CASE STUDY: Ahlstrom Nonwovens, LLC
- Staying on top of labor costs and workforce analytics in a changing economy
- Scaling its workforce to meet market demands
- Reducing overall HCM costs with cloud technology
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COMPANY PROFILEAhlstrom Nonwovens is a global leader in the development, manufacture, and marketing of high performance fiber-based materials. Founded in 1851, the company’s nonwovens and specialty papers are used in a large variety of everyday products, such as filters, medical gowns and drapes, wallcovers, flooring, labels, and food packaging. Ahlstrom’s employees serve customers in more than 28 countries on six continents.
THE CHALLENGESAhlstrom’s U.S. offices had been using an AS400 solution. However, the company found its HR and payroll teams needed greater Web-based functionality and more personalized customer support for its workforce.
THE SOLUTIONWith 1,300 employees based in the U.S. and many business areas under its umbrella, Ahlstrom’s decision-making team selected Ultimate because of the company’s superior reputation for customer service. Key factors in the decision included UltiPro’s easily configurable HCM features, its quick and flexible reporting, and convenient 24-7 access for administrators and employees in Ahlstrom’s locations throughout the U.S.
Manufacturers must constantly monitor labor costs and related workforce metrics so they can rapidly adjust their processes and labor forces when demand for products change. With UltiPro, organizations can drill down into point-in-time data for meaningful business analytics that is required for both short- and long-term planning.
“It's important for me respond quickly to information requests from senior management,” said Sharon Camody, HRIS manager, North America for Ahlstrom. "With UltiPro, I regularly build tailored reports to address specific questions related to critical issues, such as manpower expenses or productivity. I also may need to provide breakdowns of data by state, business area, or product line."
"With our previous provider, it was impossible for me to provide the quantity or quality of business intelligence reports that I can build today with UltiPro and without assistance from IT. Management appreciates the ability to give them what they need when they need it.”
Reporting is critical for businesses that must quickly adapt to fluctuations in their industry. Ahlstrom’s HR/payroll team is using UltiPro to manage increases and decreases in its workforce when necessary. In the past five years, for example, Camody has managed seven acquisitions. UltiPro’s flexibility and reporting capabilities have helped the HR team manage these labor changes and rapidly get back to business as usual after the change.
“UltiPro has helped drive our organization toward more standardized business rules and processes throughout the company. It allows us to easily apply these same rules to new business areas that are added to the system,” said Camody. “UltiPro is flexible enough to get newly acquired companies up and running in a short amount of time while providing them with the autonomy to update their data in the system moving forward.”
Another factor that most businesses contend with is controlling costs. Ahlstrom is saving significant time and resources with delivery of UltiPro through Ultimate’s SaaS model—eliminating the need to purchase and install hardware, invest in an upfront software license, or dedicate internal IT staff to projects.
“UltiPro provides my shared services team and our remote HR and payroll administrators with quick access to comprehensive HCM functionality without our IT resources having to support the solution,” said Camody. “With our old system, upgrades were cumbersome. UltiPro gives us more flexibility in scheduling upgrades, and we appreciate having these upgrades applied transparently without relying on our internal IT team. Moving to Ultimate’s cloud technology is one of the best business decisions we’ve made.”