PUMA: A Front Runner for HR Transformation

Agility and speed is central to the German apparel company PUMA. Like other multinational organisations, PUMA faces the pressures of managing a global workforce while maintaining brand values and culture. Here's what happened when PUMA embarked on a transformation programme to change the way it manages its people.

Steve Dunne March 07, 2019
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PUMA is a German company specialising in the manufacture of apparel, footwear, and sports accessories. For 70 years, PUMA has been at the forefront of sport and culture in Europe, creating products for the world’s leading sports stars, including Pelé, Maradona, Tommie Smith, Boris Becker, and Lothar Matthaeus.

Headquartered in the Bavarian region of Herzogenaurach, PUMA has more than 12,000 employees globally. Although agility and speed is central to the company’s DNA, PUMA has challenges similar to other multinational organisations. Namely, the pressures of managing a global workforce while trying to maintain the company’s brand values and culture. PUMA recognised the need to transform the way they manage HR, and embarked on a transformation programme to change the way the business manages its people.

“Digital transformation, like the transformation of human resources, is a buzzword, misused by many. At PUMA the intention was quite simply to bring the business units closer together,” explained Dietmar Knoess, global director of human resources and central services at PUMA. “Transformation should always have a clear objective and not be carried out for its own sake. For us, we wanted to be better partners with our colleagues across the business.”

With multiple ageing HR systems, PUMA wanted to simplify HR processes, standardise tools, and create a platform for more agile decision making. Knoess, with experience in companies including Wella, Hugo Boss, and IBM, found the tool he was looking for—Workday Human Capital Management.

“We knew we wanted to replace the old tool with a new system. Our intention was not to use technology to replace staff, but to change our current human resources management environment for an innovative, and at the same time more economical, tool,” Knoess said. “The business case was to replace the current global landscape of HRIS with an innovative system with the same or lower operating cost. Workday ticked all of the boxes for us.”

“The deployment was completed in seven months and with Workday, PUMA is on the right path to the future.”—Dietmar Knoess, global director of human resources and central services, PUMA

In December 2017, PUMA selected Workday Human Capital Management, Recruiting, Talent, Performance, Compensation, and Learning for employees in 45 countries. In addition, PUMA launched Workday Payroll and Absence Management across 30 countries, and Time Tracking in 12 countries.

“We had four dedicated people who led the project. In addition, we had four regional resources that worked part-time on the project, supporting communication to and from the markets—that is key to making sure stakeholders know what is going on with the deployment,” said Knoess.

A little over a year since the deployment, the company is already experiencing the first fruits of the Workday deployment. PUMA has decreased the number of interfaces between HR and external systems, while across the business there is increased confidence in the availability and performance of the system now that it is delivered via the cloud.

Knoess also pointed out that executives have benefitted from access to real-time data, whenever and wherever they may be. It has also empowered employees and managers with greater self-service capability and given all employees total transparency into the data stored about them.

“The deployment was completed in seven months and with Workday, PUMA is on the right path to the future. It has reduced the complexity of our HR processes, given us greater consistency, and fundamentally changed the way we work,” said Knoess. “It is a solution for everyone in the business that makes life easier for both employees and managers,” explained Knoess.

Transformation is a marathon, not a sprint, and we’re looking forward to hearing more from PUMA as they continue down the road to transformation.

Watch our video to learn more about digital transformation at PUMA.

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