Total is one of the world's largest international oil and gas companies, with operations covering the entire energy chain from oil exploration and production to trading, shipping and refining. Total UK is the fourth largest oil company in the UK with a turnover of over £5billion.
In October 2010 Total made the decision to introduce the SAP talent management system for HR administration across its international operations. The overall aim was to replace various systems in different countries with a consistent approach globally. Total UK took the opportunity to replace its legacy payroll with an integrated SAP solution.
NorthgateArinso configured and implemented the SAP payroll solution to cover Total’s two main UK areas of operation: its head office and distribution centres with 900 staff, and its convenience stores and petrol stations with 2,800 staff. Accompanying the SAP solution was the continuing provision of a fully managed payroll service by NGA’s outsourcing team.
• Best practice standards, with payroll accuracy levels in line with agreed standards.
• Financial savings due to a more efficient system and processes.
• New self-service functionality.
• New facilities for time and attendance, and for scheduling work rotas in a shift-based retail environment.
• A complex implementation that met a tight deadline.
One of the big challenges was that although the same solution would be used for both employee groups, there were two very different sets of circumstances involved. In particular, there were a number of different pay frequencies for convenience store and petrol station staff, with a mix of shift patterns.
“We had a significant list of what we required from the SAP solution,” says Giles Smith, Remuneration and Benefits Manager at Total UK. “But we needed to go into more detail to truly translate that into precise specifications. This is why we held workshops to document the required level of detail from the perspective of each user group.
“NGA’s consultants played a valuable role in this process, making sure that the right questions were asked so that relevant information in the right level of detail was gathered. This enabled them to give us all the options for meeting the identified requirements, as well as recommending the right solutions.”
After the workshops, blueprint documents were issued and commented on by key stakeholders to confirm the precise system configuration. The blueprints covered all of the payroll variables such as pay run frequencies, pay elements, wage types, allowances, deductions, pay rates and overtime rates.
With the specifications written, NGA had to build a complex solution in a relatively short space of time. Giles Smith says: “I was impressed by NGA’s ability to meet the deadline, and in particular by the way they took a very pragmatic approach to solving issues. For example, when during the testing stage it became clear that changes were needed, the
NGA team did an excellent job of making the necessary modifications within the time limits.
“Obviously with a project as complex as this it was essential that we all worked as a team. NGA certainly played their part in this, encouraging us to have some of our people in their offices for much of the project. This had very practical benefits and ensured a truly collaborative approach.
“All of the attention to detail that the whole team exhibited paid off because we had a very smooth parallel run, testing and implementation - all of which was within budget. We have since met the savings that we set as a target from the efficiency of the new solution.”
As well as the core payroll functionality, the project also included the development of a new time and attendance system for Total’s petrol stations and convenience stores. This features a facility through which local managers can set up shift schedules and key in actual attendance compared to the schedule.
“This is proving to be a valuable tool,” says Giles Smith. “It gives our managers much greater capability for managing the flexibility and complexity of a shift working environment. The scheduling facility also lets us monitor things centrally, which in turn is helping us to make sure staffing across the country is being planned in an efficient way.”
After a period of data verification, there were two parallel runs of thepayroll. These identified a few data issues, which were easily resolved prior to the full implementation. To complete the implementation, NGA delivered some training to key users, who then in turn trained colleagues.
Giles Smith is delighted with how the implementation went: “We embraced the need for a new solution as a very positive opportunity. Not only have we achieved the consistency we wanted, but we have also replaced a legacy system that had become problematic in terms of maintenance.
“I have received many positive comments about the self-service functionality too. Our retail managers in particular like the fact that they can now do things quickly online that used to take up more of their time. “By helping us to get the most from the SAP solution, NGA have made a significant contribution to our overall objectives of efficiency across the business.”