Crown Computing helps Tata-owned Brunner Mond improve staff safety at UK chemical plants

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Brunner Mond, part of Tata Chemicals, is to roll out Crown Computing's workforce management system, Open Options, across its two UK plants, which produce chemicals such as soda ash, sodium bicarbonate and calcium chloride.

Based on new electronic timeclocks and contactless ID badges, the system will replace existing paper-based processes for access control, clocking on and off, and activity tracking.

Open Options will give the company immediate visibility of the location of some 500 staff, 300 contractors and visitors across its two large sites in Cheshire.

In the event of a potential emergency, this will enable Brunner Mond to provide a much faster response, with detailed information about the number and location of employees in the affected areas. The incident response team will also be able to ascertain without delay whether or not all staff concerned have assembled at their respective muster points.

"Improving health and safety at our plants was the primary driver for rolling out Open Options," says Lesley Lightfoot, payroll and HR manager. "However, we are expecting to see many additional benefits, which will have a positive impact both on our employees' working lives and on our overall business efficiency."

Staff will be clocking in and out using their badges, with their time and attendance data being calculated and fed directly into the company's payroll systems. In this way, processes such as out-of-hours payments can be automated, cutting administration time and cost while ensuring staff are paid more quickly than previously possible.

Another area expected to benefit from automation is contractor billings. In the past, Brunner Mond had been unable to validate the number of hours the company was being billed for by its many outside contractors. Open Options will give contractor managers and the procurement team a transparent view of contractor movements, activities, and how much time they have actually spent on site.

Employees can access the system through the MyOptions web browser and request leave, check their remaining holiday allowance or view payment transactions. Line managers can use MyOptions to administer shift swaps, register absences and authorise leave or Time Off In Lieu. The system will also help avert breaches of regulations such as the Working Time Directive by alerting managers when employees approach the regulatory limit.

Asked about Brunner Mond's reasons for working with Crown Computing, Lesley Lightfoot states: "Out of all the systems we considered, Open Options addressed our key requirements in the most comprehensive way. But what is more, Crown Computing were able to show us a highly detailed and very realistic plan for rolling the system out."

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