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First Digital helps energy and chemical business enhance resource movement and separation processes

The payroll and benefits centre of a local integrated energy and chemical company has seen an improvement in cost efficiencies and time savings within the team, following the rollout of an application by First Technology Digital that automates processes within both the ‘movement’ and ‘separation’ areas of the organisation.

First Technology Digital is South Africa’s preferred partner for digital transformation, digital workplaces and Artificial Intelligence.

A workplace in constant flux

“Within our client organisation, ‘movement’ refers to resource changes in the business, due to promotions, redeployment, transfers or relocation for instance, while ‘separation’ denotes an employee’s resignation,” says Daren Moodley, national business development manager at First Technology Digital. “And for a dynamic, fast-paced organisation like this, where business models are consistently being changed and updated, the workforce is constantly in flux.”

Moodley explains that, previously, both areas of the human resources process had to be completed manually by the payroll and benefits centre. “In the past, this was a cumbersome task to complete within the company’s enterprise resource planning environment (ERP), as both sides needed to be handled manually.

“For ‘movement’, the workflow process involved physical documentation that had to be signed by the requisite people, for instance, which could quite easily lead to human error. When it comes to dealing with employees’ packages, salaries, pensions and so on, any level of error is to be avoided at all costs. It also equated to a fair amount of manual work, as the organisation sees between 200 and 300 staff movements per month nationwide. Further, the business was left with no audit trail in this area.”

From manual to automated

The company identified the K2 intelligent process automation platform as the application of choice to help make the process more efficient, and enlisted First Digital to assist with its implementation.

“K2, in conjunction with the Mulesoft integration platform, was used to automate this entire process, using simplified online forms and a centralised database, and allowing for both quick, easy reporting and an auditable footprint. A fairly complex implementation, this marked the first time that this process had been integrated into our client’s existing SAP infrastructure, which is frequently used by the payroll and benefits centre,” Moodley adds.

On the organisation’s ‘separation’ side, this process had also been largely manual in the past, he states. “Historically, the removal of an employee who had resigned from the system was a tedious task for the centre’s team. Consider the many lines of information included in a payslip; each and every line would need to be removed by hand, which was a lengthy procedure.”

Using K2 and Mulesoft, the entire resignation process has been automated. “Now, should an employee wish to give notice, they don’t need to write a letter of resignation.

Instead they effectively ‘terminate’ themselves within the K2 separation system, which then automatically informs their manager who is resigning, why, and when. In addition, the workflow has been built in such a way that any back-and-forth negotiations between employee and manager are handled by the system until the resignation is accepted or a new agreement reached.

“Once this point is reached, the case is then automatically passed on to the centre. The K2 system now decommissions all benefits automatically, removes the terminated staff members from the salaried employee group, and also keeps the many third parties linked to our client’s payroll, such as medical aids, updated.”

As is the case with the ‘movement’ system, the central K2 database allows for faster, simpler reporting services.

Says Moodley: “With around 11,000 of the company’s South African employees currently utilising the K2 movement and separation tool, it is easily one of the most used apps within the company. Its payroll and benefits side has certainly experienced the powerful impact and benefits of K2 since the rollout kicked off.

In fact, the scope of the project grew and developed, once the build was in progress using Agile methodology, to encompass both human resource areas once the potential benefits were realised.”

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