Production site - wages

Situation

The customer was a WOFE, a production site in the chemical industry. After the initial startup, production was going smoothly and customer orders were increasing. The problem was that the foreign management exported the salaries system directly from abroad. It was based on fixed salaries, and raises were granted upon written request on a module. That seemed reasonable at the time, but over time some bad habits began to arise. The most aggressive of the workers were so insistent that managers gave them raises only to keep them quiet. Those who worked hard and didn't want to bother the managers never had raises. This led to a very bad work environment, there were protests and strikes.

Challenges

A new system had to be created, in order to give the workers a view on the future with the possible raises. A set of bonuses and allowances had to be devised: seniority allowance, production bonuses and so on. Data had to be collected, calculations made and integrated with the current system. The workers could not be simply forced to accept a new wages system; instead, they had to voluntarily agree in writing to switch to the new system.

Actions

After several iterations, the various production phases were analyzed and the most suitable way of compensation was decided. For data collection, a software was developed to read general data from the production system, key in detailed data and store everything in a database. The software did the calculations and connected to the wages system, so that at the end the person who was in charge of wages had all the data available. The old and the new system had to be kept in parallel for 6 months, and each month a comparison of the two systems was given to everyone. At the ent of the six months, the workers were called to sign an emendament to the labor contract where they accepted the new system.

Results

In the end, every single one of the workers agreed to the new system. The dissatisfaction ended, and thanks to a seniority allowance, the then high turnaround rete subsided. The system was developed with Open Source tools, so there were no installation fees.

Production Site - Paperless office

Situation

The customer, a WOFE in the mechanical sector, had a comprehensive set of internal rules that governated all the aspects of the operations of the various departments. All the data workflows were implemented using paper modules that were carried by hand from one desk to the other. Often while moving between the various persons, modules were lost and the process had to start again from the beginning. The blank modules were printed professionally but the contents were all handwritten; everything was neatly archived in folders. Problems arised when someone needed to retrieve past information. It was impossible to search for specific information; the only way was to search by hand between mountains of paper. For the same reasons, it was impossible to run statistics or use historical data to analyze trends. Some data was kept on excel files, with the usual versioning problems. Most of the workflows ended with a signature from the company General Manager who gave the final approval. This meant that the guy had to sign piles of documents, and was continually interrupted by people who needed the signature to complete their work.

Challenges

The obvious solution was to implement a paperless office solution, but as we all know, this is no piece of cake. Each of the workflows implied the partecipation of different people from different departments. Moreover, the employees were all convinced that the signature on a piece of paper was the only way to ensure the identity of people involved, and so pin the responsibility on the right person.

Actions

An analysis of the workflows was conducted, in order to identify which were the most important and complex ones. The project started with the implementation of a single data workflow to be shown as a showcase of the poteantial of the system. The selected workflow was the one regarding the leave requests: it was the one that generated more interruptions to the G.M., it was separated from the production ones, and touched every employee of the firm. The module was redesigned as a form in a web application; this had the obvious advantage that no installation was needed. The system was implemented with open source tools, with no installation fees.

Results

The initial implementation was a huge success. The advantages were obvious to everybody, and the concerns about security were quickly solved when the users began using the form. Thanks to the modular structure of the system, more modules were easily implemented. The system is still being developed, and the framework is being sold as a base product to be completed with customizations based on the customer's needs.