One of the UK’s leading Independent Healthcare Solutions and Manufacturing business is reporting an increase in productivity equivalent to one extra day a week after implementing the Equator HR solution throughout the entire business.

Millbrook Industries Limited is a rapidly growing company, which via its 2 subsidiary companies operates a number of healthcare contracts across multiple sites in the UK as well as a high quality bed manufacturing business and Mobile military contracts.

Today, the company operates from its head office in Southampton, and employs almost 700 people across 23 sites. Over the last 2 years the company has increased the headcount by almost 50%. highlighting the need to have a robust system in place to manage its resources.
Accessing one version of the truth

Previously the company operated three disparate systems that were struggling to sustain the growth of the business. In order to avoid multiple duplication of effort  and benefit from a more scalable solution, the company replaced the legacy systems with Equator HR, developed and implemented from K3 Syspro. The purchase came at the same time as an investment in an advanced SYSPRO Enterprise Resource Planning solution, with the two systems fully integrated.

Millbrook Industries is reporting significant time savings after being able to automate a series of manual tasks. Previously, staff records were recorded on a single spreadsheet and managed by a small designated team within the company’s HR department. Such a reliance on human intervention meant that data was often out-of-date, incorrect, or contained duplicate entries. Instead, Equator HR perfectly complements the company’s existing business processes and allows managers across the company’s 23 locations to access, and manage, accurate employee data remotely.

Today,  Equator HR is available to over 40 managers across the business who are all able to access and manage employee records remotely, and in real-time, meaning the number of HR enquiries dealt with at the company’s central HR department has also significantly reduced.

Neil Mecklenburgh, HR Director at Millbrook Industries explains how implementing Equator HR has reduced the number of HR queries his department deals with.

“Since implementing Equator HR across the business, our management team has been able to access individual staff records, retrieve next of kin information and access annual leave allowances for staff quickly and easily. This has led to a significant reduction in the number of HR requests we receive from our team, saving us tens of hours each month. This time saving has seen our productivity increase, enabling us to dedicate more time to other areas of HR.”

Self-serving employee records to save time and administration

To further strengthen the solution, Millbrook Industries has also added the Equator HR Employee Portal module, which places employees themselves in charge of updating their own records. The module allows the business to set its own access permissions, so staff can only access certain areas of the solution. For Millbrook, new members of staff are able to upload their personal information to Equator HR, which is then updated by them as and when there is a change of circumstances, ensuring records are current and correct. This ensures management reports are accurate, which is of great benefit to business operations. It also allows employees to book their own holidays on the portal, so all management have to do is approve or decline the request. By making employees more responsible for updating their personal records and information, Millbrook Industries has saved considerable time and reduced the amount of administration work that its HR team has to carry out, freeing up key personnel to focus on other areas of the business.

“Our previous process of employees sending over personal records for them to be manually inputted was a laborious task. Using Equator HR we have been able to cut out the middle man, with employees now able to upload their information directly to Equator HR. This has streamlined our business processes and resulted in an increase in productivity amongst HR staff who are no longer manually inputting records. Furthermore, by placing employees in charge of their own records we have also increased data integrity. Previously, data was only ever as good as the person inputting it, which could result in data becoming out of date; but by placing employees in charge of their own records they are able to update their information at any time, as and when necessary,” Neil explains.

The company has also integrated its payroll system into Equator HR, after a number of failed attempts to outsource its payroll management functions. Millbrook Industries employs almost 700 staff, on a variety of different work patterns. Its existing payroll software was very labour-intensive and paper driven, especially as the company paid its employees on a weekly basis.
This meant that the business had to print out physical timesheets sheets for managers to complete on a weekly basis. Managers then completed paid hours for each of their team members, before sending the documents to the payroll department. Once received by payroll, the timesheets were manually inputted onto the system. The total wages to be paid were then calculated before the forms were printed off again to retain for company records.

Neil Mecklenburgh explains the challenges the company faced as a result of their previous payroll software and processes: “Our previous payroll system was incredibly labour intensive and paper heavy. Data was inputted manually by managers and then by the payroll team, which meant increased administration times for both parties involved, and a high risk of duplication. Our system was not integrated with other business applications, and as a result reporting was also difficult. Since implementing Equator HR we have been able to automate a large proportion of this process, significantly reducing our administration times and improving productivity.”

Millbrook Industries switched to monthly staff payments when it implemented Equator HR. Since automating its payroll processes, the company has been able to reassign its payroll team to other areas of work within the HR department, thus improving productivity.

Analysing productivity to boost bottom line

Ensuring greater data accuracy for employees is just one benefit Millbrook Industries is reporting as a result of implementing Equator HR. The company also utilises the Time and Attendance (T&A) module. T&A functionality integrates time and attendance information against each employee’s individual record giving senior management greater visibility of business operations, and enabling managers to calculate detailed productivity reports.

Equator HR’s seamless integration with SYSPRO has led to Millbrook Industries reporting a number of productivity benefits across the shop floor. Utilising a number of formulas, managers are able to monitor and accurately calculate the cost of raw materials which can be tracked against the cost of labour and turnaround time of floor products. This gives senior management greater visibility over its shop floor data and ensures that shift patterns are more effective, and productivity increased.

Neil comments on the wider benefits the company has enjoyed as a result of implementing Equator HR. He says: “Equator HR offers great HR functionality that really complements the way we operate as a business, however more than this is the wider benefits we have realised across the business. Equator HR has provided senior managers with an integral business tool which allows us to track and monitor operations throughout the entire business. Using data recorded in the system, we are able to create a number of detailed reports which are integral to the everyday running of the business, also ensuring our extended period of growth continues.”

Ongoing support from Equator HR

Throughout implementation K3 Syspro worked with key users at Millbrook Industries to adapt Equator HR to complement the business’ existing processes. The company has also benefitted from attending a variety of tailored training days, to ensure Millbrook Industries, among other users of the solution, continues to gain the greatest return on investment from Equator HR.
This ongoing, tailored support, has also enabled the company to accommodate a number of changes to HR legislation, most notably the recent changes to holiday pay and commission. Millbrook Industries has been able to accommodate such legislative changes with minimal disruption, thanks to a number of workflows that have been set up within Equator HR.

HR legislation is updated and amended frequently, which can cause some unexpected disruption to some HR functions. However, Equator HR is able to deal with the complexity of HR legislation with ease, affording us peace of mind as a business that we are first and foremost operating legally, but also efficiently,”  Neil comments.

Millbrook Industries continues to benefit from ongoing support today, ensuring the company continues to gain increased functionality and maximum benefits from its overall investment.