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Article Customer reference - LINET

Customer reference - LINET

Interviews continues with a discussion with Vladimíra Michnová from the company LINET, focusing on the implementation of SAP SuccessFactors and our collaboration.

The LINET Group is involved in the manufacturing of hospital and nursing beds and other medical products. It has approximately 2,000 employees worldwide and 19 subsidiaries. We spoke with LINET Group's Vice President of Human Resources, Vladimíra Michnová, about how to manage such a large group from an HR perspective and how systems like SAP SuccessFactors support this.

Describe your role in the company?

I am responsible for human resources and organizational management for the entire LINET Group. My role is to support the business strategy and to also prepare HR strategies and collaborate with the entities where those strategies are implemented.

How big is the department you oversee?

It is quite diversified; I have a team of four people who essentially work with me. We handle recruitment, training, internal communication, and performance management across the entire group.

Success Day conference focuses on the digitalization of HR processes. How important is digitalization for LINET?

LINET has long had a reputation for innovation in the market. It's not just innovation in products but also in the approach to digitalization. We started with digitalization long before COVID. In the HR area, we were prepared to react quickly because most things were already online. Both the owners and the top management strongly support digitalization. From our perspective, digitalization has several aspects. We consider it one of our pillars that will push the company forward long-term. This includes both automation and robotization, as well as digitalization, which brings some optimization and efficiency to standard processes, not just in HR.

When it comes to HR processes, what was important to you when choosing the solution LINET uses?

The start was quite interesting. Initially, we wanted to introduce just a Learning module for training, including customer training. During the selection process, we encountered world-leading companies specializing in Learning. But thanks to that, our eyes were opened, and we realized that Learning could allow us to look at HR in a more diversified way and find a platform that would suit us. At that time, we were only discussing it. Finally, we found a solution we could use not just for HR but also to support human resources across the entire group.

What solution did you choose?

We chose SAP SuccessFactors because we were deciding to change our ERP system to SAP Hana at that time. It seemed logical in terms of further integration.

Where do you see the main benefits of SuccessFactors? What has changed with the implementation?

A lot of things have changed. For example, the approach of teams to how they can influence, set, change, and manage processes, and how they can collaborate with colleagues worldwide. Each digitalization and automation also places demands on people's capacity and administration. Implementation opened our eyes to how far we want to go, what it means for us, and what direction to take in changing certain processes. We expected it to bring savings, which it did, especially in repetitive manual processes. This compensated for the effort required to maintain the system's data. We are now in a phase where we're finishing a data cube that generates interesting results not only for us in HR but primarily for business, which is key to ensuring we're on the right track.

Choosing an implementation partner is a major decision. What were your requirements?

Initially, we wanted flexibility and the ability to bring knowledge from a non-Czech environment. It was a question of whether to choose a larger foreign supplier or a smaller Czech team. We decided to go with a Czech company, Success Solutions, and it paid off.

If you were to mentor companies considering a new solution, what would you advise them to prepare for?

I would start by making a Business Case and carefully calculating the return on investment. The key to successfully defending any system is connecting with key partners who influence the entire process. I would recommend first finding out if there's willingness and interest among those who primarily influence the business. If you have that support, you have a better chance of success. If these key people tell you they need it, you're more likely to quantify the system's future benefits accurately.

Looking back, would you do anything differently? Any lessons learned from the process?

The lesson is that the whole process is quite resource-intensive. You have to learn a lot to implement the system and then pass it on to the key people responsible for adoption. It definitely pays to have key user employees for implementing specific modules in the system. The process is time-consuming, and I would probably plan the resources we had more carefully from the start, and perhaps I would have fought for additional support.

Your presentation today focused on education. What does education mean to the LINET Group?

Apart from the typical education, development, and standard professional development for employees, which is part of the Learning module, we're also talking about the external training needs. In our case, we found out that through our HR system, we could offer training and education to our distributors, service partners, and customers, enabling them to better understand the product due to regulatory and certification requirements. There are many advantages. If set up correctly, it can also generate revenue.

Going beyond technical solutions, what is your view on education in the context of reskilling?

I would rather call it upskilling. Digitalization places demands on everyone to learn a completely new approach. Many products gain new usage tied to digitalization. Products now communicate electronically. In LINET, we talk about "e-health" - solutions for smart rooms. These things require upskilling. You need to determine what kind of people you need to work in such an environment. That's the basic question - to determine what kind of salespeople and sales support you need, and how the company can support them in this regard. Part of every company will need retraining, which will be a 100% necessity.

Before COVID, online education was rare. How does online learning fit into your structure now?

We already used online education before COVID. It wasn't feasible to bring our service partners from Brazil five times a year; it was financially and time-consuming for both sides. We used online internally and externally, and now we've expanded that with webinars and interactive training. COVID showed it was possible. It wasn't a wow moment for us, but it allowed us to speed things up. We realized that everything could be integrated into the system. A hybrid format is the best for the future.

What are your future plans for the current solution and generally?

We focus on three areas. The first is to fully streamline the process, not just for HR. We aim to integrate where we can, ensuring everything flows smoothly with minimal human intervention. We're focusing on efficiency and simplicity. We've implemented and integrated attendance and payroll systems in France, and we're planning for the UK. It's also working in the US, where onboarding is quite complex because each state has its requirements. The second part of our plan involves reporting, where we link systems into a data cube, allowing us to perform analysis without burdening an army of controllers. The third part is quite developmental. We're starting to work on the Succession Planning module, including Talent Management. We're addressing how to work with the Compensation module and connect it to some payroll systems.

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