HFX continues to reinforce its position as a leader in workforce management solutions in Logistics and Distribution

Two new business wins signed in quick succession at DX Networks and Dormole Limited

HFX, the market leading provider of Cloud Workforce Management Solutions, has signed two new clients, Dormole and DX Networks in quick succession, as its market share in Logistics and Distribution goes from strength to strength. These contracts continue HFX’s strong performance in 2019, after a record first quarter where the company closed nearly £1m in new business.

Dormole Limited has a range of subsidiaries that specialize in distribution to the retail and merchant trades; Toolbank – tools and associated products; BIZ Power Tools – power tools and accessories; Olympia Tools – European distributor for the Roughneck brand of hand tools and workwear; and Forgefix – fasteners and fixings. Dormole has selected HFX’s Time and Attendance, 3D Rostering with Budgeting and Costing and a door access control system with integration to one of the UK’s leading HR and payroll providers

DX Network Services, the parcels delivery specialist for the legal profession and passport office which has over 4000 employees across 70 UK sites, selected secure biometric fingerprint terminals to manage access control as part of the HFX’s integrated Time and Attendance solution.

Nicola Smart, COO at HFX commented: “HFX solutions are designed for use by organisations that have a diverse workforce spread across many sites, on the move or working remotely. Our solutions enable companies to plan their workforces, developing staff friendly shifts and rosters, tracking who is where and when, so that wages can be paid accurately and in a timely manner, while providing duty of care, and protecting lone workers. Our products are uniquely suitable for the business challenges faced by the distribution and logistics industries where keeping an agile and engaged workforce makes all the difference to staff productivity, customer service, and at the end of the day, profitability.”

HFX’s workforce management solutions include time and attendance, rostering, shift planning, flexitime management, access control, clocking both via wall/door mounted devices and via PC/laptop/mobile app, all of which are already integrated with all major HR and payroll solutions. HFX is a sponsor of the Lone Worker Safety Expo, being held at No. 11 Cavendish Square – The King’s Fund, on 15 October, 2019.  For more details visit: http://www.loneworkersafetyexpo.com/#about

The Shuttlebay Project Pt. 1

@theshuttlebay

If you haven’t already seen or heard about our Shuttlebay project, where have you been. In the first instalment of our Shuttlebay series we take a look at where the idea came from.

In late 2018, hfx was outgrowing its office, and needed a larger building to accommodate our colleagues. But we also wanted to create something unique for our visitors, a reception area that reflected our vision of a New World of Work and showcase our technology and the amazing skills of our colleagues.

We’d written about the impression visitors often get when they visit a company for the first time (read https://hfxworkforce.com/2018/06/27/what-are-you-really-saying-to-your-visitors/) and we wanted our visitors to have a memorable and positive experience. We’ve always done things a bit differently (see our website www.hfx.co.uk) and we wanted our physical presence to be similarly, well different.

Initially it was going to have a modern feel with functional tech, that is until one of our colleagues suggested – perhaps half in jest – that we should have swooshing doors just like the ones in the popular Sci-Fi franchise Star Trek. That comment literally overturned months of previous design work and began our Shuttlebay project.

Some suggested we just record some noise and play it with electric doors, but that would be cheating. We resolved to do the real thing, pneumatic powered sliding doors…Not something we had done before, but then just like the franchise, we needed to boldly go where no-one (well mostly) has gone before… and so began our 12-month mission.

As of September 2019, our Shuttlebay project is heading towards the final stages of construction with the second set of doors being hung as this is being typed while progress on the operational and cosmetic elements of the Shuttlebay continue to progress towards the finish line. To keep updated with the all the progress while also being one of the first to see the finished product when the time comes follow across our socials on @theshuttlebay

Why Best of Breed is becoming the norm

building clouds facade glass panels

Best of Breed Workforce Management Solutions are now increasingly chosen over the traditional Best of Suite HCM providers.

Research by Navigo reveals that overwhelmingly (69%) choose a Best of Breed provider to meet their needs rather than a suite. It also discovered that 50% more organisations were “Very Satisfied” with a Best of Breed than those who purchased this as a module of HCM.

This maybe a sign that changes in the workforce are occurring more frequently and organisations need more agile and adaptable solutions. This seems to be confirmed by the study with the average age of a 5 years for a WFM solution compared with 7+ for HCM Suites.

Whilst a rapidly changing workforce environment may be a contributing factor, it is  cloud technology that is accelerating the move away from Best of Suite towards a new paradigm of “plug and play” applications in the cloud.

Historically Best of Breed applications where held back by limitations with integration. Many applications didn’t “play well” with other applications or even devices. But this is changing fast.

In the 1980’s your choice of printers was often dictated by the word-processor (or even computer) you purchased. But the introduction of “software drivers” removed this restriction and now with “plug and play” no-one worries about whether the printer they purchase will work with any of their applications.

