Seabreeze Amusement Park

Seabreeze Amusement Park is a 36-acre historic amusement park on Lake Ontario, outside of Rochester, New York. It opened on August 5, 1879, the fourth-oldest operating amusement park in the country. With more than 70 attractions today, it features four roller coasters, thrill rides, live shows, family rides, kiddie rides, a water park and more. Its in-season today runs from mid-June to early September (Labor Day) with pre-season beginning in mid-May. Its off-season runs September to May. Seabreeze hires as many as 750 seasonal workers for its custodial and attraction operations, both in the amusement park and the water park.

Challenges

Seabreeze had a seasonal part-time workforce fluctuating from 35 to 750 employees. Their workforce needed accountability for multiple certifications—from employees with first aid and CPR training to large amusement ride operators to technicians and aquatics certifications. Another challenge was that most employees worked outside in multiple locations, subject to weather and environmental conditions. Finally, Seabreeze had potential unproductive employee labor time that needed to be captured to quantify their indirect labor costs.

Solutions

There’s a dilemma faced by seasonal and outdoor businesses across the country. Whether outdoor farm venues, restaurants, fairs, recreational outfitters or other seasonal businesses, these companies either have to do business the old way and hope that it continues to work

or find new solutions that make more sense economically and efficiently—especially when it comes to a sizeable investment in infrastructure.
Seabreeze Amusement Park had a particular kind of business with a focused need so we began by looking at the big picture and then narrowed down to their individual needs.

WE THEN TURNED TO HELP SEABREEZE SELECT PORTABLE TIME KEEPING TERMINALS AND DESIGNED THE SYSTEM AS A SOFTWARE-AS-A-SERVICE SOLUTION.

THIS LOWERED THE OVERALL COSTS—AS IT OFTEN DOES WITH THESE KINDS OF BUSINESSES. YOU PAY FOR ONLY WHAT YOU USE.
THE RESULT WAS HAPPY EMPLOYEES AND AN EFFICIENT TIME AND COST MANAGEMENT
SYSTEM.

We ended up providing a time and attendance, labor management and scheduling solution that was built off our ViewSUITE software product. It adapts easily and has plenty of wiggle room for the touches that make clocking and clocking out uniform and fast. Our solution essentially net-wired the entire park with Wi-Fi units and a network of antennae that connected to our workforce management software and hardware.

We then turned to help Seabreeze select portable time keeping terminals. We designed the system as a software-as-a-service solution. This lowered the overall costs—as it often does with these types of businesses. You pay for only what you use. The result was happy employees and an efficient time and cost management system.

The Story

Trolley parks began in the 19th century as picnic and recreation areas along or at the ends of streetcar (or “trolley”) lines. These parks were created by the streetcar companies to give people a reason to use their services on weekends and originally consisted of picnic groves and pavilions, where events such as dances, concerts and fireworks were held. Many trolley parks morphed into the modern day amusement park by adding features like swimming pools, carousels, Ferris wheels, roller coasters, boat rides, sports fields, hotels, restaurants and other resort facilities. It was out of this environment that Seabreeze was born.

The land between Lake Ontario and Irondequoit Bay was owned by the Rochester & Suburban Railway Company and the only way to get to this scenic area at the time was by boat or rail. Concessionaires to set up, which created a destination and business for the transit
company.

THE PARK, WITH ITS LONG HISTORY OF PROVIDING FAMILY FUN THROUGHOUT UPSTATE AND CENTRAL NEW YORK AND
WESTERN NEW ENGLAND, NEEDED TO UPDATE ITS WORKFORCE MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS TO REMAIN PROFITABLE AND
EFFICIENT.

By 1903, it was a popular resort destination, filled with small amusements and “hotels,” when the first ride appeared – a Figure 8 Coaster. There were also dance halls, stages, and carousels, and Seabreeze quickly got the nickname "Coney Island of the West"—referring to the most famous of trolley parks.
Today, Seabreeze Amusement Park provides a variety of adult and kiddie rides and attractions, including four roller coasters (Jack Rabbit, Whirlwind, Bobsleds, & Bear Trax), thrill rides (like the Screamin' Eagle, Revolution 360, Log Flume) live shows (Cirque En Vol), and a water park (includes Hydro Racer, Wave Pool, Soak Zone). The park, with its long history of providing family fun throughout upstate and central New York and western New England, needed to update its workforce management systems to remain profitable and efficient.
Into the 21st Century

In the early part of the 21st century, Seabreeze began working to identify the main labor management and scheduling challenges it faced as it continued to rely on seasonal, part-time employment pool and update its amusements. The Park’s rides were updated every few years and its facilities remodeled, which required an ever-evolving labor pool with a wide range of employees with a variety of skills and certifications.

