Managing a workforce – with precision
A company that was born out of wartime necessity but which spearheads the manufacture of hi-tech precision industrial tools is moving into the next stage of its evolution with the introduction of a new workforce management system.
Crown Workforce Management – specialists in time, attendance and rostering systems – is helping Norbar Torque Tools smooth its way into a new era as it merges two manufacturing and service sites into one refurbished headquarters, in Banbury, Oxfordshire.
In line with this move, Norbar was keen to update its workforce management processes, from labour intensive time sheets which needed to be manually entered into payroll, to an automated system which would save time and money and help drive the business forward.
Crown’s Open Options™ system was chosen as the ideal solution which could be tailor-made to company needs – managing its complex rostering systems with four and five-day shift patterns, weekends and nights for a 300-strong workforce. The system also needed to interface with the company’s payroll system.
Norbar, which was founded in 1942, began life producing equipment to accurately tighten engine heads on Rolls Royce Merlin engines which powered wartime aircraft such as the Spitfire, Hurricane, Mosquito, Mustang, and the Lancaster. It is now eminent in a range of sectors: manufacturing and assembly, oil and gas, transportation, energy generation, aerospace and mining and refining.
Over 70 years, it has remained a family-run, people-focused business and although it operates across five continents, its manufacturing is undertaken in Britain. The company is now moving into a new era, combining its sites into a new 1600 square metre state-of-the art facility.
Norbar’s selected workforce management system needed to reflect the make-up of the workforce and its varied roles across 15 departments – from product designers and service engineers through to sales and warehouse staff – in order to manage abstraction and maintain the output ‘pipeline’.
Open Options™ work flow function ideally met these needs. It has a series of inbuilt prompts alerting line managers to activities that they need to undertake, for example, carrying out return to work interviews after sickness absence. The system sends reminders to the ‘owner’ or a senior manager if not undertaken within a specific time.
Norbar is also keen to tap into Open Options™ ‘real time data’ and set parameters for business reports to help it inform business development.
The company has a strong ethos of ‘family’. The average employee has a 10-year length of service, with nine per cent serving more than 25 years. It promotes family time in its company benefits and allows staff to take holiday allowance in one hour slots if needed to support domestic arrangements – another aspect which needed to be incorporated into the time management set-up for the application of Open Options™.
Said David Bacon, Crown’s head of sales:
“Norbar is a fascinating engineering company, with a wealth of history which far from keeping it in the past, provides a strong foundation from which they have built a flourishing business that caters for a range of different sectors.
“We are delighted to be helping Norbar on the next stage of its journey. We know that it’s people are considered the ‘source of its strength’ and that in order to foster input, involvement and teamwork, it places enormous emphasis on treating its workforce well.”
Tom Mawby-Groom, Norbar’s Financial Controller, said:
“Teaming up with Crown’s T&A system will save time and effort throughout the business by allowing us to automate the recording of employee overtime and absences, allowing the production managers to concentrate on their key strengths of producing high quality torque products as the company increases its exports throughout the world.”