This revolution in technology – largely forgotten – is being played out within modern cloud applications. Today we share content to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and many other cloud platforms without even thinking about the enabling technology that seamlessly integrates these applications together.

Web and cloud integration technologies make integration simple, secure and in many cases real-time. Data flows seamlessly between applications and without the need for organisations to involve their IT departments.

Historically IT departments would spend significant internal resource trying to knit on-premise applications together to avoid users having to dual key data into separate applications. Now, many modern cloud providers provide integration plug-ins to other vendors without the need for any internal work. Likewise, the adoption of Single Sign on (SSO) standards has meant that user experience across platforms isn’t impacted.

This represents a watershed moment in vendor selection. Historically organisations had to weigh up the trade-offs between a fully integrated suite that didn’t quite meet their business requirements versus a Best of Breed option that didn’t quite meet the “joined up” experience that users required.

With next generation cloud “Best of Breed” applications removing this barrier, organisations no longer need to sacrifice business need over user experience.

It also enables organisations to adapt more quickly to changing situations and without the costly and long delays required to replace a monolithic application. If a specific solution cannot be adapted to the new way of working, then it can be replaced without needing to replace the entire suite.

Ultimately organisations are looking to become more agile and the new world of “Cloud Plug & Play” has enabled them to do just that.

To find out more about our cloud solutions visit HFX or Contact us

Avoid Cloud Confusion

person covering face with blue wooden cloud wall decor
Avoid Cloud Confusion

The tech industry is famous for inventing jargon and terms that lack any clear definition which are then misused by marketing and ultimately mislead potential buyers into thinking they are getting something they are not.  The term “Cloud Solution” is a classic example.

Strictly speaking cloud solutions refer to any software (or service) that is provisioned via the Internet and does not require local infrastructure/install to consume it (typically access is via a web browser). However, this term is broad enough to hide a multitude of sins whilst not challenging any assumptions.

The public experience of cloud solutions is numerous including applications like google, amazon, banking and other consumer retail applications. These applications reflect a specific instance of “cloud solutions” and are based on modern internet design principles including;

  1. Internet By Design: These applications are built for the internet age with an architecture that can scale and more importantly scale over multiple servers that can be increased with demand ensuring users do not experience lag.
  2. Resilient Architecture: Because the application is designed to run on multiple servers there is inbuilt redundancy which reduces unexpected downtime.
  3. Future Proofed: These applications are automatically updated/upgraded with fixes and features without users having to request or pay for the update. This ensures that users are always working on the most bug free and updated version and ensures they never fall into legacy.

This all seems straightforward and many would be forgiven for thinking that all cloud applications follow these design patterns. However, many cloud-based solutions do not, and we therefore need to differentiate between “True Cloud” and those that just run the application in the “Cloud”. The main two “Cloud” variants which are often mistaken for “True Cloud” are;

  1. Hosted Applications: This is where a traditional legacy Fat Client application is hosted in a data centre and users’ access the application via Terminal Services or Citrix. Whilst it is true to say that nothing needs to be installed locally (other than Terminal Services/Citrix) the reality is you are simply accessing an old product through a new way. The application isn’t multi-tenanted, it doesn’t scale, and each instance needs to be individually upgraded/updated. Its an old product on a new server with Citrix.
  2. Web User Interface: Another tactic often deployed by business is to rewrite the user interface so that users can access the functionality through a web browser. Whilst it provides a modern feel and avoids the need for costly Citrix/Terminal Services, the reality behind the scenes is much the same as with a standard hosted application though this is hidden from the user until things go wrong. In the industry this is referred to as “lipstick on a pig

Why Not True Cloud?

Given the disadvantages to both the vendor and the customer of using a “cloud enabled legacy solution” it does beg the question why businesses would not invest in developing Cloud Designed Solutions. The answer is that many businesses have invested significantly in Fat Client/Server solutions for many years (Some from as early as 1995) and do not want to incur the cost required to start from scratch.

The more functionality they add into their old product the more reluctant (and expensive) they are to invest in a new product. It is akin to refusing to buy a new car because you have spent so much money repairing the old one.

HFX is True Cloud

Within Workforce Management, HFX is one of the few exceptions. In 2013, HFX secured significant investment to build a true cloud solution from the ground up. We recruited developers with 15+ years’ experience developing web solutions AND with a strong background in Workforce Management to ensure the solution was “True Cloud” AND ready for the New World of Work.

To find out what a True Cloud Workforce Management Solution looks like contact us

 

HFX Leads the Market in Flexitime

HFX are now the largest supplier of Flextime® solutions to the Public Sector and Local Government within the UK. With over 500 customers including 185 Local Authorities across England, Scotland and Wales, HFX has become the trusted name in Flexible Working Solutions.

public sector flexi

Nick Whiteley, CEO comments “Organisations are increasingly turning to flexitime solutions to attract and retain talent within their team and hfx is their trusted partner“.

