Tillomed Laboratories specialises in the licensing, marketing and supply of generic pharmaceutical products to hospitals, wholesalers and pharmacists nationwide, in a cost-effective and timely manner.
Operating since 1991, Tillomed’s comprehensive range of products covers most major therapeutic areas. Their large temperature controlled MHRA approved warehouse currently accommodates over 900 product lines. The company is situated in Luton, Bedfordshire, UK.
Sonia Jenkins is the HR Manager for Tillomed’s UK team and all its European subsidiaries. Before she joined the company in 2017, Tillomed did not have a dedicated HR team in place and annual leave requests needed to be made through paper forms which had to be signed by department managers.
This was one of the first issues that Sonia had to overcome in her first few months in the role. “It was a nightmare” she explains. “Staff would fill out their annual leave request on paper forms which would then be transferred onto cards. The process was extremely time consuming and the paper forms were taking up unnecessary space in the office. As I was already busy implanting new policies, processes and processes elsewhere in the company, I needed a tool that would assist me with the management of the annual leave requests, allowing me to focus on my other tasks.”
Sonia started searching online for various HR management systems but none suited the criteria she was looking for, with each system often being too expensive or too complicated to use. It was during this search that she discovered AnnualLeave.com. Neil McKeever, AnnualLeave.com’s Head of Sales, contacted her and showed her a demo of the product, outlining how its cloud-based system streamlined the entire annual leave process. “AnnualLeave.com cuts request processing times, monitor staff leave trends, track absenteeism and maintains compliance” Neil explains. “As well as that, with no installation fee, a self-managed system and a low monthly fee, it is the most cost-effective solution available on the market today.”
Sonia was delighted with what she saw as it was exactly what she was looking for, a great product with excellent customer service and system support. “Neil was so helpful in his approach, always ready to answer any questions I had. That is crucial for me when working with third parties, working with individuals who care about your business.”
Following the demonstration and approval from the management team at Tillomed Laboratories, AnnualLeave.com was awarded the contract.
Getting set up on AnnualLeave.com couldn’t be simpler as the process involved just a few short steps.
- Firstly, Tillomed collected all their staff information and sent it over to Neil and the AnnualLeave.com support team.
- The information is uploaded into the system.
- The system is reviewed by the Tillomed system administrator (this is the member of staff who will look after the system on the Tillomed end, usually the HR Manager).
- Once the admin is happy with the information on the system, the go-live is given.
The information uploaded to the system can include a number of details. As well as the obvious information such as employee names and titles, AnnualLeave.com gives you the ability to customise leave categories to suit your company, grouping employees together by role or function, differentiating between casual or permanent workers, and recording leave periods by the hour or by the day. This is important as it means Sonia can be made instantly aware if there are 2 or more people of a similar function requesting time off for the same period and company policies dictate that someone of that function must be onsite at all times. (i.e. Staff with the role of Fire Marshall).
Rules were also created so that Tillomed’s employees were only given access to information that is relevant to them (access to their own annual leave requests and their departments annual leave calendar, for example.) Displaying all leave requests in a calendar interface like the one AnnualLeave.com provides for Tillomed, complete with colour-coded icons to represent the type of leave requested, means Sonia and the other managers can see who is off and when they’re back in just seconds.
Another element that had to be considered when setting up Tillomed’s staff on the system was where they were located. With offices in UK, Spain and Germany, this meant Tillomed was affected by several national holidays, not all of which would be celebrated by each office (Bank Holidays in the UK for example wouldn’t affect the Spanish and Germany bases). While under the old system this would have been a painful exercise for Sonia to go through, which national holiday affects what employee, AnnualLeave.com looks after this in seconds and automatically shows what days off each employee is entitled to, depending on which office they are based in.
Migrating all the relevant information across took less than 8 hours and once Sonia reviewed the information and was pleased with it, Tillomed went live and were given access to the system.
The main challenge with the project was the initial gathering of employee information to be sent to AnnualLeave.com’s team. While sending over the general information on each of the employees was straightforward, collecting all the physical annual leave request forms, uploading them onto a computer and then sending them over to the support team proved a time-consuming process. “This was a necessary evil unfortunately” says Neil. “As Tillomed had not previously been capturing their leave requests online, taking the paper forms and uploading them manually was the only way to gather the information.”
As a result of these requests being uploaded manually from paper forms, one or two errors emerged regarding employee details. However, this was quickly resolved by Neil and the support team. As Sonia explains “These errors were inevitable, due to the nature in which the information was captured. Neil and the team were very helpful in dealing with the inquiries though and worked quickly and efficiently to rectify any mistakes made.”
Tillomed has seen their annual leave request management revolutionised since AnnualLeave.com has gone live. The biggest change has been of course the move from a paper system to being entirely online. This has brought with it several benefits for the employees of Tillomed:
- Staff can now make requests from their own computer or even their phone/tablet thanks to AnnualLeave.com’s Responsive Technology. “Staff love this, they no longer have to run around looking for signatures for their requests. They can make the request online and have it approved in no time at all.”
- No more paper forms mean less paper waste is left in the office. This space can now be used for more beneficial reasons.
- Having the ability to see their colleagues annual leave calendar means they can make more informed decisions on their own requests as they can see in advance whether the dates they want off are suitable. They can also see the reason for their colleague’s absence (colour codes show whether its annual leave, force majeure, sick leave etc).
From a management point of view, AnnualLeave.com has brought with it even more benefits:
- Managers can see all user requests and employee information in a single place, with the clear, user-friendly interface keeping them fully informed of what is happening.
- Easier communication with the managers based in different locations, as everyone is working off the same online platform.
- Confidence in knowing that AnnualLeave.com covers all the regulations and policies that come with each of the different leave types that users can request.
- For managers like Sonia, who are still new in the role, AnnualLeave.com frees up valuable time for her, allowing her to focus on other important elements of the job.
As Sonia explains “It’s changed the way we manage our annual leave entirely. And not just annual leave, but any kind of leave of absences we chose to record. It has saved us so much time as processing the requests now can be done in a matter of minutes. And for such a complex body of work, the system runs very smoothly.”
Thanks to the success of the system so far, Tillomed is hoping to add more of its global offices to the system over the coming months, including its employees based in India and France. Neil is looking forward to the expansion of the system’s use. “Sonia has been great to work with and we’re delighted that we have been able to help her streamline her annual leave management. We can’t wait to continue our working relationship with her and her team over the coming months.”
Sonia concludes “It’s just such an easy system to use. I’ve had zero questions from any employees which is just brilliant. The staff love it and we love working with Neil and the team. I would recommend AnnualLeave.com over any system to anyone at any time.”