Riordan Manufacturing was founded in 1991 by Michael Riordan with an initial focus on the licensing of existing patents, research and development. Today they are looked at as a leader in the plastic injection field. They have received international acclaim in for their works. As a Fortune 1000 enterprise they offer state of the art plastic design through its facilities. They currently are head quartered in San Jose with additional plants in Albany, Pontiac and Hangzhou. (Apollo, 2006)
Riordan currently uses HRIS for its HR duties, which is part of their financial package. HRIS has the ability to keep track of pay rates, personal information, exemptions, hire date, organizational information and vacation hours. Currently, all changes must be submitted by the employees in writing on special forms and entered by the payroll clerk located at the corporate headquarters. Currently, the system is complicated and disconnected. Training and development are kept in a excel spreadsheet by the training specialist. This method is not only cumbersome, but non-secure. Additionally, each recruiter keeps maintains their own applicant information in a central non-digital storage along with tracking applicants in an excel spread sheet. Information regarding grievances and harassment complaints are kept locked in the employee relations specialists offices.
Riordan is in need of a system that will pull all of the facets of HR into one central location. This should be a secure system requiring a secured login to protect sensitive information that is currently being manually stored and locked. Once the new system is in place, these assistants will be able to focus on up keeping and entering information freeing the managers to focus on the employees themselves.
To resolve these inefficiencies, it will be important that as much information as possible is gathered. A review of the current organizational charts would give an understanding of how separate departments function as well as giving an idea of key individuals that will need to be interviewed. Additionally, a review would be made of the documentation of the current system. This gives a better understanding of how the current system is meant to function. Since most of the functions are currently done manually, it is expected much of the forms and documentations will not be up to date. Gathering this information will help in the decision of which forms should be modified and which eliminated. The forms also serve as an important tool when conducting interviews.
As one of the primary means of gaining information, interviews would begin with key personnel in each of the locations to gain a better understanding of the individual requirements of each location. Additional interviews with end users will take place to gain an idea of operations and to highlight ways improvements can be made to their job. It will be important to also conduct follow-up interviews with stakeholders to ensure continued success of the project. Conducting end user surveys is an additional way to gather information regarding concerns and requirements not previously addressed. These questionnaires have the added benefit of allowing the gathering of information from many people who may be scattered across the company’s various geographic locations. These surveys will be given key users directly involved with the new system to get a better picture of what the workers feel will streamline their department and increase productivity. By also conducting additional surveys with other employees, information can be gained on what features they feel would make their jobs easier and what information they would like to have accessible to them through the new system.
Observation of the current system and process will be an important part of the fact finding phase. Watching the system in action will give an additional view point and understanding of the current system procedures. This also gives the opportunity to verify statements given in interviews and ensure everything is as described. Observation of the systems and its workers is vital to understanding what occurs in the current process.
A prototype of the proposed system will allow all involved to get the look and the feel of the new system. The prototype will be focused and easily modified. JAD sessions will be another important part of information gathering. This will allow all the important stakeholders to be present with the opportunity to contribute and make decisions. Actual participants would vary by sessions. Riordan is a very large organization, with four facilities, one of them being overseas. This can make it a challenge to gather information correctly and quickly. This also adds the additional challenge of putting information and resources into a central location. The scope is to implement this central system and implement it into a unified process while increasing efficiency and reducing costs. It is the desire of Riordan to “take advantage of a more sophisticated, state-of-the art, information systems technology in our Human Resources department” (Apollo, 2006). The integrated more sophisticated system will reduce labor costs and provide a more user friendly environment which will reduce errors. The data would be in a shared environment so only authorized personal have access, which means a big step up for the company security wise. The automation of routine reports and functions will also save the company time and money and allow management to have instant automated access to important information needed to make companywide decisions. A scope management plan will need to be developed. This document will include the work required to complete the project and will be communicated to the project team.
Currently, the systems across the plants are not compatible and revisions of the system are a priority. The investigation into the feasibility of the project has proven this is a necessary and feasible undertaking. The project constraints consist of project completion by the second quarter of next year. The allocated budget for the project is $150,000. Reviews will be utilized to ensure successful rollout throughout the process. Equally important to data integration and the building of the new system are the financial benefits to Riordan. The elimination of unnecessary labor reduces labor costs as well as the reduction in errors. The project feasibility is further strengthened by the current lack of security of sensitive data.
An integrated system will provide a greater overall benefit to the organization. This integrated system will result in less redundant data entry, improved data integrity and less overall job training costs. In designing the architecture of the system, it will be important to address the system functionality, ensure that it is secure and protects both the application and the business, that it is stable, manageable and maintainable. In designing the system, it will be very important to also consider the requirements: high performance, scalable and expandable, consistent, easy integration with other systems and minimal resource usage.
The plan would be to design the system using a distributed architecture. This design would include all the elements that would be required to develop a more centralized system. The corporate office would be the best location for the centralized system. A windows based system would be the recommended option as it is compatible, tested and has the proper support. This software would also include an automated backup system.
A human resources management system should be considered that will meet the requirements. Microsoft Dynamics is an all in one solution with proven support that would meet all of Riordan’s needs. It will provide a centralized solution for viewing and managing personnel data such as pay stubs, training histories. It will automate organizing human resource processes, eliminate many time consuming clerical tasks and will provide human resources with powerful tools for employee management.
