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HR HERO:  Vieanna Austin, Safran USA, Inc. (SUSA)

Strengthening North American Operations with Unified HCM Solutions

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Safran USA, Inc. (SUSA) is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Safran Group. In the U.S., SUSA operates in 20 states through approximately 35 companies and with more than 5,000 employees. In December 2009, SUSA was tasked with the project of deploying a shared services environment, so the Shared Services Team, located in Grand Prairie, Texas, would provide HR support, payroll, benefits administration, legal services, risk management, tax compliance, and other administrative services to strengthen SUSA’s operations in North America.

Vieanna Austin, HR director for Safran USA, and her teams took on the responsibility of converting all subsidiary payrolls into one unified payroll solution that would be managed with a single location: UltiPro.

The project was ambitious with a deadline of less than a year, but the SUSA teams and its affiliates were dedicated to completing the project on time. Vienna managed to keep her teams collaborative and engaged, even working with them on the smallest details.

During the deployment, many other projects were running simultaneously. The group completed six plan-to-plan transfers to merge several separate subsidiary retirement plans into SUSA’s retirement and savings account plan, benefit plans, as well as completed the transition of an acquired group (with 700+ employees) into UltiPro.

Under Vieanna’s expert leadership, the teams worked with an “all-for-one” attitude, and this camaraderie enabled the team to meet all 10 go-live dates by the specified deadline.

Additionally, the company simultaneously activated UltiPro Time Management, Salary Planning and Budgeting, and Benefits Open Enrollment and then collaborated with Ultimate’s support to configure integrations with third-party vendors that provide health and welfare services.

Successful completion of the coinciding projects has allowed SUSA to become a “one-stop shop” for all of its subsidiaries. At the beginning of the project, SUSA was administering payroll and benefits for 900 employees. Now SUSA is administering payroll and benefits for more than 4,000 employees.

This immense accomplishment received accolades from the Safran Group in Paris and, because of its tremendous success, the shared service model will now be rolled out globally. Congratulations to Vieanna and the HR/payroll team for setting the bar for strategic company initiatives!