, such as payroll, tax management, recruitment and staffing, regulatory compliance and employee and manager self-service software. Still, when it comes to marketing, it bears little resemblance to larger vendors like SAP, Oracle and Lawson Software.

    "Most of our marketing has been designed to work in reverse," says vice president of sales George Brady. "People seek us out."

    For PDS, the combination of good technology, low cost and service is working.

    "We like to say we bring our projects in on time and under budget," Brady says. "We have always been the smallest vendor in our market space, but I can name a lot of companies much bigger than us who are no longer in business."

    One of the clients who sought PDS out is Anne Vekaryasz, the corporate payroll supervisor for Tendercare, Michigan’s largest chain of long-term care facilities. Tendercare was paying a substantial amount to a large Web-based HRMS payroll specialist but was still plagued by time cards, spreadsheet problems and communicating with the company’s 4,200 employees stretched out over 37 facilities.

    "We found we needed more control," Vekaryasz says. "We wanted to become completely self-sufficient."

    Getting software salespeople to trek up to her base in Rogers City, a small town in northeast Michigan, proved difficult. One leading HRMS vendor didn’t even return her call, Vekaryasz says. But PDS did, and a contract was signed.

    "We found they were the best fit for us for the right money," she says.

    A much bigger client is Teleflex, an international engineering products company that has dozens of subsidiaries, 19,000 employees and $2 billion in annual revenue and is growing by leaps and bounds.

    Now near the end of a five-year implementation project with PDS, Teleflex needed a single system to tie together the 100-plus companies that it has acquired. The companies were being served by a variety of payroll and HRMS vendors.

    Cory Wetterau, the Teleflex human resources information system project manager working with PDS, says his company has saved nearly $500,000 so far by consolidating various systems. One of the big benefits is that Teleflex licensed and bought the PDS Vista system. That allows the company to save on things like float, the value of interest on tax withholding and payroll money banked by the firms that previously provided payroll on a contract basis.

    It also helps that Teleflex is located in Limerick, Pennsylvania--close enough to Blue Bell to get hands-on service.

    "PDS is a small local firm we can lean on and get a lot of support from," Wetterau says.

    Offering ownership of their HRMS system is part of the value proposition Brady says his company can provide.

    "When people rent, they move on to what they perceive is the next latest greatest thing," Brady says. "If they buy it, they will stay with you. We’ve had customers who have been with us for eight, 10, 20 years."

Workforce Management, June 2005, p. 62 --Subscribe Now!