Gabriel Alvarado
Latin America Vice President and General Manager
View from the Top

Workplace Management Key to Sustainable Productivity

By Alicia Arizpe | Mon, 04/01/2019 - 14:05

Mexico’s young and qualified labor has attracted many international manufacturers but when this workforce is not managed properly, particularly in terms of absenteeism, productivity suffers, says Gabriel Alvarado, Latin America Vice President and General Manager of Kronos. “Assembly or production line downtime, even for a single minute, can cost automotive companies thousands of dollars.”

Work absenteeism cuts the productivity of Mexican companies by 31.4 percent, according to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). Moreover, the organization states that only 30 percent of Mexican companies have substitute workers to fill these absences. Preparing for absences and adapting to them are essential to maintain a high level of productivity, especially in a fast-moving sector like automotive.

Kronos is a multinational developer of talent-management and HR solutions for the manufacturing, health, IT, retail, banking, aerospace and distribution industries, among others. The company’s solutions allow businesses in many industries to optimize the use of their personnel and their time in order to increase productivity. “Our goal is to help companies acquire and manage the appropriate workforce for a company’s specific needs. Our software allows managers to create diverse scenarios for their employees in order to find the one that best enhances productivity,” says Alvarado.

The company focuses on work optimization, which tackles the proper use of time. “While discipline related to entry and exit hours is an important matter for many companies, few actually monitor their employee’s performance during work hours,” explains Alvarado. “Our software also tracks employees’ individual performance and hours worked. In the automotive sector, the software tracks the performance of workers on production lines.”

Kronos’ software also helps managers address work absenteeism by shifting employees to the areas where they are necessary. While this may seem simple, as a company becomes larger its logistics become increasingly complex. “We worked with an OEM that had a significant problem with work absenteeism as a single worker missing from a critical production line had a huge impact on productivity. This company also had problems with unions because union employees were granted a series of benefits but there was no system in place to address whether specific benefits, such as one Friday afternoon free per month or a series of discounts, had been already granted to specific employees. This led to union complaints of unfilled services, while the company’s records indicated that the services had been provided. Our system allowed us to easily track which benefits were actually being used by the employees and gave us a picture of all the benefits used and by which workers.”

Kronos has developed solutions for companies of all sizes. Its Workforce Central platform has over 30,000 clients worldwide, according to Alvarado, while its Workforce Ready software was created exclusively for SMEs. “We are focusing on human capital management for SMEs, especially on properly assigning work hours and payment.” Kronos also allied with SAP for the development of a platform called SuccessFactors, which administrates and develops talent.

In Mexico, the company works with 40 percent of the Top 100 North American suppliers in the automotive sector, including Adient, American Axle, Continental Automotive, Daimler, FCA, GM, Goodyear, Pirelli, Toyota Motor and ZF. Most of these clients are just beginning to exploit the benefits of the software. “A large percentage of our automotive clients made the first investment in the platform but their journey is not over. There are still many areas in which we can help them improve, mainly in task management and workplace optimization. We want to evolve alongside them to increase their productivity,” says Alvarado.

Kronos will continue to invest in technology to stay at the forefront of the HR management sector. “We developed a solution called Workforce Dimensions, which uses AI and machine learning to empower employees to exchange work information and even switch shifts among themselves,” says Alvarado. Moreover, the AI collects information from employees and managers and makes recommendations based on the needs of the workplace.

High productivity and performance will continue to be priorities for Kronos in Mexico and the world. The company is more than a solutions developer; its goal is to support companies throughout their journey toward high productivity and performance, says Alvarado. “Kronos believes that workforce management is a journey, which begins with the installation of a platform that must evolve along with the workforce.”

Alicia Arizpe Alicia Arizpe Senior Writer