Microsoft Dynamics will also give the employees many options. They will now have the ability to access information regarding their accrued time off, benefits, payroll and more. Some of the other important solutions it will deliver are; payroll, benefits, training, compliance and reporting and analysis. It also has the ability to include other solutions in the future if needed easily, such as customer relations.
A wireless network will be setup in each location with the servers located in the main office. This will allow the networking of the main office and other facilities. An important part of the upgrade will be a central database. Automation will be needed rather than relying on input from individuals while also increasing efficiency and productivity.
The installation of a wireless connection will be worth the costs as workers will become far more efficient. Communications will be much easier company wide as workers have more efficient access to electronic communications. Additionally, steps should be taken to better link the existing networks. Using a ring system would allow them to share resources throughout the network, reduce Internet connection costs, improve data connections, and allow not only for cross site data access, but printing as well.
The development of the company intranet will also allow for better ease of company resources. The intranet will be secured, not only through software to protect it from outside intrusions, but also through the use of individual passwords. When logging in to the intranet with their specific password, users will only have access to information relevant to them, a much more secure system then the filing cabinets currently in place which are unsecure and easily assessable.
The intranet will allow for different levels of accessibility and put all necessary information in one place while also reducing materials costs and waste. Employees will be able to easily update personal information, access training materials, view procedural handbooks, communicate, and submit information to other departments right from the company Intranet. The company Intranet will not only make human resource tasks more efficient but it will also improve the efficiencies of other departments. The current company intranet is useful, but to reach its full potential updates should be made. Only basic information is available to users and there is no interactivity. By including modules available through the new human resources software, Riordan will be able to give users the ability to not only read available materials but contribute as well. The addition of forms and interactive trainings will keep the intranet basic and easy to use while vastly increasing overall company efficiency and security.
Currently, Riordan maintains an HR system that already includes some employee information as well as manually maintained Excel documents. This till make the transition of data much easier. Adding to it the ease of transition is Excel is a widely used program compatible with most platforms making the data contained in the spread sheets easily transferrable. Data will be stored in the new data base and easily accessible from employee workstations. For example, human resource personnel from each site will be able to enter information directly from their workstation to the payroll module.
The data will be secured and some parts password protected for added security to sensitive information. Employees will be able to login to the system through the company intranet using their password and access relevant data such as pay rate, benefits, accrued vacation time and performance reviews. They will also have interactive forms allowing them to change their personal information, request vacation time or even request help desk services.
The results from the design phase will now be passed to the next phase, implementation. During this phase we have a number of activities to perform before the system is deployed. Among these activities are; program coding, testing, installation, documentation and training. After deployment we will also be doing system support.
The first step in this implementation phase is coding. During this phase the software will be installed and then the installation of specific modules for benefits and administration and human resource management. Because of the existence of multiple sub systems which all need integration, there will be multiple developers working on the system at the same time. Once this is completed managers and human resource professionals will need to enter the necessary data. Although time consuming, the entering of the information is vital for system success.
Once this has taken place, the systems will be brought online. Top down development will be used, meaning we will start at the top of the system with the highest level of functionality and work our way down. Integration testing will begin and allow for the testing of how all the multiple modules work together. If any compatibility issues are found between the modules they can be corrected at this point. Once this has been completed, system testing can begin. Developers can check the system for bugs and ensure the system meets user requirements. QA personnel will perform performance tests to validate system response and throughout requirements. Performance will be looked at during each stage to determine any performance issues which may need to be addressed.
Installation will take place in phases. The primary component is the database that will include personnel and department information. Independent subsystems will be added one at a time after initial installation. After the entire system is up and testing has been completed the old system will be taken down.
The procedures that have been performed along with results from testing, flow charts created and other required documents will be retained for inclusion in the final system documentation. These will be converted to PDF format and stored for access on the company intranet. This will assist in future maintenance as well as helping future developers in design change and upgrade.
Some user documentation is included with Microsoft Dynamics and will be reviewed and further developed for completeness. End user guides will also be developed and be accessible through the company intranet. FAQs will be developed along with common procedure instructions. As system updates are made documentation will be upgraded accordingly. Clear and complete user end documentation and tools will minimize the amount of training and support for the system.
Even though these documents will be provided, training for the new system will need to be provided. This will give users a better understanding of the new system and allow them to work more efficiently. Documentation for the new system will be provided to users, primarily the HR department and the users that currently maintain the excel spreadsheets. Site seminars will take place along with hands on training that will give them a chance to use the system in a test environment while also allowing for user feedback.
All employments will receive information on how they may now update their information on the new system as well as how to use the system to view important information. Simple instructions will be provided to employees who may visit with HR personal that attended the seminars if they need additional help using the new system.
Current help desk and technical personnel will be trained for the ongoing support of the system. This training will include system installation, configuration, operation, maintenance and troubleshooting tips. User will be able to contact the help desk through a support ticket request on the company intranet should end user problems arise.
The activities of the implementation phase are considered part of a defined and repeatable process. Defining the successful project for development and documenting the process allows you to repeat the process and gives a structured approach to design management. Having a defined and repeatable process will assist the project managers by having defined activities taking place at defined times during the process. This helps to ensure no steps are skipped.