Customers list a number of reasons for choosing HFX including their wealth of experience (over 45+ years), it’s ease of use, comprehensive suite including integrated Access Control and Visitor Registration. The Cloud/SaaS delivery of the solution and minimum infrastructure is also a key advantage with IT departments already stretched.

Nick Whiteley adds “HFX provide a complete solution including data collection devices, full onsite support, UK development and Call Centre which provides organisations with the confidence that they will be fully supported now and in the future“. HFX regularly receives 100% AWESOME ratings within customer services and resolves most calls on first contact.

To find out what our customers say, download our Flexitime brochure

Or Contact us for more information and a demonstration.

Flextime®, Imperago® and EveryOneCloud® are registered trademarks of hfx ltd (registered in England 08137794)

HFX CELEBRATES COMMITMENT TO REAL LIVING WAGE

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HFX starts 2019 accredited as a Living Wage Employer. Our Living Wage commitment will see everyone working at HFX receive a minimum hourly wage of £9.00 in the UK or £10.55 in London. Both rates are significantly higher than the government minimum for over 25s, which currently stands at £7.83 per hour.

HFX is based in the East of England, a region where over a fifth of all jobs (21%) pay less than the real Living Wage – around 484,000 jobs. Despite this, HFX has committed to pay the real Living Wage and deliver a fair day’s pay for a hard day’s work.

The real Living Wage is the only rate calculated according to the costs of living. It provides a voluntary benchmark for employers that wish to ensure their staff earn a wage they can live on, not just the government minimum. Since 2011 the Living Wage movement has delivered a pay rise to over 160,000 people and put over £800m extra into the pockets of low paid workers.

Nick Whiteley, CEO said: “As a leading workforce management solutions provider we have a strong commitment to our colleagues and we are delighted to honour this pledge.”

Tess Lanning, Director, Living Wage Foundation said: “We’re delighted that HFX has joined the movement of over 4,700 responsible employers across the UK who voluntarily commit to go further than the government minimum to make sure all their staff earn enough to live on.

“They join thousands of small businesses, as well as household names such as IKEA, Heathrow Airport, Barclays, Chelsea and Everton Football Clubs and many more. These businesses recognise that paying the real Living Wage is the mark of a responsible employer and they, like HFX, believe that a hard day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay.”

For more information on HFX click here

To find out more about the Living Wage Foundation visit www.livingwage.org.uk

The Value of Simplify

“The height of sophistication is simplicity”
Clare Boothe Luce

simple

Whilst HFX has many values, our core value is SIMPLIFY. We believe this core value drives change and provides tangible benefits to all our customers. We apply this approach to all that we do and place our customers at the heart of the process.

“Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”
 Steve Jobs

By applying this value to software development, our team have created a powerful workforce management solution that reduces customer configuration time by over 80%. The result is that OUR customers pay significantly less for implementation, and due to faster implementation times, realise savings much quicker than with other providers.

The benefits don’t end there; because we design our solutions for customers and not for ourselves, we empower customers to take complete ownership of the system including the ability to manage the rules themselves. This not only reduces costs but enables customers to adapt the solution as they change and grow.

“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.”
Hans Hofmann

Our approach to simplification also applies to our user interface. Where most software companies provide a single interface for managers and employees, we focus on providing the right user interface for each cohort (Role Based UI Design). Whilst managers are often IT literate and require a powerful user interface to carry out their daily tasks, there is a clear advantage in providing a simplified interface for everyone else.

By providing a user interface that is intuitive and simple, our customers significantly reduce training costs whilst ensuring that there is high user adoption and fewer user errors. Our Employee Self Service UI Design is based on the principles and ease of use that Cash Machines provide; No-one ever needed training on how to use a cash machine and this is also true of ours.

The benefits of simplification go further still. By simplifying the user interface, support calls reduce dramatically. For HFX, this means we have more time to devote to our customers who contact us for more complex queries; this is why we regularly receive 100% AWESOME customer ratings on our Customer Services.

“Knowledge is a process of piling up facts; wisdom lies in their simplification.”
 Martin H. Fischer

Our approach to integration with other software solutions including HR, Payroll and ERP takes a similar approach. HFX provides RapiD interface configuration that does all the heavy lifting, translation and transformation enabling third party integration to be achieved effortlessly. By handling the complex processes within the application, we simplify the integration to third parties and even enable our customers to leverage the API so that they can integrate directly.

“Clutter and confusion are failures of design, not attributes of information.”
 Edward R. Tufte

We have also applied our core value to other aspects of our business including the approach to Marketing. Our new website (www.hfx.co.uk) embodies our core value and mission. We designed the website with our audience in mind rather than being slaves to google search ranking algorithms.

We removed all the clutter and present the key information we think our potential customers want to know. There are no cookies, no pop-up ads, no annoying call-outs and no information overload. We want our customers to view the information they want quickly whilst having a fun and positive experience at the same time.