e-HR allied to ERP systems – A Case Study
Founded in 1915, Lundbeck is Denmark’s second largest pharmaceutical company, specialising in the research, development, production, marketing and sale of pharmaceuticals for the treatment of psychiatric and neurological diseases.
The Lundbeck Group has a turnover approaching £800m and Lundbeck UK is the largest subsidiary in the group with staff of over 260.
Lundbeck UK uses SAP for Finance, Supply Chain and Human Resources/Payroll, and views the software as a strategic component of its business, playing a key role in enabling the company to develop and compete successfully in its chosen markets.
The growth of the UK operation in recent years has placed increasing demands on Lundbeck’s HR department and the company was keen to find a solution within the SAP product range to ease the HR workload, with a view to retaining the lean HR management structure and automating/streamlining processes.
SAP’s Employee Self-Service (ESS) solution was identified as a potential response to Lundbeck’s needs and the company asked Absoft, as their SAP Partner, to advise on its suitability.
What is ESS?
ESS is a web-based SAP solution designed to remove many of the repetitive tasks from the HR function by allowing employees direct access to HR information and services. “Employees are empowered to be responsible for their own personal information, which is updated via a web-browser interface, directly in the SAP system,” explained Susie Davison, Consultancy Director, Absoft.
As well as presenting users with general HR information, ESS can also provide access to a wide range of HR-related facilities, for example: managing business travel, viewing/enrolling in benefit plans, maintaining skills profiles and requesting and booking training courses.
Absoft’s feasibility study confirmed that ESS would meet the vast majority of Lundbeck’s HR needs and the proposed project plan was approved for implementation.
The first stage of the ESS project required the upgrade of Lundbeck’s SAP system from release 4.6B to 4.6C, together with the installation of Workplace. A small Absoft team of technical and functional consultants was assembled to undertake this work, paving the way for ESS to be installed and configured.
Lundbeck then assigned a project manager from its HR department to work with Absoft on ESS, primarily to clarify requirements and undertake testing.
This person’s role was key to the orientation of the ‘out of the box’ ESS. “The standard ESS uses IT and SAP specific jargon. It was not user friendly and needed modification. We worked with Absoft to give it a Lundbeck look, essential if we were to encourage staff to use it,” said the Lundbeck HR officer.
Absoft’s ESS project team included HR, Internet and ABAP consultants – who worked closely together and with Lundbeck to produce the look and feel of the system in line with Lundbeck’s needs.
Lundbeck’s ESS system – accessible via the company’s intranet – was set up to include personal information, holiday requests and approvals, payslips, a company directory, a ‘My First Days’ section for new employees and a skills profile.
“We personalised ESS,” said the HR officer. “When people put in their passwords, ESS welcomes them as individuals and it stores information specifically relevant to the user such as bank details, healthcare and dental cover, and payslips.”
Another task for Absoft was to build in a workflow feature to ESS. “Requests requiring authorisation, such as holidays, need to go direct to line managers and so we had to add the means for that to happen,” said Davison.
The system was piloted with a small group of employees and the feedback gained was used to fine-tune the system prior to roll out to all personnel. “Lundbeck developed and undertook their own comprehensive education programme to ensure users quickly became familiar with the system and its benefits,” said Davison.
The majority of Lundbeck staff in the UK are involved in marketing and sales, and are located throughout the country. “We held 16 meetings to introduce ESS and the emphasis was then on discouraging contact with head office every time there was a change in their details or they had a request,” said the HR officer. “This has been hugely successful and all staff now use ESS routinely.”
ESS went live at Lundbeck in September 2002 and in the time since then there have been many improvements.
“It is a feature of the introduction of ESS that we are always seeing ways in which it can improve HR management,” said the HR officer. “It has meant continuous involvement for Absoft, which has implemented the improvements.”
A managers’ menu has been introduced to give mangers a collective view of their teams, which typically consist of 10 employees. “This was not in the original ESS package, but Absoft created the function so that managers’ can see things like holiday allocations, days of sick, etc for all their team,” said the HR officer.
“When annual leave is requested, it automatically generates an e-mail for managers whereas in the original ESS package it would simply sit in an inbox.”
The implementation of ESS has resulted in significant benefits for Lundbeck, for example:
- HR staff are freed from time-consuming manual tasks and can spend more time on other, more value added activities
- The accuracy of employee information has improved
- A comprehensive weekly report ensures that the HR team remains abreast of and can monitor changes made by employees
- The amount of HR-related paperwork generated by Lundbeck has been significantly reduced (for example: changes to personal details are made online; holidays are requested and approved online; employees’ payslips are published online)
- The ‘My First Days’ section of ESS has been well received by new employees as an effective component of Lundbeck’s induction process.
“ESS provides Lundbeck with a highly efficient and effective approach to recording and managing HR information,” concludes the HR officer. “Benefits are visible at all levels of the company. The online and self-service aspects of the system allow the HR team to achieve greater levels of productivity, focusing less on administrative tasks and more on specialist HR and strategic development issues.
“Similarly managers are able to minimise the time they spend on administration. Employees across the board benefit from more efficient processes and control over their personal information.”
Ends Company Backgrounds Absoft is a specialist SAP consultancy, dedicated to the provision of implementation, development and support services to users of SAP solutions.
Absoft supplies complete SAP solutions
, including infrastructure and implementation services. For over a decade, it has provided a full range of SAP services
to both existing users of SAP and organisations new to the software, spanning pre-sales consultancy, technical and functional implementation and development services, training and support.
Its client base spans sectors such as Construction, Pharmaceuticals, Consumer Products, Defence, High Technology, Oil and Gas, and Higher Education.
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Founded in Denmark in 1915 by Hans Lundbeck, today’s Lundbeck is uniquely dedicated to the discovery and development of new and innovative treatments for disorders of the central nervous system.
The company’s current activities include research into treatments for depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. Lundbeck’s mission is to improve the quality of life of those who suffer from psychiatric and neurological illness and believes this is best achieved through investment in knowledge, research, education and holistic attitudes to patient care.
Website: Welcome to Lundbeck's global site