Rapid people growth? Take these tips from Burra Foods


A case study in how cloud based system can be a life saver for a rapidly growing business.

From dairy ingredients to Nutritional Milk Powders, Burra Foods Australia has shown that a small Dairy Processor can grow to make a major impact on global food production. Focused primarily on Southeast Asian markets, the midsize business has recently expanded its product offerings into the fastest growing, most volatile food market in the world – China.

As customer demand continued to increase, manual and paper based HR processes could not keep up. Staff were spending too much time on HR related tasks and the business had no visibility into the workforce as a whole. Burra Foods brought in new HR Leadership, who saw that a digital transformation was in order.

Brad Cowling, Burra’s new general manager for people and culture, was seeking a more strategic approach to talent management as the company expanded in the Asia-Pacific region, and decided it was time to move Burra Food’s HCM system to the Cloud.

From paper shuffling to cloud surfing

Burra Foods is in a high-growth position with access to new markets in China. But having no systems supporting HR processes meant the HR team was spending the majority of its time on administrative tasks.

Paper and spreadsheets provided no visibility into the workforce and made forecasting and addressing issues difficult. But Burra now has a single, unified HR platform with the flexibility and scalability of the cloud. This means full transparency into HR processes, so employees have more time to focus on their strategic tasks.

“Burra Foods is growing at a rapid rate. As a small player in the dairy industry, we are close to reaching capacity at our plant. So to grow, we need to be more efficient. People management tasks were taking up a significant portion of time for our leadership, managers, and frontline employees,” says Cowling.

Easy does it

The implementation process of SAP SuccessFactors was quick and seamless, allowing Cowling and the team to hit the ground running. From the introduction of the first module (Employee Central) to final go-live, the system was up and running in a period of six to eight weeks. Immediate benefits were seen, with 98 per cent of staff taking up the HCM Cloud solution in the first week.

Moving away from paper based processes and improving efficiencies was high on the agenda. SAP SuccessFactors will save Burra Foods’ HR Department and Manager 4,500 man hours per year – the equivalent of 2.5 team members!

“Having experienced a gain like that in such a short time, with only the first module – that’s an outstanding result,” says Cowling.

“We are a dairy company, not a technology company. We needed a partner that would enable us to maximise the output of our plant and our people. SAP SuccessFactors helped make these processes much easier. They showed us how to free up the time of our managers, how we could make better, data driven decisions that would enable our people to be more effective, more engaged and ultimately have a greater output.”

Improving the employee experience and boosting engagement levels were at the heart of this transformation, and empowering employees to access their HR systems from anywhere, at any time was a priority for Cowling.

By supplying the workforce with the mobile capabilities they have become accustomed to expect as consumers, the result was higher workforce engagement and improved efficiency for both employees and the HR team.

Discover how to elevate your talent management and see HR best practices on SAP HR Insights.

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Rapid people growth? Take these tips from Burra Foods


A case study in how cloud based system can be a life saver for a rapidly growing business.

From dairy ingredients to Nutritional Milk Powders, Burra Foods Australia has shown that a small Dairy Processor can grow to make a major impact on global food production. Focused primarily on Southeast Asian markets, the midsize business has recently expanded its product offerings into the fastest growing, most volatile food market in the world – China.

As customer demand continued to increase, manual and paper based HR processes could not keep up. Staff were spending too much time on HR related tasks and the business had no visibility into the workforce as a whole. Burra Foods brought in new HR Leadership, who saw that a digital transformation was in order.

Brad Cowling, Burra’s new general manager for people and culture, was seeking a more strategic approach to talent management as the company expanded in the Asia-Pacific region, and decided it was time to move Burra Food’s HCM system to the Cloud.

From paper shuffling to cloud surfing

Burra Foods is in a high-growth position with access to new markets in China. But having no systems supporting HR processes meant the HR team was spending the majority of its time on administrative tasks.

Paper and spreadsheets provided no visibility into the workforce and made forecasting and addressing issues difficult. But Burra now has a single, unified HR platform with the flexibility and scalability of the cloud. This means full transparency into HR processes, so employees have more time to focus on their strategic tasks.

“Burra Foods is growing at a rapid rate. As a small player in the dairy industry, we are close to reaching capacity at our plant. So to grow, we need to be more efficient. People management tasks were taking up a significant portion of time for our leadership, managers, and frontline employees,” says Cowling.

Easy does it

The implementation process of SAP SuccessFactors was quick and seamless, allowing Cowling and the team to hit the ground running. From the introduction of the first module (Employee Central) to final go-live, the system was up and running in a period of six to eight weeks. Immediate benefits were seen, with 98 per cent of staff taking up the HCM Cloud solution in the first week.

Moving away from paper based processes and improving efficiencies was high on the agenda. SAP SuccessFactors will save Burra Foods’ HR Department and Manager 4,500 man hours per year – the equivalent of 2.5 team members!

“Having experienced a gain like that in such a short time, with only the first module – that’s an outstanding result,” says Cowling.

“We are a dairy company, not a technology company. We needed a partner that would enable us to maximise the output of our plant and our people. SAP SuccessFactors helped make these processes much easier. They showed us how to free up the time of our managers, how we could make better, data driven decisions that would enable our people to be more effective, more engaged and ultimately have a greater output.”

Improving the employee experience and boosting engagement levels were at the heart of this transformation, and empowering employees to access their HR systems from anywhere, at any time was a priority for Cowling.

By supplying the workforce with the mobile capabilities they have become accustomed to expect as consumers, the result was higher workforce engagement and improved efficiency for both employees and the HR team.

Discover how to elevate your talent management and see HR best practices on SAP HR Insights.

Leave a reply

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More on HRM