Since 2014, the company has been using the All for One BeeOffice platform. The modules for business trip and leave planning and accounting were the first to be launched.
The Business Trips functionality in BeeOffice revolutionized the process of business travel accounting in the company. A self-service form available online for the employee, supervisor and accountant enables a trip to be planned, allows the supervisor to review and approve a request, and helps settle costs in one place. It was estimated that in the first year of using the solution the functionality saved 300 hours per month across the organization, compared to the previous model where the process was handled manually. Greater transparency of costs related to business trips and the ability to fully measure them contributed to a reduction in business travel costs by approximately 30%.
The automation of absence request submission and approval in the BeeOffice Leaves module also made things much easier. Without paper forms, in compliance with the Labor Code limits and with a clear workflow for leave requests, this functionality quickly gained the recognition of employees and their superiors, who were also provided with the possibility of creating leave plans quickly and transparently.
Over time, InPost expanded the use of the BeeOffice platform, providing employees with a forum for information exchange and a tool for individual or team scheduling (Schedule). People who spend company money submit their applications in the Requirements module, where purchase acceptance and settlement also take place.
BeeOffice supports a growing range of administrative and HR processes in the company, allowing it to benefit from automation.
InPost made a strategic decision to make BeeOffice the central HR platform where employee master data is created and stored. The solution is integrated with other applications that support the remaining HR and payroll processes.
An important consequence of this decision was the need to include in the system more than 2 thousand associate employees from branches and sorting plants employed by temporary work agencies.
Associate Record System
In 2019, a project was initiated to create an Associate Record System on the basis of BeeOffice by expanding and adapting the platform’s functionalities to InPost’s specific requirements.
The primary objective of the project was to obtain a uniform system for recording employees regardless of their form of employment and to provide tools for effective and dynamic management of associate employees, including ongoing and active planning, controlling, monitoring work in branches and sorting plants, managing employees in individual organizational units, as well as simplifying the process of submitting requests and settlement of accounts with temporary work agencies.
InPost in figures
Parcel lockers in Poland: 13 thousand
Sorting plants: 2
Parcels delivered in 2020: 310 million
Active InPost Mobile app users: 7 million
Integrated sellers: over 26 thousand
When starting the project work, the biggest challenges related to the management of permanent employees of branches and sorting plants and employees hired by temporary work agencies were defined:
- Specific characteristics of staffing – increased demand for staff at specific times of the year when volumes rise significantly (e.g., before Christmas);
- Specific distribution of weekly demand for employees (varying distribution of volume to different days of the week);
- Shift work and unusual shift length (shorter than 8 hours)
- Migration of employees between branches (taking into account the workload, department managers may shift employees between branches in the same city)
- High turnover (which causes problems with transferring data about employees from temporary work agencies, providing employees with equipment and tools, e.g., badges for working time recording, difficult assessment of employees by supervisors, who do not know them well)
- Problems with reporting the headcount – different sources of partial data, lack of a consistent, continuously updated “payroll")
- Cooperation with many temporary work agencies – the need to monitor the status of the order, the distribution of orders according to the prepared key, the speed and correctness of settlements of accounts with temporary work agencies
- Foreign employees – a language barrier, problems with identification in the absence of PESEL number.
A single source of data
The first and most important stage of the project was to create a single database of employees, regardless of their form of employment. Previously, the company suffered from a severe lack of such a common “payroll". In BeeOffice, the record of associates finally enables effective reporting on employment in particular units.
InPost made a strategic decision to make BeeOffice the central HR platform where employee master data is created and stored
One of the priorities of the project was the digitalization of the processes involving interactions with temporary work agencies, primarily the process of submitting the requisition for employees by branches and sorting plants, along with the complete path of accepting the requisition. InPost cooperates with over twenty agencies, both nationwide and local. At the beginning, it was assumed that the tool would be made available to agencies as the default channel for handling the process. Agencies actively use the system and perform many activities in it: they enter information about employees and plan their working time. In the time recording process, InPost completes, as well as verifies and corrects this data.
The standard process of handling the requisition for employees is described below:
The branch manager creates a work schedule for the next month. The first step in planning the working time is to create in the application the requisition for a specific number of employees, broken down into positions (e.g. a sorter, a warehouse worker) and working hours (shifts with a standard length of 8 hours or less, depending on the needs). Requisitions are created for the entire month in one form, separately for each week and for each of the 64 branches.
An order from a particular branch can be split between different agencies. To ensure constant availability of temporary employees, each branch works with at least three agencies. The system includes a key of limits for allocating an order to one agency (e.g., no more than 70% of employees can be employed by one agency). The limit can be exceeded only upon the approval by the orders department (an appropriate workflow has been developed).
Once the requisition is approved, orders are automatically generated and distributed – to each of the agencies included. Of course, each of the agencies receives only their part of the order.
An agency employee, the application user, receives an automatic e-mail notifying him/her of a new order. He/she assigns available employees to days and shifts directly in the system and then approves the order.
The order history is available in the system.
