West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service has made end-user involvement a priority during the roll-out of a new £500,000 human resources system.
The SAP system is hosted centrally and serves HR functions at 49 fire stations, allowing employees to update their own personal details, saving time when inputting data.
The system, implemented with the help of service partner EPI-USE, also allows better planning of fire service staffing, as each station can see who is available in other areas when requiring cover for sickness or holidays.
Before the system went live in May this year, the fire service relied on a number of ad-hoc processes for managing staff, such as paper, Excel spreadsheets and stand-alone Access databases. This meant station staff had to call around the area to find cover from other stations.
Martyn Redfearn, senior operations policy officer at the fire service, said because the new systems required less data input, it had allowed two HR staff to be redeployed elsewhere in the organisation. “It will pay for itself in the long term,” he said.
To avoid the project becoming tied-up with with national industrial relations problems over a new duty system, bringing fire station staff into the project from the beginning was essential, Redfearn said.
“We involved end-users, even in the product selection process. Before we bought the new system we looked at our processes and started to streamline them.”
The users who were involved in the project subsequently went on to train other staff within the organisation and promote the system’s benefits.
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This was first published in July 2006