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Case Study


Summary - Relocating to a new site provided leading kitchen manufacturer Magnet with the ideal opportunity to reassess the way it managed its workforce and investigate new ways of monitoring time and attendance, Jane Williams reports.



As part of Magnet’s plan to focus on its core business of manufacture the Swedish-owned kitchen giant has transferred its headquarters from Keighley to Darlington in the North East. A move that has enabled Magnet’s HR services to reassess the way it managed time and attendance, recorded information, used data and understood cost control in relation to working time.

The company, which is part of the Nobia group that also owns Poggenpohl, employs 2,419 people in total with 550 based at the newly refurbished headquarters. Nik Browne, Magnet’s HR Services Manager, said they realised that their DOS-based system from BLICK, which was installed was not flexible enough to handle continental shifts or flexitime that were now operational at Darlington.

And he said they needed an Access control system that was linked to Time and Attendance to further improve management at the site for the manufacturing plant and all support functions.

He said: “We began to look around at new systems and it was a decision-making process that involved managers from IT, payroll and the shop floor to ensure a complete buy-in.” Magnet struck a deal with Crown Workforce Management because it was able to provide an effective solution to a seven-point requirement brief as well as provide shop floor data capture in the future.

“Of the seven companies considered, four were short-listed and Crown came out on top. Crown Manager was the clear leader due to ease of use coupled with the payroll interface to Midland Software and the fact that in the future product could cope with access control, shop floor data capture and web interfaces,” said Nik Browne. An essential element of the seven-point brief was Magnet’s need to improve the speed and accuracy of absenteeism information and to reduce the cost of days lost.

High Impact

Nik Browne said: “The new system is already having an impact and delivering benefits and it has only been running since January. We have not only saved money but have also saved a great deal of time on administration. “For example the Crown Manager system reduced the time-consuming payment process caused by the manual input of data in to PS2000.

“The full time administrator now only spends half their time on administering Time and Attendance and Payroll. This will reduce even further once the team leaders use Crown Manager to manage working time.” And as it has replaced the obsolete and difficult-to-maintain clocking points resulting standardising T&A across the sites thus providing cross-site operational cover for those plants.

Flexible Rules Capability

Because of Crown Managers’ flexibility it has been able to cope with Magnet’s flexible working patterns. Nik Browne said that Crown Manager was also improving the speed and accuracy of payable hours information that has helped to reduce the costs of overpayments.

He said: “Crown Manager is enabling Magnet to manage overtime payments more effectively. No longer does the system automatically pay overtime when employees clock on early without authorisation — a costly anomaly.”

Crown Manager reliability is also proving beneficial to the kitchen manufacturer. Nik Browne added: “Absence reporting has provided additional data to help manage costs”

Finally the system is enabling the company to monitor its position with regard to Working Time Regulations. Mike Hawkesford, Crown Workforce Management Managing Director, added: “Our skilled trainers ensured all users were fully conversant with the system and could apply Magnet’s work rules easily and quickly. Crown also provided additional help to Nik and his team when under pressure a week before the go-live day.”

Access control has also proved beneficial and the firm now wants to add an additional facility to control access to its staff car park where security is an issue and a number of vehicles have been stolen in the past.

Roll Out Programme

Magnet hopes to rollout Crown Manager to its other sites shortly having seen the immediate benefits it has provided.

Mr Browne added: “We would also like to see Crown Manager deployed within the stores using the web interface, which will allow greater cost control and management of resources.”

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