Enable — What we've done — The NEC Group

The NEC Group: catering staffing system

The NEC Group

The NEC Group is the Birmingham-based venue management company that operates four world-class venues: The National Exhibition Centre, The International Convention Centre, the LG Arena and The National Indoor Arena. The Group also operates national ticketing agency The Ticket Factory and award-winning, prestige caterer Amadeus.

Together, the venues stage more than 800 events a year, from world-renowned consumer and trade exhibitions like Clothes Show Live and Crufts, to concerts by international artists including Pink, Elton John and Michael Buble.

A substantial part of NEC Group business involves the provision of Catering Services, both in a retail context at NEC exhibitions and as a contracted service to an end client via its own premium event catering company—Amadeus.

What was the issue?

The staffing of Catering Services is a substantial exercise, involving hundreds of staff and a mixture of full-time employees, annualised and non-annualised part-time employees, casual workers, students and agency staff.

The NEC Group spends £12m annually on catering labour, with each individual event having particular staffing requirements, and where last minute changes to plan are common. The Government's Working Time Directive rules add further complexity where legal restrictions exist on the working schedule for staff.

In order to manage Catering staff records and scheduling, The NEC Group had two MS Access databases holding details of part-time and casual staff (excluding Agency staff). A staffing office at The NEC operated one of these databases, and a similar office at The ICC operated the other. These two databases were entirely separate and different in structure and purpose. The allocation of staff to events was organised via Excel spreadsheet templates, and these spreadsheets fed into financial forecast sheets. No integration between the databases and the Excel spreadsheets existed.

What was Enable's solution?

NEC Group Catering engaged with Enable to replace their existing combination of Access databases and Excel spreadsheets with a single, robust and feature-enhanced system, better suited to a multi-user environment.

Following a series of focussed workshops between Enable business analysts and key NEC stakeholders Enable specified and subsequently developed a Catering Staff Scheduling system, on budget and on time, comprising of the following:

  • A browser based user interface application
  • Generation of rota reports and letters
  • Data feed into label printing facilities
  • Email publication of rotas

Outputs and Benefits

The delivered solution provided the following business benefits to NEC Group Catering:

  • Secure and reliable storage of employee schedule information;
  • Time and efficiency savings with regards to providing rotas for employees and staffing schedules for event managers;
  • Support to the emergency procedures (via downloadable lists of employees scheduled to be on site on a specified day);
  • A controlled environment for providing secondary staffing support to Venues, thereby reducing the dependency on expensive agency staff and maximising the opportunities for work for employees;
  • Removal of dependency on legacy access databases;
  • Integration with the Group HR system for loading employee base data.
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