The branch manager can issue an adjustment to the requisition for employees even during the current settlement period. The number of employees needed for the remaining days of the settlement period and their working hours may be changed.
Recording and settlement
An associate who starts work in an InPost branch receives an ID badge with a barcode and a photo.
The branch manager generates and then prints badges from the employee list in BeeOffice (individually or collectively). They are used primarily to register the start and end of the shift via working time readers. The data from the readers is transferred directly into the system and is assigned to the relevant orders.
On this basis working time is recorded. Collected data can be used to generate a working time report (comparison of previously defined expected working time with actual records from readers, with highlighting deviations and differences).
The next stage is settlement of rendered services with agencies. Settlements are generated automatically taking into account the actual availability of agency employees in the selected period. The settlement system takes into account the established rate for a man-hour and the logic of the employee assessment and bonus system used in InPost.
Depending on their authorizations, the user can view all orders or be limited to the selected region and period. The settlements can be filtered and sorted as well as displayed in the form of a report.
InPost employees, including temporary ones, receive a discretionary bonus, awarded on the basis of an assessment made by their direct supervisor. The lack of an electronic database of employees and a system supporting bonuses significantly hindered effective and fast distribution of bonuses.
BeeOffice provides a dedicated assessment sheet, which allows direct supervisors to effectively evaluate the employee. A three-grade grade (A, B or C) is awarded on a weekly basis. The awarded grade is a basis for a bonus rate. A photo of the associate, visible on the assessment screen, is an important convenience – especially with the high turnover of temporary employees.
And further development
These core system functionalities were launched first – in May 2021. Currently, further development of tools for time recording and evaluation, settlements of accounts with agencies, the bonus system is underway. Its goal is to seal the system, further automate processes, and provide functions that support daily team management and decision-making processes in the organization. The project is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2022. At the same time, other projects of digitalization of HR processes based on the BeeOffice platform are in progress – for full-time employees of the company and related to fleet and courier management.
The project was implemented using the agile Scrum methodology. During weekly meetings, All for One Poland consultants and InPost employees planned tasks for the following week. Each week ended with a presentation of the work results to the business. Staying in constant contact (one of the project tools is a channel in a popular messenger) enabled quick reactions to problems and questions, determining details, adjusting arrangements and clearing doubts. This model of communication greatly accelerated the work and, above all, helped obtain a solution that met the expectations of InPost.
The production implementation was carried out in stages. Functionalities were successively added to the production system after their testing and approval. This is continued since – as already mentioned – the tools are being developed all the time.
One of the biggest project challenges was cooperation with temporary work agencies since they were also stakeholders of the project along with InPost employees. Much emphasis was placed on a good understanding of InPost’s expectations and project objectives by the administrative staff of agencies. To this end, numerous trainings and workshops on the use of the solution were held.
The Associate Record System is the next stage in the automation of HR and back office processes at InPost using the BeeOffice platform. Some of the BeeOffice features are available on mobile devices.
One of the primary effects of the SEW project is obtaining – at last – a uniform source of data on all employees, regardless of their form of employment. The progress is evidenced by the fact that the automation of the employee recording process and an electronic attendance list generated by the system replaced the paper list filled in by the employees themselves. At this point, it is worth mentioning that many associate employees are foreign and use the Cyrillic alphabet, which often made it a challenge to read their names.
Currently, employee data, once entered electronically – is available to all systems in which HR processes are carried out (thanks to appropriate interfaces). This helps reduce errors and discrepancies.
Records of temporary workers served as a starting point for automation of the entire process of cooperation with temporary work agencies – from a requisition, through an order, its execution, to settlement. Flexible management of the team size is a great asset in a company that is in the growth phase, operating under conditions of cyclical increases in workload. It allows for the adjustment of resources to the actual labor demand, and thus increases productivity and cost effectiveness.
The latter goals are also supported by system solutions enabling dynamic employee management, including transfers between branches.
An employee card showing all information relevant to the manager and agency administrator (e.g. certificates, authorizations, and a photo) makes it easier to assign the employee to a particular type of work and facilitates familiarization with the team.
Reports showing the current status both generally and by team are available online. The available reports also help, for example, analyze the labor demand in particular periods and track peak trends, analyze the accuracy of demand volumes in relation to actual working time, etc. The reporting capabilities of the tool are wide. This significantly facilitates the work of direct supervisors and managers.
The system has also organized cooperation and settlements of accounts with temporary work agencies. One tool, a clear division of tasks and a process workflow have helped achieve what is the main goal of automation – it is now faster and cheaper, to mutual satisfaction. By making SEW available to agencies, InPost has, in a way, taken care of its own satisfaction with their services.
InPost, established in 1999, is the largest company in Poland providing courier and fullfilment services for e-commerce merchants. In Poland, it has over 13 thousand parcel lockers – self-service points of sending and collecting parcels, open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Its mobile application is used by more than 7 million users. In 2020, it delivered 310 million parcels. The company also operates in the UK, Italy and Austria. In July 2021, InPost acquired Mondial Relay, a leading French out-of-home delivery company. Thus, it became Europe’s largest e-commerce delivery platform.