Customer case study: Rowse Honey

For over 70 years honey has been the passion of Rowse Honey in Wallingford, Oxfordshire. The business has grown into a £90 million international business which sources fair trade honey from 16 countries including the UK, US, South America, China and Australia.

In March 2014 Rowse joined the Valeo Foods portfolio which includes the Jacob’s and Batchelors brands.

Making shift management easier at The Beehive

Over 200 staff (including agency staff) are employed at The Beehive, the Rowse factory in Wallingford. Rowse Honey had been a Chronologic customer for a number
of years but by 2010 their existing time and attendance system wasn’t delivering the information and management tools they needed as the business continued to expand.

We asked Rowse’s Engineering Administrator to tell us what they were looking for in a new time and attendance solution and how the new system has helped them streamline business processes and save time and money.

“We had been with Chronologic (previously Access-to-Time), for many years and, although the support provided by them for the old system was excellent, we knew it was time to look for a new system and they were the obvious choice.”

Chronologic undertook a thorough requirements review with the team at Rowse Honey to ensure that we would deliver the right time and attendance solution for them. Rowse has a complex set of shift patterns which made the Chronologic Workforce Management System the obvious choice.

“We have so many different shifts in use with lots of different working schedules, there were concerns about whether the complexity could be handled. As it turned out our concerns were unfounded as the system has so many different and clever ways to handle all the different shifts and calculations it’s easy to get exactly the output we need.”

It was decided that proximity fob clocking terminals would work best for Rowse in their manufacturing environment. This was an upgrade from the magnetic card clocking system that was in use before.

“The new system was easier for employees to use, with the proximity fobs you don’t get issues with swipe badges being lost or moved from the racks. Employees carrying their fobs also has other benefits of course.”

Fair and accurate pay

Two key benefits delivered by the new system are accurate pay and time savings on payroll preparation.

“In the past we always had to modify the export to correct for shortcomings in the old system. The payroll preparation used to take at least a day and now it’s finished by lunch time. This saves the company paying overtime to get the hours ready for payroll. The accuracy of the hours means that there are no discrepancies between the hours worked and those being paid. We now have a complete and accurate audit from times clocked to payroll.

The daily edits for missed clockings and overtime authorisation on the old system used to take an hour as a minimum and now with the exception management module in the new system it’s about 15 minutes. Another saving!”

All the data is collected and calculated in real-time making reports almost instantaneous. Managers and supervisors can see who is clocked in, or not, live whenever they need to and respond in a timely way to make sure production isn’t compromised.

Better productivity for busy bees

“Now that the system is looking after itself there’s more time to get on with other tasks.”

Rowse’s Engineering Administrator tells us about other features in the time and attendance system that are benefiting the business.

Exceptions module: “This brings to our attention the things that need to be handled on a day-to-day basis, it works automatically in the background saving us even more time trying to find what needs to be managed on the system.”

Easy to use: “The ability to add extra users who can cover for the normal users, and the much lower training required to get them to a point that they can run the payroll in our absence has meant that if the normal users are away on holiday, preparation for payroll can still be handled easily.”

Dealing with complex shift patterns: “The system recognises the shift patterns unlike the previous system. We can create a shift exactly how we need it to be without any compromise. All the different shift rates are handled easily. Even the fact that we have different rates for different shifts and shifts are swapped all the time, the overtime calculations come out correctly every time.”

Managing holidays and absence: “The calendar for absences and holidays is really easy to manage and makes responding to the question “How many holidays have I got left?” really easy. I just need to bring up the calendar for someone and I know the holidays are correct, this just wasn’t possible in the old system. We no longer need to set up the calendars on an annual basis either, the system just rolls forward without intervention… that’s bliss!”

Last year in the UK, honey outsold jam for the first time ever, we like to think that the Chronologic Workforce Management Software has contributed to the sweet taste of success at The Beehive.

Rowse Honey website