In mid-2018, the Sokołów Group finalized the acquisition of Grupa Mięsna Gzella, which included a production plant in Osie in Bory Tucholskie and a chain of over 200 meat delicatessen located mainly in the northern part of Poland. This is the next step in the implementation of the company’s strategy, assuming optimal conditions for the stable growth of all plants and companies, further strengthening the market position, improving the business profile and quality of production, and being a partner for customers and consumers.
Strengthening the Sokołów Group with such a large retail network allows it to effectively reach customers throughout the country.
At the same time, for the Sokołów Group, this acquisition meant, among other things, that over 1,300 new employees were added to the company overnight. Therefore, one of the most important business decisions made soon after the merger was to initiate the project of rollout of the SAP HR system of the Sokołów Group and extend it to the employees of Gzella.
SNP Poland became an implementation partner in this project. The two companies’ cooperation in the scope of the HR and payroll system dates back to 2012-2015, when SNP carried out the SAP HR system implementation in Sokolow, with subsequent rollouts to branches. The company implements in SAP HR the processes of personnel administration, payroll settlement, time management and working time evaluation. Sokołów also uses SAP application management service (including SAP HR) of SNP Poland.
SAP HR rollout
The SAP HR system rollout project for Gzella started in April 2019. Already at the blueprint stage, it was divided into two separate phases. The first involved the Gzella production company and was completed in the last quarter of 2019. – in parallel with the company’s transformation to a Sokolow division. The second phase of the rollout was related to the transfer of the system to the Gzella NET subsidiary and was completed in October 2020.
One of the major goals of the project was to unify the HR processes in both companies and to use the business processes implemented in the SAP HR system of the Sokołów Group.
The result of this project is a coherent HR and payroll system, which handles HR administration and payroll calculation for all employees of both merged companies.
SAP HR – a solid foundation
Merging two entities with completely different organizational cultures is always a challenge – in business, organizational, formal and psychological terms It’s a process that takes time, experience, in-depth analysis, organization maturity, and proper change management. In addition to the enormous amount of organizational and strategic work that requires additional effort and commitment on both sides, one more factor must be taken into account – very significant for future processes – the trust of employees, which in a situation of uncertainty and anxiety after an acquisition is not an easy task.
So we started by building a solid foundation. The decision to implement SAP HR in the current Branch Office in Osie and the subsidiary Gzella Net allowed to unify the basic HR and payroll processes, providing additionally increased reporting and analytical benefits for these entities and tools to make the right business decisions in the HR area at the level of the whole Group. Sokołów’s SAP HR system contains many customizations that greatly simplify the work of HR and payroll teams, which at the same time allowed us to guarantee the employees that the system change will have measurable positive effects.
Working together on the project allowed faster integration of the teams, and thanks to Sokołów employees’ expertise in SAP HR and cooperation with SNP consultants we were able to provide support at each stage of the project – starting from the concept, through testing, training, migration and up to the productive start.
Parallel to the SAP HR rollout in Gzella Net, we conducted the e-Time project, which ultimately allowed us to move to a “higher level" in terms of planning and managing employees’ working time in distributed units and to unify the tool for Sokołów and Gzella stores. The application also gives you more control over the correctness of the process, ensuring compliance with applicable laws. Extending the functionality with leave requests, pay slips and PIT is a definite facilitation not only for store employees, but also for HR departments, allowing them to save time so valuable in today’s business reality. The simultaneous successful launch of the two projects would not have been possible without the enormous knowledge, responsibility and commitment of the teams who worked on it, and it is they who deserve the greatest recognition.
Sylwia Miszczuk, Company HR Director, Sokołów SA
SNP E-Time for 300 stores
In parallel to the SAP HR rollout, another project was processed – the implementation of the SNP E-Time application for managing working time. The implementation covered employees of the Sokołów Group’s chain of stores – a total of approximately 1,300 employees in nearly 300 stores operating under both the Sokołów and Gzella brands.
