Essentra moulds its global workforce with technology
The global manufacturer and distributor partners with Ceridian to manage its complex, widespread workforce.
Although Essentra might not be a household name, chances are you have something in your home that is – in part – made by them. The company manufactures and distributes plastic and metal components and packaging for a broad range of industries, from healthcare to cosmetics to transportation and industrial equipment. The tape that goes inside your washing machine, the packaging on your beauty products, and the parts inside your car – Essentra has a hand in creating them.
Essentra operates on a global scale, with 7500 employees in 48 manufacturing facilities across 33 countries. Headquartered in Milton Keynes in the UK, Essentra employs full-time and part-time workers, contractors, consultants, and agency workers.
“Essentra is a really people-focused organisation. Our products are the thing that sell us to our customers, but in delivering that, the people are key,” says Rachel Mandley, Essentra’s Head of HR Systems and Shared Services.
The complexities of business at scale
Essentra’s growth through acquisition over the years had left the company with many disparate systems and no single source of data when it came to managing its continually expanding workforce.
“We had no harmonisation, we were a really complex environment. We had multiple HR and payroll solutions across the business, all of which were managed locally,” says Mandley.
As an example, the UK operations alone had five different payroll providers and three time and attendance systems in place. There were also five locations that were tracking time and attendance manually on spreadsheets. “We had hugely inefficient manual processes. The risk that was involved in operating in the way we were operating previously was incredibly high. The human and system costs were incredibly high. We were paying licensing costs for multiple different systems and platforms. We were employing people to manually collate spreadsheets, which comes with high potential for error,” says Mandley.
These manual processes and disparate systems created a lack of control over Essentra’s largest asset and expense – its employees. “We had an infrastructure that wasn't built to support our growth. As a company that has grown through acquisition, we want to continue to do that. In order to do that, we need to have a system that will work with us to deliver that objective,” says Mandley.
Global HCM solution implementation
Essentra began its partnership with Ceridian in 2015, rolling the platform out across its global locations. The company implemented HR, payroll, workforce management, and benefits in the U.S. in 2017 as the pilot location for the project. Following a successful launch in the U.S., Essentra moved on to Hungary as its European pilot location, and implemented HR and workforce management in the latter half of 2017.
The company then turned its attention to the UK. “We decided to be an early adopter for the UK native payroll product because we had a successful relationship with Ceridian in our first two implementations. We knew that they were developing the UK native product and we felt comfortable enough that we were happy to be one of their pioneer customers,” says Mandley. “We had a challenging implementation as we were coming from multiple vendors and platforms. It wasn’t without its pain points, but we had a really successful go-live in October 2018.”
And while the UK implementation was happening, Essentra was also launching Dayforce in Ireland and France for HR, payroll, and workforce management.
Just as this phased regional approach seemed to be gaining momentum, Essentra had a change in leadership and strategy which accelerated the need for complete, global visibility of employee data. “In June 2019, we decided that instead of going country by country, we were going to implement 28 countries in a big-bang approach for global HR, and we were going to set ourselves the ambitious target of doing this by November 2019,” says Mandley.
This was a huge ask of Mandley and her team. She leveraged her growing partnership with the Ceridian team to complete it successfully, and in fact, launched a few days ahead of schedule.
Measurable results driven by deep industry expertise
Over the past five years that Essentra has partnered with Ceridian, the companies have worked together to understand what will help to drive the business forward. “Ceridian has definitely worked with us to understand our business. They know what we do, they know what we make, they know the environments we're operating in. They understand how the manufacturing industry works and they've really worked with us to understand the particular challenges that we have as an organisation,” says Mandley.
From a workforce management perspective, managers and employees have also seen significant improvements. “Prior to Dayforce, our managers were working on paper or spreadsheets. Having a tool that gives them immediate visibility into their shifts, the ability to auto-generate schedules for weeks in advance, and see how much overtime they have in certain areas helps them to plan better,” says Mandley. “We have a lot of variable shift rotations, so we push our schedules out for 26 weeks into the future. This helps our employees see when they're due to be working, to help them with their lifestyle planning.”
Dayforce has also created efficiencies for Essentra’s HR team. “Every month in the UK alone, we'd have to input eight different sources of time and attendance data into five different payroll providers. Now, with Dayforce, we have one source for time and attendance that flows directly into one payroll engine.”
Another notable transformation is that Essentra went from an external managed payroll service to an internal SaaS solution with Dayforce, and were able to do it all without increasing headcount. “Going from a managed service to bringing it into an internal SaaS solution with the same number of full-time payroll employees is quite a significant improvement in my mind,” says Mandley. “Dayforce has really given us everything that we need to manage our workforce effectively.”
The value of partnership
As Essentra has continued to expand its use of Dayforce across its global locations, its partnership with Ceridian has been invaluable.
“We have really strong relationships across the team. There are about 50 different people at Ceridian that I can pick up the phone and speak to straight away if I've got a problem or if I just need to talk something through,” says Mandley.
An important value-add of Ceridian’s partnership with Essentra is in the team’s ability to work with Mandley to pivot when things change, and be flexible about solutions. “The key thing for me is the adaptability and flexibility that Ceridian has demonstrated,” says Mandley. “No one batted an eyelid when we came forward with the idea to do a big-bang launch in 28 countries. The resilience was there within the Ceridian team in order to work with us on that. They were immediately flexible to what we were looking to achieve.”
Mandley and her team have also engaged with other Ceridian customers, and collaborated on best practices and new ways of getting things done. “We have a great relationship with Ceridian, but we also have a great relationship with Ceridian's network of customers, which is a massively important thing for me personally,” says Mandley. “The partnership that we've had with them has been invaluable. I think Dayforce itself is fantastic, but the people you work with add the extra layer to that – it really is the icing on the cake.”