VMS is a full-service engineering company based in Frederikshavn, Denmark. The company offers repair, maintenance, spares, propulsion system and complete engineering projects to the maritime, offshore, power plant and wind energy sectors.

A growing company with no HR system to match

Starting from just five people in 2001, VMS now employs 175 people. Most of them are located in Denmark, with some employees working in Brazil and Namibia, where the company has two subsidiaries. VMS employs people in a variety of different roles, such as industrial technicians, service engineers and supervisors who travel worldwide, and a team of senior project managers.

Before VMS introduced Sympa HR, the company had clearly outgrown the tools that had once let them manage their people effectively. Data was distributed across a number of different systems and servers. At times it was hard to be sure exactly how many people worked for VMS in all locations, and not always being able to track who had access to sensitive personal data made it difficult to ensure data security and GDPR compliance.

A system that tied the operations together

When Lene Understed Jacobsen had taken over as HR manager back in 2015, she decided that the company’s people management needed to keep up with the expansion of the business and its HR processes. Many parts of the HR operation, such as contract management and reporting needed streamlining. “On top of that, our recruitment campaigns would result in a constant stream of emails and we had no reliable notification process for expiring certificates, visas or work permits. The situation was a real challenge”, Jacobsen describes.

I built a business case for our CFO and CEO, totalling the ongoing costs for all systems that could be replaced by Sympa HR. It did the trick.

Jacobsen set out to find the right HR system. After seeing that Sympa HR could be tailored to VMS’s precise needs, the decision was easy to make. “I put together a business case for our CFO and CEO, totalling the ongoing costs for all the systems that could be replaced by Sympa HR, some that were used no more than once a year. I suggested the potential savings be put towards the cost of a new system that would give us even more tools”, she explains. “It was a strong case – Sympa HR even integrated neatly with our existing payroll system”.

Leading the implementation process

To ensure that the implementation would be fast and efficient, Jacobsen took a very strategic approach. She blocked off one day each week so she could monitor the progress properly. Jacobsen was very happy with the way Sympa and VMS worked together. “The implementation project consultant from Sympa had herself acquired an HR system in a previous role and was therefore quick to understand our needs”, she says. Jacobsen also ensured a smooth internal roll-out. “When the system was up and running, all employees got a one-hour introductory training session and – because the system is very intuitive to use – the entire company was very quickly at ease with it,” she adds.

Staying on course

Gathering everything in one system has been very beneficial. “Our business is highly dependent on our specialists and the validity of the certificates they need for various work projects. With Sympa HR, we can highlight areas where employees want to develop to ensure they get the right training. We can administer certifications, we get a nice calendar overview and can track our key KPIs, absences and injuries­ at work,” Jacobsen says. “The system also helps us with recruiting the right specialists in a smooth and efficient way”.

I love Sympa HR and its reporting. I love to make reports and dig into the data. I simply decide what data I want to turn into a report and then it’s easily done.

For Jacobsen, one feature especially stands out in supporting her in her daily work: the reporting tool. “I love Sympa HR and its reporting. I love to make reports and dig into the data. I simply decide what data I want to turn into a report and then it’s easily done.” With the system up and running, VMS can now enjoy the many benefits of having a system that both streamlines the HR processes and manages all necessary data and documents in one secure place. “Sympa HR is a perfect fit for an ambitious international company like ours and will serve us perfectly for years to come.”

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