HR Digital Transformation for Food Distribution and Logistics Company, Nagel Langdons

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Nagel Langdons is a leading service provider of Food Distribution. They are part of Nagel-Group, the largest and most comprehensive food logistics network in Europe. Stratas has been working on an HR digital transformation project to change the way they work within the HR department.

As part of this project, we implemented M-Files, the intelligent information management platform. The platform enables the HR team to manage information more efficiently, keep data secure, and automate key HR processes. Phase 1 of the project involved getting the physical HR documents that were previously kept in filing cabinets put into M-Files. We then categorised these files using the M-Files intelligent metadata functionality.

We recently spoke with Liz Woods, HR Business Partner at Nagel Langdons, to explore the key benefits of the project. Liz has been in the role for 4 years and worked within a digital HR environment previously.

The Process for Managing HR Files Before the Project

Before the start of the project, the HR team kept over 1,500 employee files stored in filing cabinets. They had a training system that acted as a database for all of the scanned training records. However, duplicate documents were being kept in physical format as well as on the system. Some documents were kept in HR files with the payroll records, but there was also a substantial amount kept in filing cabinets. Consequently, whenever there was a request for information, it was a question of checking the training system, the filing cabinets, the payroll files, and even drawers within each employee’s desk. As a result, this involved quite a lot of trawling to find the correct information for queries.

“When I joined Nagel Langdons around 4 years ago, I was quite shocked at the amount of paper. In fact, we had 1500 employee files stored in filing cabinets.”

Liz Woods, HR Business Partner, Nagel Langdons

The Challenges Nagel Langdons Were Facing

The HR team were finding it increasingly difficult to locate important information. They are responsible for dealing with requests from the Health and Safety department, the Quality team in the event of food safety audits in the warehouses, or requests for information from the Risk department regarding insurance claims. Many functional areas rely on the team for records, often at very short notice and for legal issues.

Sourcing the necessary information typically involved several people running around trying to find it. It would take a significant amount of time to pull it from multiple places. As a result, the team were not as responsive as they hoped to be. They were not always confident that they had the right information, or if they were able to find it within the time scale.

COVID-19 brought even more challenges for the HR team. Throughout the pandemic, the HR, payroll, and training teams continued to answer day-to-day calls and deal with issues. However, they were able to get M-Files in place and their HR, training, and payroll files digitised beforehand. This helped to minimise disruption.

The Main Benefits of HR Digital Transformation

Instant Resolutions

The team can now provide instant resolution to phone queries by simply going into M-Files and searching for the information. Previously, they often had to put the customer on hold to head down the corridor to search through large filing cabinets. As a result, productivity and customer experience has improved greatly.

Better Customer Experience

Individuals now take ownership of requests rather than the entire team running around trying to find the information. This allows the rest of the team to focus on their work, which in turn enables a better customer experience. This new approach has given Nagel Langdons more credibility as a business, which contributes towards a positive reputation.

Remote Working

Importantly, the project equipped the business well for remote working. Now, the HR team can go into M-Files from their home office to have visibility of important documents. This has brought the team closer together, even though they have been working apart.

For a recent TUPE transfer, the team found it easy to get all of the files in one place. A task that previously involved laying out hundreds of documents on desks could now be done from home. Therefore, there was no need to go into the office. Those responsible were able to transfer data securely to the provider who was taking on the staff.

“It was great timing that Stratas helped us to digitise our HR files before we started working from home. With M-Files in place, if I need to find anything, I am now able to search for documents easily within M-Files. This has ensured that I am able to find information and make decisions a lot quicker, without having to disturb the rest of the team.”

Liz Woods, HR Business Partner, Nagel Langdons

Version History and Permissions

Nagel Langdons have also been analysing data for pay reviews. M-Files has supported this task as the platform enables the team to manage the document with full version history and set permissions.

Implementation and Stratas Support

Nagel Langdons embarked on the HR digitisation project prior to COVID-19. Stratas scanned and secured the files in the system beforehand, which put the company in a great position.

Initially, this was an IT-led project. However, at the start of the pandemic, they had to switch their priorities to preparing the team for remote working. Now, the team are looking forward to picking the project back up and integrating M-Files with their other business systems.

“We can honestly say our information is secure now. It is all in one place and we can be really efficient with our response to requests. The solution is great for remote working as we now know that all of our information is secure within M-Files and can be accessed instantly.”

Liz Woods, HR Business Partner, Nagel Langdons

Wider Business

The solution has had a positive impact on the wider business. Nagel Langdons now use M-Files to generate all of their contracts, storing them securely once they have been signed via DocuSign. At first, it was a big change as most people within the business were used to paper. Overall, people seem to have warmed to the transition to electronic processes. Furthermore, it seems more efficient and slicker for new starters, which contributes towards a positive reputation for the business.

The Future

We predict significant savings in both time and operational costs for Nagel Langdons. This will be achieved simply through streamlining more HR processes and cutting out duplicate work.  We are underway with Phase 2 on the roadmap which addresses staff off-boarding challenges. This will then be followed by automation of staff onboarding.

“We recommend the M-Files solution and Stratas as a digital transformation partner. The team have been lovely to work with and are always taking on board our views. Thanks to Stratas, Nagel Langdons is becoming a modern-thinking company that can keep up with the times.”

Liz Woods, HR Business Partner, Nagel Langdons