After Seabreeze contacted Acumen Data Systems in 2006, we reviewed their time and labor situation. We decided that LaborVIEW would allow Seabreeze managers to effectively know who was doing what, when, and why. The integrated Acumen time and attendance system eliminated the guesswork and redundant data entry—information that was often captured with time punch cards or even with pen and
paper.

SEABREEZE SAID AT THE OUTSET THEY WERE MORE INTERESTED OPERATING THEIR BUSINESS RATHER THAN OPERATING
COMPUTERS. THE INTEGRATED ACUMEN TIME AND ATTENDANCE SYSTEM ELIMINATED THE GUESSWORK AND
REDUNDANT DATA ENTRY—INFORMATION THAT WAS OFTEN CAPTURED WITH TIME PUNCH CARDS OR EVEN WITH PEN AND
PAPER.

LaborVIEW allowed managers to get at the true costs of their amusement operations with flexible pay rules that they determined, not us. And there’s easier-than-ever Timecard or Time Slip forms for employees, supervisors and administrators.
Seabreeze said at the outset they were more interested operating their business rather than operating computers. For one thing, there’s a heavy overhead with computers—from purchasing to repair to upgrading.

There were also data security issues. That’s why the SaaS system made sense. It’s certified and works through Rackspace, one of the most secure support and documentation cloud management companies available. Fees are based per employee and charged monthly, for as long as needed. When the job is over, you simply stop paying for the software.

Uptime and redundancy are no longer burdens for Seabreeze. Paring infrastructure with service means greater value. Best of all, we gave Seabreeze easy access to engineers—by phone, by chat, by email, 24x7x365 without long waits—to help with planning, architecting, building, and operations, if needed.

The reality of the amusement park industry is that one size never fits all. And Acumen did its best to find the perfect fit from its robust family of hardware and attendance software platforms. We addressed Seabreeze’s unique needs—with the capabilities of multi-tenant and single-tenant platforms, and with the flexibility to be hosted in their data center or ours. In fact, the managed cloud offered through Rackspace gave Seabreeze an industry-leading 100% Network Uptime Guarantee.

THE REALITY OF THE AMUSEMENT PARK INDUSTRY IS THAT ONE SIZE NEVER FITS ALL. AND ACUMEN DID ITS BEST TO FIND THE PERFECT FIT FROM ITS ROBUST FAMILY OF HARDWARE AND ATTENDANT SOFTWARE PLATFORMS .

Our approach is designed to keep Seabreeze running fast and lean. Acumen’s LeaveVIEW is at heart an advanced attendance benefit and leave rules engine at Seabreeze’s fingertips. With complete customizability and easy integration with Legacy systems—which was not an issue at Seabreeze but often is with other companies. Evaluations, skills & certifications, property tracking, accident & injury tracking, employee training, all at the click of a mouse. Our self-service portal (through an employee-only dashboard) handles it all for Seabreeze’s complicated employee structure: personnel information, schedules, certifications, benefit balances, time-off requests, IM messaging for vital communication, and much more. With easy management of compliancy, status and leave requests.

The software has flexibility into the future. If Seabreeze ever needed it, the system will empower employees with self-service time-off requests and balance view capabilities. Email reminders and flexible workflows speed the time-off approval process and ensure accuracy and compliance. It keeps track of ever- changing leave entitlements.

Employees planned and unplanned absences can no longer stop up work. Obviously, at an amusement park, it can ruin a day and even more. Absences can wreak havoc, affecting productivity and even morale. With LeaveVIEW’s range of capabilities, it kept Seabreeze going even when its employees couldn’t, for whatever reason (and there are many in the amusement park
business).

ABSENCES CAN WREAK HAVOC, AFFECTING PRODUCTIVITY AND EVEN MORALE. WITH LEAVEVIEW’S RANGE OF
CAPABILITIES, IT KEPT SEABREEZE GOING EVEN WHEN ITS EMPLOYEES COULDN’T.

LeaveVIEW helped managers direct their diverse employee leaves and absences with ease. This includes Federal, State/Provincial, Union and Corporate policy. Manage overlapping eligibility, accrual and notifications.

As for accrual and balance calculations, Acumen helped Seabreeze define highly configurable rules and formulas that take care of accrual calculations, end of year resets, overdraw limits, and more. Our pre-delivered software gave Seabreeze real-time insights and customized reports with filters and groupings to get the exact time-off data they needed.

In the end, from time and attendance to managing eligibility, defining when to accrue, how much, maximums and notices, Acumen was able to help bring this historic institution into the 21st century with ease, fun, efficiency and profit.