Everstar discovers that digital transformation is a valuable human resource tool
The management of Everstar Engineering & Services had big plans to grow
The local small and medium enterprise (SME) – which offers engineering specialist solutions such as steel structure fabrication for the oil and gas, petrochemical and marine industries – was poised to move to the next level.
However, the company’s mainly manual manpower processes started to hinder the progress that they envisioned.
Everstar’s human resource (HR) department was trapped in a world of paper trails, consequently causing low efficiency, high manpower costs and unhappiness among employees.
Mr Prabhu Packirisamy, Everstar’s Director, noticed that staff frustration had the potential to cause Everstar to lose its competitiveness within the industry and derail the firm’s expansion plans.
The solution was clear to him: Digitalisation. But where to begin?
With more than a year into its journey of digital transformation at an enterprise level under his belt, Mr Prabhu shares the impact of digitalisation on Everstar.
Tell us more about Everstar’s business.
Beyond steel structure fabrication, we also have a wide range of services in electrical installation, thermal insulation and fireproofing projects. We handle major oil and gas clients such as Shell and ExxonMobil, and provide engineering, construction and technical support services to clients in Singapore, Malaysia and India.
Why was there a need to improve your HR processes?
Our business requires multiple groups of workers to be situated at various offsite locations to build or maintain structures. Our colleagues had to submit physical timecards in order to have their salaries calculated. The problem was, the manual difficulty of collecting the timecards, as well as the time required to enter data, calculate and verify our employees’ income tax, often led to late payrolls every month.
Frustration was building for our HR colleagues because they felt that they did not have sufficient time to complete their work in order to issue the payroll on time. People were also upset about salaries being paid out laid, but we could not keep hiring more staff to handle HR processes. The high manpower cost was slowing down our ability to gain new business.
What led you to the solution?
In 2017, we were already using one payroll module from Info-Tech, a Singaporean company that provided cloud HR software. We heard that there was an integrated solution that had modules for payroll, e-attendance and online leave application.
The solution was within the list of pre-approved solutions under the SMEs Go Digital programme, giving us confidence that it may be of great help to us. We then tried the trial version and the savings it offered us in terms of man hours and reduction of manual work, as well as the funding provided to help us digitalise our HR operations, won us over.
The Info-Tech team also came to understand our needs and eventually they proposed a solution that best met our requirements. We have been using the integrated solution since January 2018.
It has been more than a year since Everstar adopted the integrated solution. How would you describe the progress?
The HR team could not be any happier! They no longer need to spend days calculating income tax, printing the forms and asking the workers for their signatures. What took fifteen days to complete, could now be done in a day or two via the online platform. The hassle of transferring paper records, collecting timecards and issuing physical payslips are now a thing of the past.
The team appreciates how user-friendly the interface is. It enables them to obtain information in a matter of minutes, while reducing human errors thanks to its integration with the tax and CPF portals.
Moreover, we did not need to hire additional coordinators or supervisors. Leave applications, attendance and timesheets can be filled in online by users, and the management is able to view attendance records and staff strength in real-time at any time.
How has the company benefited from its digitalisation efforts?
Operationally, the digitalisation efforts have transformed our business to a large extent.
A huge amount of savings has been gained, and I believe that we have reduced operational costs by $40,000 and saved over 3,500 man hours each year.
The HR department is able to focus their time on other areas, such as employee welfare, workplace safety and compliance to international standards on human rights, as per our clients’ request. These efforts help us to form a stronger business base to serve our clients.
How will the successful implementation of the digital solution help your business moving forward?
Solving these roadblocks has given us the confidence to move forward with expansion. We implemented this solution for our subsidiary in Malaysia and now are able to remotely manage our operations.
I believe that the Info-Tech cloud software can also be used in our expansion efforts in India and Dubai. We will have access and control of our workforce in overseas projects, tracking project costing based on the hours being clocked.
Preventive measures can also be taken to manage the budgets, and we are able to check in on progress with the site managers using the data provided by the system.
What’s next in Everstar’s digital transformation journey?
The success of this HR software implementation has led us to ask what we can do next! Currently, we are looking to customise an existing enterprise resource planning solution with sales, purchase, inventory and finance modules to prepare us for regional expansion plans.
About SMEs Go Digital Programme
The SMEs Go Digital Programme enables SMEs to gain access to a number of pre-approved solutions to take their businesses to the next level. These solutions cater to a range of sectors, including environmental services, food services, retail, security, wholesale trade and logistics. There is also funding support for SMEs that adopt eligible pre-approved solutions. Visit the SMEs Go Digital Programme page for more information.
This article is published with permission from IMDA.