Drayton Manor

Drayton Manor Theme Park in Staffordshire welcomes over a million visitors every year and is home to a variety of exciting attractions with roller coasters, a 15-acre zoo and Thomas Land.  Considered by many to be the ‘ultimate family day out’, Drayton Manor has received numerous awards that recognise the company’s inclusivity such as ‘Best Attraction for Children’ and ‘Access for All’ along with Certificates of Excellence from TripAdvisor in four consecutive years.  There is also an on-site hotel.  The four-star 150 bedroom Drayton Manor Hotel features executive rooms, presidential suites and 15 Thomas & Friends™ rooms, as well as two bars, two restaurants plus The Grill Inn, adjacent to the hotel.

Complex requirements need a reliable and robust solution

The scale and diversity of Drayton Manor requires a large number of staff to provide an excellent visitor experience and operate other complementary on-site services such as conferences and events and a popular education programme.  The theme park’s 750 staff – regularly reaching 800 during the peak summer season – are employed in a broad range of roles from front-line guest services at ticket points, at catering and retail outlets and in the hotel to maintaining buildings, grounds and keeping the rides safe and attending to behind the scenes administration and marketing.  Managing them all and ensuring they are paid correctly, on time, and in line with National Pay and European Work Time Directives is a critical success factor.

Clare Beasley, Director of People at Drayton Manor takes up the story, “Running a theme park of this magnitude is a complex business and requires sophisticated technology to simplify the whole process of knowing how many people you have on-site at any one time and then reconciling this information to payroll quickly, accurately and efficiently.”

Fast, comprehensive real-time information from a solution that is easy to use

Drayton Manor first turned to AUTOTIME, a division of HFX over eight years ago in 2010 and has recently re-invested in the company’s real-time Biometric Time & Attendance system Vanquish.  Clare continues: “As Drayton Manor grew and more staff were employed, we considered different ways of managing our employees but nothing matched the automated approach to scheduling that Vanquish offers.  The software is so easy to use both for our team leaders and for our people on the ground.  It’s fast, gives us vital, real-time information on holidays, time off in lieu and other absences, allows us to create and download valuable reports in an instant and we also benefit from AUTOTIME’s constant innovation in the product. In a nutshell, all this so why would we want to change?”

Controlling costs and gaining efficiencies with Rostering

Today, Clare and her team use Vanquish for Time & Attendance and are beginning to roll-out the system for rostering purposes, a move Clare believes will help Drayton Manor to “control costs better and gain efficiencies” by minimising the risk of overpayments.  All staff use Vanquish to clock in and out whether they work in the park, the zoo, in the hotel or in back office functions.  They simply place their hand over one of the 14 Vanquish biometric hand reader terminals when they start and finish work and whenever they leave the premises for breaks or other business reasons.

Around 40 managers rely on Vanquish to view their own teams’ activities and keep track of their weekly hours to make sure staff are not falling below the National minimum wage threshold and comply with European Work Time Directives. For example, they can check absences such as any accrued Time Off In Lieu (TOIL) and make sure it is booked in for the relevant member of staff.  Clare’s team has recently started to expand the Vanquish solution further by exporting data from the hand reader terminals directly into Drayton Manor’s corporate Sage Snowdrop payroll system to accurately track the hours that staff work.

Saving time, increasing accuracy and better Compliance

Clare sums up the benefits: “Deploying Vanquish has released a series of valuable operational and business benefits.  Vanquish gives us good visibility of how many people we have on-site at any one time and shows who hasn’t turned up for work against the planned roster. This helps us spot any gaps that need filling and is invaluable for payroll purposes.  Automation reduces error and saves huge amounts of time.   What is more, the solution offers a robust audit trail, a complete history going back eight years.  This supports our compliance with important industry legislation and demonstrates our commitment to driving best-practice throughout the organisation.”

Automation increases productivity

The automation gained by from the intuitive solution has boosted productivity through tangible time and cost savings while the availability of dynamic, real-time data has improved the accuracy of timesheets to reduce absence, time theft and unnecessary overtime.

Clare concludes, “AUTOTIME offers top-notch technology and support to match.  From initial implementation to day-to-day guidance, we can ask any questions and know we will get answers straight away.  Moreover, the team is 100% focused on innovation and has even tweaked the system quickly and efficiently to suit our needs perfectly.   Quite simply, AUTOTIME is continually looking to push the boundaries of customer service and we really appreciate that.”

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