Retailers want to spend their time on almost anything other than administration. However, if they are not careful, administrative tasks can still take up a substantial portion of their time. Particularly where HR administration is concerned.
As the retail trade is characterised by high staff turnover and many short-term contracts for relatively few hours, often spread across many different branches, the administrative workload is automatically high.
Effective management of the administrative workload requires entrepreneurs to interface with various market parties such as the accountant who processes the payroll, software suppliers for the time registration system and the HRM system, and they also have to submit information in several different areas: absenteeism, holiday, hours, working conditions, etc. All of this is peripheral to the true challenge, which is to make optimum use of staff capacity.
Cindy Stadt, P&O Manager at Bouwmaat Amsterdam BV has first-hand experience of this scenario. ‘We employ 120 people, spread across five different branches. Our human capital is an enormous asset, which we want to use efficiently. The introduction of new legislation seems likely to increasingly reduce the flexibility with which we can deploy our people. Furthermore, as a manager you have to be in close contact with your staff. Do your employees work well? Do they deliver the results you want? And is their hourly rate appropriate for the work they do? We have many full-time contracts and long-service employees who have sometimes reached the end of their career paths. So how do you keep control of your staff while still being able to move with the market and react adequately to the economy? Questions like this often keep me awake at night.’
This is a familiar story for Marco de Jong, who works as an account manager for Manus HR Services Europe. Many of his retail customers can barely shoulder the burden of their administrative obligations and are left with too little time to truly involve themselves in the business. De Jong: ‘Customers require greater efficiency and more information in order to manage their day-to-day business affairs based on hours, plans, budgets and margins.’ Manus HR Services Europe approached AFAS Software with the idea of offering a joint solution to the retail trade. Aart-Pieter van den Berg, HRM Sales Manager at AFAS: ‘Because we service a number of joint customers, we had already engineered a link to the MANUS+ WFM suite. We have now succeeded in integrating our solutions to create a single portal that is facilitated by Manus HR Services Europe. We supply our software, they do the rest.’ An efficient alliance that has resulted in a logical and innovative solution: MANUS+ TOTAL HR, powered by AFAS.
This was music to the ears of Cindy Stadt: ‘I was looking for a total solution that would provide answers for all of the challenges. A single administrative portal where we can enter our personnel data, create a capacity plan and also link it to the standardised hourly rates; a commonly used tool in the retail trade. In addition, we wanted to create a digital communication channel with our employees in the form of easily accessible web portals. MANUS+ TOTAL HR powered by AFAS satisfied these requirements.’
MANUS+ TOTAL HR makes it possible for customers to work more effectively, efficiently and easily. Information only has to be recorded once and is no longer fragmented across a range of systems. Retailers no longer have to worry about whether their people are paid in accordance with the collective labour agreement and regulations; after the initial effort to set things up, nothing can go wrong. Thanks to this collaboration, entrepreneurs can once again focus on the original reason for setting up their own business. Less administration and more time devoted to business activities. In addition, the solution increases product margins by reducing the cost base.
The introduction of the new system has allowed Bouwmaat Amsterdam to computerise and digitise its processes. ‘The solution is very user-friendly and attractively designed based on advanced technological developments. Employees can view their work rosters digitally and book their hours via the portal. They can also view their personnel files and submit expense claims. Responsibilities are now assigned to the right place. To the employees or the managers, but not to P&O’. This means a new way of working for the branches, with work schedules that are based on customer traffic and turnover instead of historical information and intuition. ‘A cultural upheaval.’ says Stadt
Van den Berg confirms that a different way of working often leads to a cultural upheaval. But one from which everyone benefits. ‘That is an important motivation for AFAS. Less administration and more time spent on the business; everybody benefits. Down to the cashier and sales floor workers who also use the system via a portal.’ Ensuring that administrative processes run smoothly also creates opportunities for growth, according to De Jong: ‘Administrative tasks have no added value; they don't improve your store's performance. What we actually do is give time back to the shop manager. Time he can devote to his business.’
Stadt benefits from these advantages on an almost daily basis: ‘We are much less dependent on expensive arrangements with temporary staff agencies and can use our own human capital more efficiently. We have the information we need to be able to manage effectively. And our administrative processes run more efficiently as well. Thanks to the portal, we generate increasingly fewer emails because responsibilities have shifted to the line and the managers use the portal to determine what action is required. We see where problems arise in the branches and can react by building a cushion of flexibility into contracts and assigning staff back and forth between the branches. This allows us to compensate for fluctuations in the market and in business activities much more flexibly now, and reduce our staff costs. We save money and managing the activity is less complex.’
A logical alliance that has resulted in a logical and innovative solution
Bouwmaat is a wholesaler of building materials for the professional market, with 46 branches spread throughout the Netherlands. Bouwmaat Amsterdam BV is one of a number of franchisees and operates 5 branches close to Amsterdam. www.bouwmaat.nl
About AFAS Software
The software supplied by AFAS optimises information flows and communication in organisations, and increases the efficiency, effectiveness, flexibility and customer focus of your business. You maintain close control of your processes and always have access to accurate information about your business operations. www.afas.nl/hrm
About Manus HR Services Europe
MANUS+ TOTAL HR offers you a single portal for all your administrative processes. MANUS+ TOTAL HR brings together workforce management, Payroll and HRM in a fully integrated environment in the cloud. www.manusplus.com.