Sharda Motor Uses IT to Streamline HR Processes

The company’s CIO leverages a Cloud-based human capital management (HCM) platform to redefine the recruitment and onboarding of employees and managing their performance.
Key Learnings
  • The core team involved in the project must have process knowledge. Kaushik ensured that the functional head of the project was someone who had in-depth understanding of the HR processes while the IT department supported through its technical expertise.
  • Master data cleaning has to be a priority. This is the most crucial factor in deciding the success of the project. The HR data fed into the new platform has to be cleaned and carefully checked. Kaushik took as long as six months to complete this process.
  • While there are many exceptional point solutions (also referred to as best-of-breed) solutions for the many different aspects of HCM, it is generally far more impactful to adopt an end-to-end HCM platform.

The Challenge

Sharda Motor Industries Ltd. (SMIL), established in 1986, is an auto-ancillary firm. The company operates 10 production facilities and provides a wide range of products and services, ranging from emission and suspension systems to roof systems and supply chain management solutions.

The auto component manufacturer had over 5000 people in its workforce, but lacked an integrated HR platform to manage day-to-day human resource processes. Instead, there were multiple applications, some of them homegrown, across the 10 manufacturing facilities. These disparate applications neither had full records of employees nor proper service support.

“The HR applications, specific to each plant, posed a big bottleneck for processes such as recruiting and onboarding employees and managing their performance. To streamline these processes, we decided to undertake HR transformation,” says Dinesh Kaushik, Head-IT, SMIL.

End-to-End Human Capital Management Platform

Kaushik chose to deploy Darwinbox, a Cloud-based, HCM platform that automates day-to-day HR processes. The project was initiated in April 2020 and went live in November 2020.

The biggest challenge in rolling out the solution was of managing and scrutinising 500 GB of HR master data spread over multiple systems. Collating incomplete profile data from the existing disparate HR systems, updating it, and then checking it before uploading it to the new solution took six months.

“We nominated a person from corporate HR as the functional project head while our IT team was available from the technical standpoint. The data collection was the mandate of the functional head, which was done using Excel,” Kaushik said.

While Darwinbox was a plug-and-play solution, Kaushik undertook some customisation.

“We didn’t have to change our IT infrastructure. We only had to plug into the AWS Cloud and make their IP trusted in our environment. However, we integrated attendance capturing with the face-recognition machine,” says Kaushik.

The platform has 700 white-collar employees and 300 blue-collar workers. All employees can access the application from anywhere, anytime.

The platform offers end-to-end HR operations management. Its modules include onboarding, employee engagement, talent management, recruitment and more.

Transforming HR Processes

With the implementation, SMIL was able to automate several steps in the hiring process and also significantly reduced the employee onboarding time.

Kaushik says, “The platform’s dynamic nature allows it to automatically review and recommend the best match, significantly reducing the manual work involved in bulk hiring. It also enables seamless interview scheduling with calendar integration and candidate tracking at every stage of the recruitment process.”

Sharda also streamlined its onboarding process. “During my hiring process, I submitted physical documents after the interview. Now the candidates can submit all their documents online, which then directly go for third-party verification. This has reduced turn-around time. Now policies have been defined for every role. For instance, senior management has to be onboarded in 45 days while profiles up to the manager level have to be onboarded in 15 days otherwise, notifications are raised. Earlier, it could take as long as 50-60 days to onboard a senior manager,” says Kaushik.

One of the key benefits Sharda sought was to improve the quality and consistency of employee appraisals. The inclusion of a performance management module within the Darwinbox was considered especially beneficial.

“The platform offers the flexibility to appraise employees across the organisation in real-time on a unified platform, which is a game-changer. Employees can track their performance seamlessly with the option of requesting and giving feedback. The voice-enabled feedback feature allows comments to be provided without the need for a keyboard,” Kaushik says.

Darwinbox also provides managers with the flexibility to view a performance cycle dashboard of all their reportees, with a single view of their status and the ability to take actions.

IBRS has noted that many organisations adopt HCM solutions in a fragmented manner. The fragmentation was only made worse between 2005 and 2015 as many point solutions for different functions of employee management and training were introduced by emerging Cloud-native vendors. This fragmentation led to increased operations costs and poor employee experience. In the IBRS advisor paper, Human Capital Management Solutions: Why Your ICT Group Needs to Get Involved with HR Right Now, IBRS recommended organisations adopt a platform approach to HCM, which is what Sharda has successfully accomplished.

The current version of Darwinbox deployed at SMIL doesn’t offer AI capabilities. “We will be leveraging the AI capabilities of the platform in the next phase,” says Kaushik, without specifying a timeframe for the same.

Future Plans

SMIL has a hybrid infrastructure. The majority of its applications, such as Microsoft Dynamics, Active Directories, backup and security apps, are hosted in the CtrlS data centre. The company also has a research and development (R&D) centre that runs engineering apps through an on-prem data centre to safeguard crucial patents granted to the company.

“Microsoft Dynamics has approached end-of-life. We are therefore planning to roll out SAP S/4HANA by 1 April 2025. We will roll this out and integrate it with Darwinbox for expense management.

Kaushik is also enhancing the company’s cyber security posture and has plans to deploy network access control (NAC), security information and event management (SIEM) and zero trust network access (ZTNA).

Additional Readings

Company Details

Dinesh Kaushik

Dinesh Kaushik, Head-IT, SMIL. Focuses on managing projects for multinational companies and small businesses, which have led to implement several systems of software, as well as, develop many innovative projects.

Company Name: Sharda Motor Industries Ltd.

Vertical: Manufacturing

Revenue: USD 360 million approx.

Total Employees: 5000

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