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Case Study: Manitou Group

Manitou Group harmonises its HR systems with SAP SF

Manitou Group, known for its access platforms and earthmoving equipment, reorganised its HR processes and administration following a period of accelerated growth.

The group, headquartered in France, implemented Employee Central, SAP SuccessFactors’ Core HR, talent management processes across all countries it operates in. Employee Central manages compensation data and interfaces with its existing financial tools.

To complete this project, the HR and HRIS teams worked together. They created a step-by-step plan for the HR organisation that dovetails with the company’s overall strategy.

  • About Manitou Group
  • Industry: Industrial equipment
  • Headquarters: Ancenis, France
  • Employees: 4,500

Manitou Group accelerates its digital HR transformation

Since the launch of its first forklift in 1958, Manitou group has continued to evolve over the years. Most notably going international in 1972 with the opening of its UK subsidiary. Today, the group has 30 subsidiaries in 24 countries and distributes its products in more than 140 countries.

Vincent Romain, HRIS Manager, notes, “It was with the takeover of Gehl in the United States in 2008 that we began to implement HR procedures at a group level. However, we did not yet have the appropriate solution to do this. It started with Excel”.

The first attempt at harmonization, quickly showed the limits of our approach. The need to digitize processes became obvious.

In 2013, Manitou Group selected SAP SuccessFactors as the solution to oversee and reorganise the management of its talent data. It was about getting a centralized and shared view on; recruitment, goal setting, annual reviews and organisational charts across all countries.

This first step made it possible to create a real internal HR network. It brought together the head office and subsidiaries with common practices and a shared vision.

Key objective: Data consistency with Core HR

Building on this initial success, the second stage of Manitou Group’s digital HR transformation took place in 2017.

In addition to aligning talent management practices, teams deployed several tools over the 4 years. These included setting up a Core HR system, a compensation and benefits management module as well as an internal social network (all on SAP SuccessFactors).

“What we finalised represented a major progression in our organisation, but we lacked a consistent employee database”, says Vincent Romain.

“Our procedures still took a lot of time to manage and administer. We noticed a delay and  inconsistencies in data updates as well as our data and financial tools being incompatible. In addition, we lacked information related to employees, namely operators at production sites, who did not have PCs”.

The decision to implement Employee Central, SAP SuccessFactors’ Core HR, was therefore taken. Following this was a call for tenders at the end of 2018.

Choosing the right partner: Functional response and international coverage

At the start of 2019, Manitou Group selected Alight as the provider to set up Employee Central.

On the reasons for the partnership, Vincent Romain says: “Alight’s competitive advantage is illustrated in the response provided as well as the ability to mobilise local resources in each country where we deployed Core HR”.

The implementation of Employee Central for all group entities took just a few weeks and on schedule. This in spite an unprecedented health crisis and the necessary adjustments needed to be made in the start-up phase.

Deployment of Employee Central on time…despite some fine-tuning

At the start of the project, Manitou teams faced three challenges:

  • Determine the best way to define the global template. They discussed whether headquarters collaborating with countries should define the template or whether they should fully involve local country managers. The latter option required concerned persons having to travel to France and arrange meetings. This when people already have busy schedules. Ultimately, they chose the headquarters/subsidiaries collaboration route.
  • Aligning business and HR processes with SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central standards, which involved finding compromises.
  • Another crucial point was to choose the appropriate architecture i.e. was the Core HR the master or slave. Manitou Group opted for a “slave” architecture. It was feasible with Employee Central and better suited to the organization.

However, these adjustments at the start of the project did not affect the progress of implementing Employee Central. Not even the COVID-19 pandemic that occurred in the middle of the hindered finalisation of phase 3.

  • Phase 1 (Asia, MEA): Finalised in December 2019 (delivered on time) ;
  • Phase 2 (Europe, excl. France): Finalised in April 2020 (delivered on time) ;
  • Phase 3 (France and United-States): Planned for June 2020. Delivered in July 2020.

Data under control: On the way to HR analytics!

Manitou Group is now able to measure the benefits brought by its Core HR:

  • Compensation data is immediately accessible.
  • All employees (even those without access to a PC) are included in the HR system. Therefore eliminating errors in workforce updates.
  • Core HR interfaces with the group’s financial tools, saving time and extremely reliable.
  • The integration of various SAP SuccessFactors modules is on track. Therefore facilitating the management of company-wide compensation campaigns (France and internationally).

The implementation of “People Analytics”, allowing dynamic formatting of information held in the Core HR, is the final step in the implementation.

Finally, the collaboration with Alight did not end with the finalisation of the Employee Central project. Manitou Group’s HRIS maintenance is now outsourced to Alight.

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