Ripple makes payroll work by land or by sea

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If you’re searching for an industry with exceptionally complicated workforce dynamics, look offshore. Mariners work on vessels that are always in motion, their shift may start in one tax jurisdiction and sail  into another, and their actual work is performed far away from the land-based software that created the original shift schedules. Time variances are common and it’s difficult to track hours and incremental pay once away from port. Enter Ripple, a software platform that’s built for the unique challenges of the maritime industry. 

Ripple is the system that operates blue-chip tugboat, towboat, and barge operators in the United States and the largest ferry systems worldwide. Ripple provides human capital management, crew operations, training, learning, and development solutions to maritime operators, supporting hundreds of thousands of mariners and operators across various sectors, including ferry, cruise, offshore, fishery, and tug, tow, and barge industries. Ripple became the system that knows who the mariners are, when and where they work, and what they earn. Ripple is private equity backed and serves customers across the US and Canada with workforces from the hundreds into thousands.  


Ripple earned acclaim for offering comprehensive human capital management and operational solutions in an underserved industry, but for many years their customers asked for a solution to one more struggle: managing payroll. The maritime industry's complexity, characterized by unique schedules and regulatory requirements, demanded a specialized payroll solution and typically maritime operators have no choice but to shoulder this burden themselves and hire employees to force the nuances of maritime payroll to fit into market payroll tools that aren’t designed to support it. This means more hours to run payroll and a higher operational cost on land. 

Ripple identified an opportunity to launch a payroll product that fully integrates with the extensive data collected through their existing systems - - and fit the compliance needs of the maritime industry. The challenge was to develop and implement a payroll solution that seamlessly integrates with the current platform, handles industry-specific requirements, and could be deployed quickly. 


Ripple needed a partner that could ingest workforce data in a very specific way and could handle very specific nuances in time tracking that were specific to the industry. After a search, they selected Salsa for its flexible infrastructure and deep partnership approach.  Salsa’s experienced and hands-on team worked closely with Ripple throughout the development process, ensuring that the new payroll solution met specific needs and integrated smoothly with the existing platform. This collaboration was crucial in addressing the complexities of the integration and ensuring that the solution was robust and user-friendly. Ripple’s team found it helpful to be able to collaborate directly with Salsa’s engineers in Slack and have virtually real time developer support every step of the way. 

Salsa’s architectural approach is different than other providers, and this allows both sides to focus on what they do best: Ripple captures hours and earnings, sends them to Salsa via its Paystream API, and doesn’t have to worry about learning and owning payroll concepts: Salsa figures out where these pay elements belong in relationship to payroll and compliance. Salsa’s powerful overtime and time off accrual engine also mean partners like Ripple have to build less to get a compliant solution to market. 

Salsa’s flexible architecture allowed Ripple to quickly build a proof of concept and begin marketing payroll as a feature for its customers. Whenever Ripple proposed unique requirements from customer meetings, Salsa provided solutions that enabled them to develop a product without compromises. This case study illustrates how a strategic partnership with Salsa and the use of flexible technology can lead to rapid deployment and significant industry impact. Ripple's entry into payroll reinforces its commitment to supporting maritime operators by providing everything customers need to enhance operational efficiency.

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