Company / Industry
Gebr. Heinemann SE & CO. KG / Wholesale and Retail
Range of Services
Gebr. Heinemann operates Duty Free & Travel Value shops, licensed fashion label boutiques, and concept stores at international airports as well as stores at border crossings and on board cruise ships. The company also supplies airports, airlines, cruise ships, and border stores worldwide.
Career Website (incl. Quick Apply)
In an increasingly globalized competitive environment, companies can only hold their ground with global strategies. HR management is proving to be a particular challenge for internationally operating companies. The comprehensive digitization of HR processes is a fundamental prerequisite for competitive efficiency in everyday operations, both locally at national locations and globally. Gebr. Heinemann, a Hamburg-based retailer with global operations in travel retail and distribution, decided in 2018 to standardize and digitize its HR processes by introducing SAP SuccessFactors HXM. The project is part of the company’s global HR strategy. Together with projekt0708 as a consulting partner, the long-term project started with developing a global template best practice solution for pilot deployment in the Asia-Pacific region in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and Australia. The next step was the implementation of the system in Germany and Austria in 2020.
Modern HR management involves numerous different processes, and their smooth operation also impacts the company’s success. Such a system comprises all events, from recruiting to the onboarding of new employees, career and development management, learning management, and remuneration management. The digitization of partial steps and their integration in a comprehensive system increases the efficiency of interlinked processes and enables centralized reporting, analysis, and thus the strategic control of location-independent organizational units. Internationally operating companies such as Gebr. Heinemann face the additional challenge of complying with different national and international security and data protection standards and enabling cross-border collaboration. With projekt0708 and SAP SuccessFactors, Gebr. Heinemann opted for an innovative, scalable, cloud-based HR management system.
in more than 100 countries
SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central
into an existing job portal
Global Success with flexible HR Processes
While creating a new HR IT roadmap and announcing the medium-term discontinuation of mainstream maintenance of the on-premise version of the SAP ERP HCM system, Gebr. Heinemann was first confronted with the question of what could be an alternative to the tried and tested system at the company headquarters in Hamburg and individual national locations. HR processes at the various company sites had until then been managed with individual solutions, often analogously, due to an overall decentralized structure. At the same time, the company’s management decided to replace regional control with a global strategy in HR management under the objective “HR—Partner for Global Success.” The key objectives were process transparency, the creation of digital processes, and the comprehensive provision and use of key figures.
Once the Asia-Pacific site had announced its intention to take a closer look at possible system solutions, the decision was finally made to use it as a pilot project and work together with a suitable consulting partner to implement a solution. The next step was to transfer the solution to other locations as a best practice in the form of a global template. Gebr. Heinemann was faced with a choice between two fundamentally suitable providers of cloud-based HCM solutions. They soon decided in favor of SAP SuccessFactors as a system already established at individual locations and a clear preference for the Asia-Pacific model location. project0708 was able to stand its ground against two other qualified consulting and implementation firms in the following service provider selection in the fall of 2018.
“A variety of factors were decisive in our selection of the service provided. These naturally included the expertise, flexibility, and reliability required for the project but also cost factors,” recalls Alexander Messer, Head of Digital Commerce IT, at Gebr. Heinemann. “But, of course, it is also important for such a long-term project to have the right chemistry. projekt0708 convinced us with its combination of modesty in appearance on the one hand and competence on the other.”
ACT LOCALLY, THINK GLOBALLY
The first stage of the project consisted of introducing solutions in recruiting and employee central in the Asia-Pacific region, including sites in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and Australia.
projekt0708 deliberately chose a preconfigured best practice solution to replace previously established manual, often paper-based processes. This provided the basis for a requirements comparison in the on-site workshop with the local units to identify further adaptation requirements that were to be integrated into the solution in the second step.
With a total of two on-site visits, the system was brought up to a level where it was well accepted by the users and is now being used very successfully. The entire project phase took just under half a year. This also created the basis for implementing the solution at the company’s headquarters in Germany in 2020.
“We were able to benefit tremendously from experience in APAC,” emphasizes Canan Eskikaya, Head of HR Controlling & Compensations, at Gebr. Heinemann. “Looking back, this is a major success and a valuable learning effect for the rest of the project. We particularly recognized the importance of involving the sites early on to create a commitment, which helped us to establish the system successfully.”
IMPLEMENTATION, INTEGRATION, MIGRATION — A CHALLENGING TRIAD
Based on the knowledge gained in the Asia-Pacific region, the second project step in January 2020 was implementing the tested system in Germany and Austria.
“The scope in APAC was a bit smaller than in Germany,” says Alexander Messer. “Nevertheless, the basic idea from the outset was to introduce the tested system as a rollout in Germany and Austria.”
Local requirements and processes had to be adapted in the process, but the implementation followed the overriding idea of the global template as far as possible.
In this context, the overall most significant challenge was the replacement of SAP HCM as the leading master data system and the associated data migration to SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central. With SAP HCM still being used for payroll accounting, an ongoing integration of the systems based on the SAP Business Technology Platform was implemented alongside the initial data migration.
“A general hands-on mentality, which characterizes both Gebr. Heinemann and projekt0708, was very helpful in meeting the challenges of migration and integration,” says Canan Eskikaya.
“Looking back, we can only recommend that other companies also address the technical aspects of data migration at an early stage,” suggests Alexander Messer.
Besides the digitalization of the administrative personnel processes, the implementation of SAP SuccessFactors Recruiting also included a flexible interface to the already existing content management system (CMS) with a specifically designed job portal. This solution is now used to import data from SuccessFactors and display it in the CMS or on the career page within the job search and job portal using a customized user interface. This individual development also involved introducing the brief application app “p78 Quick Apply for SAP SuccessFactors” to make the application process as simple and attractive as possible.
Looking back and into the future
The entire project for Gebr. Heinemann is also part of a long-term digitization strategy - even against the backdrop of the Corona pandemic.
So far, more than 40 HR processes have been digitized, creating significantly more transparency in the work steps.
“With such a system, it was and is a new experience for us to rely completely on a one hundred percent cloud solution,” explains Alexander Messer. “It was essential to us to have a partner on board who also takes care of the operating and support issues in the long-term so that we only have to do the steering.”
Looking ahead, the next step is to connect all companies to SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central and, where necessary, to Recruiting by 2024. From 2022, the SuccessFactors modules Onboarding and Performance & Goals are also on the roadmap to complete the HR digitalization strategy of Gebr. Heinemann.