Change to TimeControl Keeps WHP Engineering on Pace with Growth
“The fact that I can see what projects people are spending their hours on and what they’re delivering for those hours is crucial..." says WHP Engineering Manager"
WHP Engineering is a company on the move. Since 2017, the U.K.-based engineering specialist — which delivers precision engineered solutions for the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and other clean process and manufacturing industries — has seen its sales grow by 135 percent, increased its workforce to more than 100 employees, and moved operations to a new 26,000-square-foot facility in Gateshead.
Improved performance is key to the company’s aggressive growth strategy and when it comes to managing time, WHP needed better insight into “who’s doing what, for which project” at any particular point in order to ensure maximum efficiency, said WHP Engineering Manager John Wheeler.
“We were using a homegrown, very outdated project tracking system on an unsupported version of Microsoft SharePoint®,” said Wheeler. “Not only were we running at risk, but the software didn’t do what we wanted it to do, in terms of recording time against projects and giving us the metrics needed to improve our effectiveness, efficiency and productivity as we grow.”
An investigation of available timekeeping solutions led WHP to the TimeControl® multipurpose timesheet platform published by HMS Software. As a design and build firm responsible for a range of engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning activities, WHP was looking to take a much more detail-oriented approach to its timekeeping activities.
In particular, the company required a web-based solution supported by a mobile app that could seamlessly share information with Sage® enterprise management software and Oracle Primavera® P6 project scheduling software — and TimeControl delivered.
“The system we had created in SharePoint was more of a big bucket approach. It told us that an employee worked 20 hours on a project, but it didn’t tell us what was delivered for that 20 hours,” said Wheeler.
Unprecedented timekeeping capabilities
With TimeControl, WHP gained the ability to record task-based time across disciplines and departments, using timesheets tailored to each group. The software runs on a dedicated Microsoft Server managed by an outsourced IT services provider and is routinely used by employees in Engineering, Finance, Procurement, Project Services, Health and Safety, and Sales and Marketing, as well as by the Senior Management Team, workshop employees and on-site construction teams.
Employees have the flexibility to enter their time data on a desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone, logging in with the same user ID they were already using to access WHP corporate systems, including email. If an employee didn’t already have a user ID, an account was immediately created.
Most importantly, because TimeControl is tightly integrated with both Sage and Primavera, “employees now have the ability to record time against project deliverables so we know the exact spend per deliverable,” said Wheeler, explaining that for a process engineer, a deliverable might be a data sheet, calculation, drawing or process and instrumentation diagram.
“If we’ve said we’re going to produce 20 diagrams and each one will take 10 hours, we can monitor to ensure we don’t spend more than 200 hours, and if we under-spend, we can establish a new time estimate going forward,” he added.
Ease of use a major benefit
After a small test pilot within its Engineering group, WHP went live company-wide with TimeControl in January, 2019. To help ensure a smooth transition to the software, each business unit was assigned a “super user,” an employee who received extra training from HMS Software and who is now called upon to handle day-to-day queries that may crop up. Four TimeControl administrators were also appointed to oversee and approve timekeeping activities, and run business reports based on timekeeping data.
Ease of use is perhaps the most satisfying benefit to date, said Wheeler. Finance staff, for example, are using the exception report feature within TimeControl to identify and send reminders to employees who don’t complete their timesheets on time. In general, users like the way TimeControl prompts them to complete all entry fields on a timesheet, and the fact that they can type in additional ad-hoc comments when applicable.
“We typically work a 7.5-hour day so if an employee logs 10 hours, they might write a note to say three hours of that was driving time,” said Wheeler. “Or, depending on their role, they might be entitled to overtime pay and TimeControl automatically makes the adjustment when sending a summary to Finance.”
High level of business metrics key
Heading into its next phase of growth, WHP will be relying on TimeControl to support its transformation as it rapidly expands. Wheeler calls the software a “much slicker, much more efficient approach” that collates critical business information automatically, in a manner that facilitates good decision-making.
“The fact that I can see what projects people are spending their hours on and what they’re delivering for those hours is crucial,” he said. “If we hadn’t made the change to TimeControl, we certainly wouldn’t have the level of key business metrics that we’re getting now. We’re quickly realizing that we can do a lot more with our timekeeping data than we ever have.”
For more information about WHP Engineering, please contact whp-engineering.com/.