Ahlstrom Case Study | Reporting, Business Intelligence, SaaS

Ahlstrom Nonwovens, LLC

Key Benefits

  • Staying on top of labor costs and workforce analytics in a changing economy
  • Creating standardized business rules and processes for new business units that are being added to the company
  • Achieving range of hard- and soft-cost savings with cloud-based HCM technology

Number of Employees

  • 1,600

Company Profile

Ahlstrom 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 Challenges

Ahlstrom’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 Solutions

With 1,600 employees based in the U.S. and many business areas under its umbrella, Ahlstrom’s decision-making team selected Ultimate Software 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 dispersed locations across 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 real-time data for meaningful business analytics — a crucial factor for both short- and long-term planning.

“It’s important for us respond quickly to information requests from senior management,” said Sharon Camody, HRIS manager at Ahlstrom Nonwovens. “With UltiPro, we regularly build tailored reports to address specific questions related to critical issues, such as manpower expenses or productivity. We also may need to provide breakdowns of data by state, business area, or product line.”

“With our previous provider, it was impossible to deliver the quantity or quality of business intelligence reports that we can now build with UltiPro — and without having to rely on our IT resources. Executives and managers appreciate our ability to quickly 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 to rapidly manage these kinds of labor changes.

“UltiPro has helped drive our organization create standardized business rules and processes throughout the company, and we can easily apply these same rules to new business areas that are being added to the solution,” said Camody.

“UltiPro is flexible enough to get newly acquired companies up and running in a short amount of time while providing each with the ease of use and autonomy to update their own data.”

Another factor that most businesses contend with is controlling costs. Ahlstrom Nonwovens is saving significant time and resources by eliminating the need to purchase and install hardware, invest in an upfront software license, or dedicate internal IT resources to a range of projects.

“UltiPro provides our shared services team and our remote HR and payroll administrators with quick access to comprehensive, cohesive HCM functionality without our IT teams 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 resources. Moving to Ultimate’s cloud technology is one of the best business decisions we’ve made.”