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Suttons Tankers - Case Study

Suttons Tankers eliminates manual processes and makes complex work rules easy with Softworks.

Cover image for Suttons Tankers

The Requirement – to eliminate paper-based timesheets and improve access to Time and Attendance information


Suttons Tankers has over 700 drivers based across 30 locations in the United Kingdom. By law, drivers are obliged to record working hours via a digital tachograph situated in their vehicle. However, while this provided a digital record of the hours their drivers worked, there was no system in place to allow this data to be used for payroll purposes.

Instead, drivers had to complete a paper timesheet each day to record their working hours. Every week a payroll administrator entered this timesheet information into spreadsheets to calculate each driver’s pay. Finally, the weekly payroll spreadsheets were sent to central payroll where they were entered into the payroll system.

Suttons were keen to eliminate this paper and spreadsheet process as it was labour-intensive, time-consuming and had the potential for errors. They also wanted to improve oversight and reporting around Time and Attendance for the business.


Fran Reed, Head of Financial Planning & Analysis explained:

“There was a lot of paper involved in the previous payroll process which was inefficient and wasn’t scalable and it had the potential to be prone to error. We wanted to move to a digital system. We also wanted to improve business oversight and be able to easily look back over past history instead of going through stacks of paper.“


The company decided to go to market for a solution that could utilise driver Time and Attendance data from the tachograph system, automatically assign the correct pay rates based on specific work rules and have this information fed into their payroll system to ensure drivers were being paid correctly.


The Challenge – complex working rules


While Suttons knew what they needed, they were unsure if there was a system in the marketplace that could handle their unique work and pay rules. Within the business, there are over a dozen groups of drivers, each with different terms due to the Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employment (TUPE) Regulations.


Commenting on the complexity of Suttons’ work rules, Fran Reed, Head of Financial Planning & Analysis said:

“Driver pay is based on four separate factors; the number of hours worked, the shift they are on, the day of the week, and finally the pay terms they work under.

We weren’t convinced there was a system that could manage the interaction between the hours worked, the shift and the drivers’ terms while ensuring they were paid correctly.

Going to market, we were looking for something that could understand and deal with the complexity around our driver pay rules.”


Selecting Softworks – the right fit


Suttons selected Softworks Workforce Management Solution because it was clear Softworks could eliminate the need for manual timesheets and could be configured to manage the company’s complex work and pay rules.


Fran Reed, Head of Financial Planning & Analysis said:

“We talked to a number of providers. Some did far more than we needed and were potentially more costly. Some gave the impression it was up to us to figure out whether their software would work for us.

Softworks, in contrast, explained exactly how their system could use our Time and Attendance data in combination with work and pay rules to ensure drivers were paid correctly.

Softworks were also happy to configure the system to deliver precisely what we needed.”


Selected Modules:


The Solution


Time and Attendance information from Suttons’ tachograph system is now imported into the Softworks Workforce Management system allowing the Softworks rules engine to automatically calculate drivers’ hours for payroll based on the terms they work under and the type of hours and allowances that apply. This data is then imported into the payroll system for processing.


Hannah Morrall, Payroll Manager explained:

“There is a lot of complexity around our payment terms with rules around elements such as standard time, overtime, weekday, weekend day, bank holiday, training days and overnight shifts all influenced by which terms the driver is working under. We worked hard to capture this detail in the system.”


The Project Rollout – testing makes perfect


A project group comprising Suttons’ Head of Financial Planning & Analysis and Payroll team worked closely with a Softworks Project Manager to ensure their work rules were captured in the system and that the system was thoroughly tested before going live.


Commenting on the project rollout, Hannah Morall, Payroll Manager said:

“We worked with the Softworks Project Manager to set up a methodology for testing our work rules and initially went live with 80 drivers to make sure it worked. We then rolled it out to our core group of drivers.”