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Harmonizing international payroll with SAP HCM

  • Headquarters:

    St. Johann in Tirol, Austria

  • Founded:

    1961

  • Employees:

    9,600

  • Production Plants :

    19

Headquartered in Austria and operating worldwide, Egger Group opened its first manufacturing site in Lexington, North Carolina in October 2018 – choosing the location specifically for the type of tree and quality of the wood in the region. Founded in 1961, the family-based company now has 19 production plants with around 9,600 employees worldwide and is one of the leading international wood-based material manufacturers.

Global customers include those in the furniture, wood distribution, building and DIY industries, including IKEA.

The Group generated a consolidated turnover of approximately EUR 2.84 billion in the 2018/19 business year.

The Payroll Project

To support its new US employees, they needed a permanent Payroll, Time and Employee Self Service system.

The solution had to be cost-effective enough to cater to a smaller number of staff initially. But it needed to be scalable to meet the needs of a rapidly expanding employee North American base and then beyond. Egger also needed a partner to assist with implementation of the new Payroll and Time system and turned to Alight | NGA HR.

Harmonizing HR

Initially, Egger used a local, temporary payroll system to get them up and running. However, as the company was already using SAP Payroll and Time On-premise for its offices in Europe, they decided, for the sake of consistency and ease of training, to implement the same system in the US in order to ensure a consistent, global solution.

After reviewing multiple suppliers, Egger selected Alight | NGA HR to install the SAP solution, largely because of the high quality of the latter’s consultants. Alight | NGA HR was also able to point to an excellent track record with other organizations as well as its ability to implement the required system at a competitive price.

Alight | NGA HR Experience

In addition, Alight | NGA HR demonstrated both understanding and experience of the way US payroll worked, and this country-specific knowledge was key to the decision. Finally, Alight | NGA HR had already worked very successfully with Egger in its European offices, including on payroll in France.

“One of our team leaders had experienced working with Alight | NGA HR previously and had rated them highly, “said Lucinda Westmoreland, Payroll Manager, Egger.

“When we met them initially to discuss working together, they impressed us greatly with the extent of their understanding and knowledge of the kind of system we wanted,“ added Felix Dagn, Team Leader of SAP Competence Center HR, Egger Group.

Katara Littlejohn, Project Manager, Alight | NGA HR commented, “We were able to demonstrate to Egger that we had the requisite depth of Payroll and Time expertise, knowledge and experience, including in the US, to guarantee a successful project, and our organizational capabilities allowed us to do it in a very cost effective manner.”

Alight | NGA HR consulted closely with Egger to advise and guide them on payroll and time best practices. This included steering the organization throughout the implementation requirements including gathering, design, testing, deployment, operating and some change management approaches.

Challenges

One particular challenge for Alight | NGA HR was to migrate data held on the temporary payroll system to the new SAP system. In addition, they had to ensure that Egger had the required tax and other legal documents. This ensured they could meet the rapidly approaching go-live deadline.

Towards the end of the implementation Egger reconstructed the Payroll / Benefit Department which involved some personnel changes. This required additional consultancy work from Alight | NGA HR to bring the new staff up to speed. In addition, Alight | NGA HR modified the Employee Self-Service system to meet the project’s requirements.

Results

When the project went live, Egger Lexington had under 1,000 employees. By February 2020, they had doubled their employee head-count, working over two shifts in the manufacturing plant. The company expects their employee head-count to continue to quickly grow.

The implementation was very successful thanks to Alight | NGA HR’s approach. This was in part due to the consultative and training services provided for staff unfamiliar with SAP. In January 2020, Egger was up and running with a robust, intuitive SAP HCM and Payroll system. It was able to scale up as the number of personnel expands.

With the new system, Egger is able, by keeping payroll administration in house, to minimize payroll processing costs. It has the same streamlined solution throughout its offices worldwide with local languages and specific country modifications. The company can now easily access the information it needs, including consistent reporting.

As a result, HR and payroll teams can focus on more strategic tasks rather than time-consuming, resource-heavy administrative processes. The Employee Self Service system has proved very helpful for staff. Egger is also planning to introduce a mobile self-service app in the near future.

Following this initial project, Egger Wood Products, LLC has now signed an additional contract with Alight | NGA HR. This is for local, ongoing Application Maintenance Support.

Felix Dagn summed up, “The effort and skill Alight | NGA HR demonstrated throughout this project through to the final successful completion was, to us, very valuable indeed. It was a great partnership, and we were delighted with the quality of their services.”