Coles consolidates payroll, HR apps

45 pay cycles reduced to three

The Coles Group has restructured its payroll and HR administration systems and standardized on one SAP installation in what outsourcer EDS claims is the largest outsourcing project of its kind in Australia.

Coles, with some 165,000 employees working at 2900 sites across Australia, was operating four payroll systems involving multiple databases and interfaces with legacy computer systems, making it difficult for the retailer to produce accurate analyses of its workforce.

A single SAP payroll system was introduced at Coles to process all aspects of employee data, resulting in a reduction in IT interfaces and costs.

EDS Australia managing director Chris Mitchell said the restructure was the largest and most complex SAP roll out ever undertaken in the region.

"It involved building a new HR platform and merging existing technologies into one SAP payroll system for the processing of all employee data," Mitchell said. "The scope of the project was huge, covering multiple brands, businesses, and regulatory jurisdictions, including more than 40 different federal and state pay awards and agreements. There was also a diverse employee base covering full-time, part-time and casual employees, as well as contractors."

As part of the eight-year contract, EDS has also taken over responsibility for the management of all payroll and associated HR administration services.

Mitchell said for the first time the group now has a single view of its entire workforce, and a more accurate understanding of the cost of payroll and HR administration.

In addition, the number of pay cycles per month has been cut from 45 to three - weekly, fortnightly, and monthly - and paper forms have been reduced as a result of electronic form submission and document storage.

The project was a winner at the 2007 Australian HR Awards with EDS winning the award for the best overall use of technology.

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