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Best Factory Awards 2012
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14 September 2011

Forcing home the advantage

Workforce management has become a powerful tool in delivering a host of benefits to UK manufacturers – and Kronos Systems operates at the forefront of that technology

Ask Kronos Systems where its success has sprung from and it will tell you that it all started with a simple idea: that there had to be an easier way to record employee time transactions. "And then one innovation led to another and that idea grew into something now widely known as workforce management," it reports.

It's a very basic, and modest, summary of the company's achievements and underplays the fact that its 'simple' strategy has seen Kronos develop into a global leader in delivering this technology, helping manufacturers across a host of industries to extract the maximum from what it describes as their most valuable and expensive strategic asset – their workforce.

How does it set about achieving that? "By giving those organisations the tools they need to help them control labour costs, minimise compliance risk and improve workforce productivity," says David Bacon (right), manufacturing industry manager at Kronos. Importantly, those workforce management solutions come with complete automation, providing the kind of information back to the business that underpins its efficiency and effectiveness.

Essentially, the Kronos approach is to take the complexities involved with recording time and attendance transactions, scheduling diverse workforces and managing employee absence, and then to simplify these. "That enables manufacturers to drive up their performance, and create motivated and effective employees," states Bacon. "Many of today's business solutions are complex and difficult to use. However, Kronos believes that business users should not have to sacrifice functionality for ease and the new generation of workforce management tools it has developed reflect that."

Bacon is heartened by the way in which UK manufacturing has enjoyed a resurgence in its fortunes of late. "It has come through a tough period, with a great deal of consolidation into high value areas. At the same time, we are finding that the really effective companies are proving their competitiveness. The dynamics are certainly changing and we are seeing manufacturers focusing now on new product development and performance to back that up, enabling them to grow in difficult times."

It is this positivity that has persuaded Kronos it should be part of this groundswell and put its support firmly behind the manufacturing sector by sponsoring the People Management prize at the Best Factory Awards 2011. "We believe it is very important to get behind UK manufacturing, as we've been closely involved with this sector for many years, helping it to drive through improvements in workforce performance," states Bacon. "It would be a real opportunity missed not to be a part of the awards, what with the great revival that is happening in manufacturing, which is slowly becoming a powerful force within the economy once more. We want to play our part in keeping it high on the agenda, both commercially and in terms of government support for manufacturing, and to escalate that profile, in order to further improve its image in the future."

He is impressed by the exacting standards that are set in judging the awards. "The quality and due diligence in this regard are outstanding, and what is clear is that the cream certainly rises to the top, when it comes to the winners. What is also impressive is the way in which those who triumph are willing to share their journey and knowledge of best practice with others who aspire to attain that same level." Bacon values the way in which the awards allow those taking part to "cross-pollinate ideas at first hand, which gives these organisations a fantastic opportunity to build their brand and benchmark themselves against other organisations. Also, the benchmarking report that emerges from the awards is itself hugely valuable output".

He also sees clear synergies between the precepts enshrined by the awards, and the aspirations and principles held by Kronos. "By implementing workforce management, our purpose is to remove waste from inefficient processes and provide real-time data on performance to streamline operations right across the business, driving up profitability and margins. Like the awards, Kronos is equally focused on helping manufacturers to create agile, multi-skilled workforces at the lowest possible cost, with the optimal performance."

Max Gosney


Kronos Systems Ltd

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