About Coolrain Sawmills
Coolrain Sawmills Ltd. is a producer and supplier of commercial timbers, fencing, gates, timber panels, and decking as well as a range of children’s outdoor play equipment and playground accessories.
Coolrain Sawmills employs over 100 people and operates 22 out of 24 hours. In 2020 the company was acquired by CJ Sheeran who themselves had implemented Softworks Workforce Management in their organisation.
Coolrain Sawmills had been considering digitalisation of their employee Time and Attendance management to enable them to eliminate their paper-based processes and after reviewing how Softworks was working for their parent company, decided to implement it within their organisation.
The company selected a cloud-based version of Softworks Workforce Management Solution with the following modules:
• Time and Attendance
• HR Management
• Payroll Integration
• Employee Self-Service
A team consisting of Coolrain’s Operations Manager, Payroll Administrator, and a HR Officer from their parent company worked together with a Softworks Project Manager on the system rollout. While the system’s functionality was based on the core system already in place at their parent company, it was adapted and configured to meet the Coolrain site’s unique requirements.
Commenting on the project Marie Buckley, Operations Manager, Coolrain Sawmills said:
“The Softworks Project Manager’s knowledge of the system was fantastic. What I liked most was that no matter what I wanted to do, he was open to looking into whether it was possible and sometimes within a matter of hours, it was tested and in place. That’s really important to us as we do weekly payroll here.”
“The Project Manager’s responsiveness made it so much easier for us to get the team to buy into it because they could see that the system was helping with their time.”
As part of the project rollout, the project team ensured there was open and clear communication with supervisors and managers on how the system would work and how they’d be involved in the approval process for employees’ time and attendance going forward.
“We worked with managers from the start to let them know that Softworks was empowering them with the information they need to manage their teams.”
Elimination of paper-based processes
Since introducing Softworks, the company no longer spends time manually tracking employee Time and Attendance, freeing up time for other activities and ensuring greater accuracy in this process. Employees now record their working time by clocking on biometric terminals on site, replacing the paper timesheets previously used.
“Employees were using paper timesheets and manually signing in and out. We were tracking it all on spreadsheets. Now employees are clocking in and time and attendance is being recorded digitally.”
Quicker access to information
Both employees and managers now benefit from prompt access to the information they need with Softworks.
“Because everything is in one place it’s a lot more transparent, whereas before if someone wanted to check their holidays or time in lieu, they had to check that with the operations team. Now they can check that directly with their manager.”
“With a click of a button, our General Manager can see if there is sufficient cover instead of chasing for the information.”
Before implementing Softworks, the Operations or Payroll team had to chase employees or managers for information on missed clockings or absences to complete the weekly payroll. Now, Managers can proactively resolve these issues in advance of payroll being run.
“What’s been really helpful has been that items like missed clockings are being dealt with on the ground by the managers instead of us having to chase for that information.”
“Managers are now resolving any issues on a daily basis directly with their team instead of waiting for us to chase them each week. It’s great because they’re the ones with the direct relationship with their team so it’s more appropriate that they manage it. That’s all done by them prior to us running payroll.”
Time in lieu made easy
Coolrain Sawmill employees can earn time in lieu for additional hours worked. Previously this was recorded on spreadsheets meaning it wasn’t always possible for employees to get an immediate overview of how many hours they had banked. Now employees clock to record their working hours, Managers can easily allocate additional hours to time in lieu and the information is available in the Softworks system when it’s needed.
“The time in lieu element is really helpful for us. Softworks allows us to easily track that instead of needing to record that manually as we would have before. Managers are deciding how much goes to time in lieu earned and the operatives are happy they can see straight away how much time they have banked.”
The ability of supervisors and managers to resolve queries previously dealt with by the operations or payroll teams has resulted in clearer lines of responsibility and improved team relationships within the organisation.
“Previously employees had to go to operations or payroll to resolve queries on timesheets or leave. Now supervisors can help them directly, It’s been really good. There’s a clear structure in place and it’s been quite helpful in defining and strengthening that relationship.”
While the existing manual process for logging hours worked for payroll was working well, some manual payroll adjustments were still required. Since implementing Softworks these manual adjustments are no longer necessary.
“There were little things we couldn’t pull from our spreadsheets like night shifts which we’d later have to adjust at the point of payroll. Now nightshift clockings are automatically registered for payroll; it’s quicker and we don’t need to make that adjustment.”
In 2023 a new sick pay scheme comes into operation in Ireland and Coolrain Sawmills plan to use Softworks HR functionality in the management of employee sick certs for payroll purposes.
“It’s very helpful to have HR files stored centrally while being able to allow payroll to access the sick certs only so that they can administer the new sick pay scheme.”
Once supervisors and managers become more familiar with their new Workforce Management System, the company aims to introduce employee self-service which will allow employees to access information on annual leave and time in lieu via the Softworks Employee Self-service App on PC or Smartphone.
Time saved on payroll
Coolrain Sawmills is hoping to further benefit from the time saved by automating its Time and Attendance management, especially in the area of payroll.
“Between taking the timesheets and putting them up on the system, checking back, right through to making payments all added up to a full day’s work. Going forward we’re hoping to see that process and time reduced significantly.”