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Heineken brews up a case for installing Softworks’ Time and Attendance System.

Heineken Case Study image


Promoting well-known brand names such as Heineken, Murphy’s Irish Stout, Amstel and Coors Light, Heineken Ireland is a dynamic and progressive company committed to customer service excellence.

The Challenge

Constantly reviewing all in-house systems in order to ensure the highest quality of service to their customers, it became evident that changes would have to be made to internal processes if Heineken was to comply with legislation such as the Working Time Directive (WTD). So, with the WTD as the single primary motivator, the HR team approached the IT department with a proposal to introduce an automated Time & Attendance / Flexitime system to the organisation.

At Heineken, the IT department is integral to the success of the company as a whole and, as an internal strategic business partner, its main objective is to add value to every aspect of the business. If the HR team felt that installing an automatic T&A system was the only way they could manage employee records and working hours in accordance with the provisions of the WTD then, with IT Account Manager Declan Duggan co-ordinating the activities, the IT team would do their best to offer as much advice and assistance as possible.

A cross-functional team consisting of line managers, hr, payroll, distribution, brewing, commercial, finance and engineering staff was pulled together. An RFP was then drawn up and issued to a number of vendors. Next, a Business Process Owner (BPO) was appointed. The BPO acts as the primary contact for IT and ensures the business has ownership of the system. Responsibility shifts from the IT department to the BPO who, then owns the process and system and, is responsible for getting things done. This is a procedure used for all projects and works very well for Heineken.

The Tender Process

That said, the Heineken IT team still had work to do. Once tenders had been received, it was necessary to weigh up the pros and cons of each application. When looking at new vendors, Heineken uses a reasonably scientific score system to rate applications. Each discreet functional piece was weighted and T&A vendors were evaluated on each. Scores were given and vendors rated on strength of response, position in the marketplace, feature / functionality fit, references etc. Existing customers were visited and finally, Softworks Workforce Solutions was selected as the system of choice for Heineken’s Time & Attendance requirements.Time Saved According to Duggan, from an IT stance, it was important that general users had a “zero client footprint” and on this point, Softworks scored highly.

With 120 laptops, 200+ desktops and 14 sites, installation of new software onto all the PCs would have been a hefty task for the IT department. Softworks for the web, from Softworks, meant no software had to be installed as it allows employees to access their clock cards, holiday balances etc. by typing in a URL or by simply clicking an icon on the company intranet. Duggan estimates that opting for the web version of Softworks Solutions saved the IT department at least a week and half’s work. Upgrades to the system also happen seamlessly and without much input from internal IT staff.

As far as time-saving is concerned, the HR department also benefited. Obliged to print outmanning reports for internal and fiscal purposes, it is estimated that because Softworks can automatically generate reports on a real-time basis, HR administration has been reduced by 2 days per month. HR now also has the option to create real-time reports on absenteeism, overtime, etc., which would not have been possible when the old paper-based system was in use. “Installing Softworks has been a move out of the dark ages and into the 21st Century,” says Duggan.


The project raised a security concern for the IT department. It was important that the new T&A system could map the existing organisational structure of Heineken Ireland. Softworks solution won hands down on this issue as the Softworks hierarchy screen enables users to easily filter and select departments or individuals for reporting purposes and eliminated any concerns the team had in this area. With authorisation clearly mapped out, employees and managers now only have access to, and visibility of, specified records.

Softworks seamlessly integrates with all industry-standard back-ends including Oracle and MS SQL. For Heineken, the SQL server platform fitted perfectly with their existing infrastructure and so, there were no issues there. Currently, Heineken’s strategy is to move towards the area of integrated log-in. “Softworks will fit nicely into this plan,” says Duggan “as the system can use the same NT usernames and passwords by utilizing NTLM Authentication.”


All 450 employees at Heineken Ireland are using Softworks in some shape or form. More than half are based away from the main Cork site and so use the honor-based “Computerised Timesheet” module to record their working hours. This is a very effective way of managing employee working hours, says Duggan. The system proposes a normal week for staff and changes only have to be made by employees when an exception such as annual leave, sickness absence or overtime occurs.

“There have been no cultural changes to Heineken Ireland as a result of implementing Softworks,” assures Duggan. “Initially, some employees may have feared the HR department was becoming a bit Big Brotherish but once they realized that Softworks meant flexitime and visibility of their own records, staff were quick to buy into the system”.

Employee Self Service

Via the web version of Softworks, every staff member can access their own working hours, holiday balances, overtime, etc. considerably reducing the number of queries to admin. Management felt that Employee Self Service like this was an added bonus and a very positive move for the company. Henry Pierre Heineken – nicknamed the “red brewer” because of the concern he showed for the personal well being and working conditions of his employees in the early 20th century, would be proud to see his philosophy lives on at Heineken Ireland. Staff is expected to work between the core hours of 10am – 3pm but hours can be accumulated anytime between 8am and 7pm within a four-week cycle – which means it’s home early on a Friday for many employees! “Without Softworks, there would be no flexitime at Heineken Ireland,” added Duggan, “and it is brilliant for those employees who can avail of it”.

Softworks has been in use for almost one year now at Heineken Ireland. Employees benefit from the flexible working arrangements and the self-service facilities. Managers have real-time access to absence trends, holiday balances and shift planning. From his own point of view, Duggan would miss the visibility Softworks offers him. Management information is now available where there was nothing before. “Softworks gave us exactly what we asked for, within the expected timeframe and for the price we wanted to pay. As a relatively new application here, Softworks is an unsung hero. It is a system that ticks along nicely but I expect it would be missed if it wasn’t there,” added Duggan.

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