„We want a specialist who understands our HR processes.“
The Feser-Graf automotive sales group successfully makes the switch to digital personnel files with EASY
How Germany's fifth-largest car dealer
manages its HR processes.
This video is in german only.
This family company, steeped in tradition, is one of the largest automotive dealer chains in Germany, with almost 1,800 qualified staffers at 37 locations. In 2014, it achieved a turnover of 1.03 billion euros. Feser-Graf-Group showrooms can be found from Nuremberg to Fürth, Erlangen, Forchheim, Höchstadt, Schwabach, Roth, Ansbach, Lauf, and all the way to Magdeburg. As a full-service automotive dealer, the corporate group sells around 50,000 vehicles per year and offers an inventory of vehicles in stock that includes well over 4,000 different models. Its product portfolio includes group brands Audi, Lamborghini, Porsche (Service), Seat, Skoda, Suzuki, Volkswagen, and Volkswagen commercial vehicles.
Modern engines are becoming more and more powerful, delivering ever more horsepower from less and less displacement. The price? More complexity under the hood. Where the distributor cap and carburetor used to work their magic, today you’ll find a fully- electronic ignition system managing the engine. Just one example of how a “plus” in one area can create more work in another. This was essentially the case as well in the Feser-Graf-Group’s HR department.
The company needed to manage rapid corporate growth – and selected EASY HR 3.0 to do the job.
Feser-Graf knows a thing or two about engines – as they have for quite some time. The history of the Group dates back to 1929, when the Feser family opened a motorcycle workshop in Bernburg. The Graf family founded a workshop just twenty years later in Fürth. At the turn of the 21st century, the two companies combined to form the Feser-Graf-Group. Since then, the Group has been experiencing growth at a speed that could put some of the sports cars in their showrooms – standing beside Audi A3s, VW Golfs, or Skoda Yetis – to shame. Hardly a year goes by without the Group adding at least one new car dealership. Today, 37 showrooms belong to the Feser-Graf-Group. These generate a revenue of around 1.05 billion euros
per year, selling about 50,000 vehicles in the process. That makes the Feser-Graf-Group the fifth largest
automotive dealer in all of Germany, and number two among showroom groups in the Volkswagen group. Obviously, this kind of growth is also reflected in the company’s workforce. It’s doubled in size since the millennium – from around 600 workers to 1,800, with no end in sight to the increase.
Christian Puckschaml has participated in the Group’s development since 1999. That’s when he started his training as an automotive salesperson. Today, he’s HR manager at the Feser-Graf-Group, which encompasses
all of the brand’s branches. Two shareholders and two managers do their work from the headquarters, while nine operational managers take responsibility for leading individual showrooms in the various regions.
Due to the Group’s growth on the one hand, and its large number of locations on the other, one thing became clear to Puckschaml early on: the Group needed a digital solution for its personnel files. “We in HR often had a hard time tracking the progression of records because some personnel files were still being managed in the locations themselves. We want to change that.” Apart from this, the Group was also interested in simply ensuring its capacity to work effectively over the long term. Information from the personnel department is highly prized in the Group. Secretaries order current telephone lists. The IT department wants to know when workers enter or leave the company so they can activate or deactivate accounts. and the management wants to send out personal congratulations for company anniversaries, major birthdays, successful exams, or retirement celebrations, just as you’d expect in a family company. “With 1,850 employees and dynamic growth, even just this kind of reporting creates so much work that it’s hard to get to your actual tasks like personnel management and personnel development,” Puckschaml states.
At the same time, some showrooms had hesitations about giving up their files. There were some who feared they would lose freedom and flexibility. “Only a digital personnel file system could create the trust we needed. It needed to be stored centrally in the HR department, but be highly transparent and, above all, offer direct
access for location managers,” the 33 year-old explained. That’s why Puckschaml set off two years ago to search for just the right system. He had been aware of the challenges for quite some time: it couldn’t be a pure DMS, but rather needed to use automated functions to support the work of the HR department. The strong expansion the Group was experiencing also eliminated rigid solutions. What he needed was a system that adapted to the company in a flexible way. And finally, the solution needed to be simple to operate. Puckschaml says: “In a car dealership, management mostly recruits from its own ranks. Managers are
usually sales or service experts, but not IT specialists. We wanted to set the initial hurdles as low as possible to make sure the project would be a success.”
Puckschaml and his team compared three solutions: EASY HR and two other options. “I wanted a specialist from the HR field – someone who was on the same level as me, who knows what we’re dealing with, understands my HR processes, and knows how to support us. User-friendliness was one of the key arguments in favour of EASY.”
The chemistry worked as well: “We were on the same wavelength as our EASY partner on site right from the beginning. I was able to follow the things he was presenting 100 percent. The possibility to create custom-tailored workflows in a simple way was what finally won us over.” Puckschaml was able to get a picture very early on of, for example, how on and off-boarding processes could be automated to make them more efficient.
* Source: Federal Motor Transport Authority.
All of our employees got acquainted with the digital files in a very brief time. After just two weeks, people could hardly do without them.