E-Time is a web-based application that allows store managers to schedule employees’ working hours, taking into account their availability and work demands, while keeping an eye on legal and internal regulations.
Managers create time schedules in an easy-to-use application. The process is fully automated and only takes a few minutes. Validation of scheduled time compliance with the Labor Code includes the following checks:
- no 11-hour break maintained on a planned day, counting from the end of work on a preceding day,
- a missed break of 35 hours (in a pay week),
- scheduling work on four consecutive Sundays (except for weekend work hours),
- validation of a plan for disabled employees –prohibited full-time work, overtime and night work – (the check can be deactivated if an employee obtained from a doctor’s consent to work full-time, overtime or at night),
- controlling the number of days off in a pay period,
- the inability to schedule more hours in a pay period than the standard for the pay period (taking into account the employee’s hire or termination date and when there is a change in FTE),
- the number of scheduled hours of work may not exceed 12 hours for the equivalent system and 8 hours for the basic system,
- scheduling no more hours in the first month of an employee’s employment or reemployment than the employee’s standard.
In addition to having real-time visibility into their schedules, store employees also use the E-Time application to submit leave requests that are approved through workflow by their supervisors. The application guards the leave quotas and gives the employee an ongoing overview of the “ownership" (how many days of vacation leave and childcare are left to use). The store manager also has insight into the employee’s leave quotas.
The solution is also used by regional coordinators who oversee more than a dozen stores in a given area. E-Time makes it easy for them to temporarily transfer employees between subordinate facilities and to account for the posted employees’ time.
SNP E-Time is integrated into the SAP HR system. Data from the application is used in recalculating the time assessment and further in generating payroll.
The Sokołów Group decided to expand the application and use it to distribute pay slips and PIT forms to store employees. Employees find these documents (as encrypted PDF files) in the appropriate tabs of the tool.
The most important benefits of implementing the SNP E-Time application in the Sokołów Group’s chain of stores are:
- automation of the working time planning process on the basis of requirements defined by the planner/manager,
- more efficient control of team performance by managers with less effort,
- ensuring compliance of working time management processes with legal regulations, e.g. Labour Code regulations,
- comprehensive time-related reporting.
- full integration with the SAP HR system and application mobility (possible access via smartphone).
A successful HR merger
There are many factors underlying successful business connections. Unification of information systems and a coherent strategy for managing them is one of the most important. Integration and automation of business processes, access to reliable management data, quick analytics on the level of the whole group – without this it is difficult to imagine managing an enlarged company.
The uniform personnel and payroll system of the merged companies Gzella and Sokołów, which additionally increases the subjectivity and self-service capabilities of employees, not only adds to the overall positive assessment of the merger of the two leaders of the meat market in Poland. Building a positive employee experience – one element of which is the implementation of the E-Time platform, strengthens the company’s position as a desirable employer with a nationwide reach.
Cooperation: Anna Adamska, Consultant SNP Poland
The Sokołów Group is one of the largest meat producers in Central-Eastern Europe and one of the industry leaders in Poland. For years, it has been setting standards and is a precursor of changes in the meat sector. The company employs over 8,000 people. The company’s headquarters is located in Sokołów Podlaski. The Group consists of 8 modern production plants located in: Sokołów Podlaski, Koło, Robakowo, Dębica, Czyżewo, Jarosław, Tarnów and Osie and 4 subsidiaries: Sokołów Logistyka, Sokołów Service, Agro Sokołów and Gzella Net. The current shareholder of the Sokołów Group is the international Danish Crown Group, the largest exporter of red meat in Europe. The SOKOŁÓW brand is the most recognizable brand in the industry and one of the most valuable Polish brands, appreciated by consumers especially for its taste and high quality, which is confirmed by numerous prizes and awards – the Favorite Brand of Poles, gold medals of MTP Polagra Food and the prestigious title of Solid Employer.