How a global R&D department succeeded with time registration

About Hempel

Hempel A/S founded in 1915, is a global supplier of coatings and services in the protective, marine, decorative, container and yacht industries. Hempel factories, R&D centres and stock points are established in every region and the headquarter is in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The company employs more than 6,300 people in more than 80 countries, has factories and research and development centres around the world. Hempel is solely owned by the Hempel Foundation, which supports cultural, humanitarian, and scientific causes around the world. Across the world, Hempel works with customers and research institutions to find new ways to solve existing problems.

From engineers in the labs to coating advisors onsite, Hempel aim is to deliver coating solutions that add value to their customer’s businesses – by protecting assets for longer, reducing maintenance costs and increasing efficiency.

The Challenge at Hempel R&D

Hempel R&D is a +350-person organization with a large number of people working with R&D across different projects and disciplines. This scales from product development, to customer support, maintenance of the existing product portfolio, cost profile management, providing support to factories and more. The complexity level of Hempel R&D is therefore much bigger than solely, new product development.

As a consequence, it has been difficult for management to look across the group and get a clear understanding of where time is invested, both in terms of projects and activities. Previously, Hempel had tried to run surveys and ask their employees at specific points in time, where they spend their time. And although useful, the results would only at best deliver a snapshot in time, and thus wasn’t satisfying enough.

This fed into a growing need and interest in becoming able to manage the resource spent in a better way – ultimately enabling better resource allocation decisions. A number of sites were already testing out time registration and Hempel R&D, therefore, took the opportunity to dive into this project, both to deliver a more unified and better experience for the employees and to provide managers with more insight and better visibility into where resources were being invested.

Andrew Solomon
Global Strategic Supplier Management
“Time for Teams is a simple way for our users to log time and a useful tool for managers to make more informed resource allocation decisions.”

Introducing Time for Teams

An important element of implementing a new time registration tool at Hempel R&D, was to clearly communicate the reasons for the implementation and maybe even more importantly; What weren’t the reasons. This tool was not supposed to represent a performance management platform, nor was it going to be used as some sort of control management tool. This was, on the other hand, going to improve the allocation of resources and eventually enable people to spend their time more efficiently and with more quality.

Another important factor, particularly to get the management on board, was to make it as easy as possible for all users and for the business in general.

A third part of the scope was finally to make it clear for everybody, what the actual goal with the implementation was. Thus adding the reporting and BI on top of the actual use. As Andrew reflects:

"Time registration in itself, doesn’t add value, but the decisions that come out of it is what ends up adding value.”

Having the scope clearly formulated, Hempel R&D was introduced to Time for Teams and it didn’t take too many considerations before Hempel R&D chose to implement the time registration tool, as it fulfilled all of Hempel’s needs and expectations.

Watch Andrew tell about Hempel’s experiences with Time for Teams

Rolling out time registration at Hempel R&D

Starting with user interviews, Hempel A/S sketched the user-experience alongside Projectum. The approach was very design-centric and agile, trying to understand user needs, ideating and sketching the solution, and testing it on an ongoing basis on some internal Hempel employees.

Once a ‘beta’ version was ready, Hempel conducted a small 30-person pilot across the regions to test and gain buy-in. It was important from a development standpoint to get the feedback at an early stage and by doing that, Hempel and Projectum managed to expose the new time registration tool to around 15% of the R&D group, securing a smoother and much more satisfactory implementation. The entire rollout took over the course of approximately one month.

What Hempel also found very helpful was the fact that Time for Teams could be customized to their particular needs. Time for Teams works as an out-of-the-box software, but Projectum additionally offers the possibility of customization and that helped Hempel R&D succeed with their time registration project on a much stronger foundation.

Reporting through Power BI

Once implemented, Hempel R&D quickly got all employees and managers on board. As the roll-out phase made it easier for people to both actively and mentally accept the change that was coming, they were also quick to adapt. The project team made sure to have open and transparent communication about the new tool and thus people were prepared.

The active use of any new tool is paramount, for actually getting the data to analyze. In Hempel’s case, this was not an issue at all.

Hempel A/S uses Power BI to manage the data coming out of Time for Teams and all managers across R&D have access to it. This means that managers can analyze data logged through the Time for Teams application via Power BI.

These reports enable managers to get a better understanding of where time is invested. Drilling into reports, they can break down the numbers to understand how time is spent by e.g. different business segments, departments, locations, periods, and so on. The detail level really helps Hempel R&D understand their business and the ongoing operations. And the possibility of doing reporting across the entire group is an incomparable advantage that has enabled the optimization of resource investments.

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