Retail solutions provider Smollan has once again looked to CRS Technologies to provide a payroll solution for its African operation.
Founded in 1931, Smollan is a retail solutions company that delivers growth for retailers and brand owners across five continents, covering every aspect of how brands are managed in retail environments through the creation and execution of leading solutions in advisory, sales and retail execution, marketing solutions, technology and e-commerce. Internationally recognised for its exceptional human platform of more than 80 000 people and its sophisticated systems, Smollan drives sales and creates brilliant shopper experiences for some of the world’s most loved brands.
With a strong footprint in sub-Saharan Africa and growing businesses in North Africa, Smollan is able to offer its clients retail solutions across key markets on the continent.
“We originally chose the CRS payroll solution for its flexibility, ease of transactions and history recording capability, and had been running it successfully since 2000,” relates Milana Pretorius, Finance Executive: Operations at Smollan. “By 2017, however, we found the system to be cumbersome, outdated and unable to offer the ‘new millennium’ functionality we were looking for, such as deployment to a mobile device.”
Post discussions, Smollan was delighted to discover that CRS was in the process of undergoing a complete makeover, which included putting a fresh, innovative strategic outlook in place.
“The payroll solution still offers the same reliable and robust functionality, but new enhancements were on the cards that completely aligned with Smollan’s future payroll functionality requirements,” says Pretorius.
The rollout and implementation of a brand new CRS system, with a fresh new look and feel, together with modules that Smollan hadn’t previously utilised, and a new custom-designed Smollan payslip, began in January 2019, but with an extremely tight deadline.
“Instead of the standard four-to-six-month implementation, Smollan needed to be up and running within ten weeks to coincide with the start of the new financial year,” says CRS General Manager Ian McAlister. “This meant the joint implementation teams had to work long hours, late into the nights and throughout weekends.”
“To roll out a payroll solution the size of Smollan’s operation takes real dedication, but the commitment of our internal team, together with the support we received from CRS, was phenomenal,” Pretorius adds.
“The fact that the Smollan team was already familiar with the CRS system meant that very little education was required from our side, which facilitated a speedy implementation,” McAlister continues. “They knew and understood the principles and processes and there was a strong willingness and determination from both sides to meet the deadline and make it work. Additionally, the staff were looking forward to going back to the CRS system, which also made things easier.”
Pulling out all the stops, the team succeeded in meeting all critical expectations by March, and all staff were paid accurately and on time at month-end.
Following the South African rollout, CRS has begun implementing its payroll solution for all the African and UAE countries in which Smollan has a presence – Botswana, Dubai, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Rwanda, Swaziland, Zambia.
“We’re currently exploring the analytics and reporting functionality of the CRS system and are looking forward to implementing the myWorkday app, which will be integrated with our internal capturing system, Smollan Mobile Finance, to further enhance data accuracy, ease of use and creating efficiencies” Pretorius adds. “Smollan has been operating since 1931 and this will mark the first time employees will be able to view their details online. Others may regard this as inconsequential, but for us it’s a huge milestone.”
“We appreciate that Smollan has restored its faith in CRS. Our system now forms the central point of employee data and has become the go-to data source for most of the employee functions performed by the company,” says McAlister. “We intend to continue enhancing the system to enable us to roll out new functionality within the Smollan environment.”