Vallourec Creates New Energy for its Global HR Process -- and Achieves Operational Excellence

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012
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Vallourec is a leader in delivering premium seamless tubular products to the oil and gas industry that will withstand the most challenging conditions on the planet, both undersea and underground. The company works closely with its customers to understand their needs, and is recognized for the constant technological innovation behind its solutions. To maintain this operational excellence, Vallourec must employ and retain highly skilled staff across all areas of its business -- from research and development to manufacturing, account management and engineering.

As the firm experienced huge growth in the past 10 years, its legacy HR systems were becoming more and more siloed and increasingly outdated. Vallourec needed a centralized HR solution that would allow the company to develop and motivate its people at a country level, but manage its human potential at a global level.

Philippe Ferrie, global employee relations coordinator and HRIS director, explains: "Vallourec has transformed from a French company into a global organization with more than 20,000 employees in 20 countries. But worldwide growth requires worldwide talent management, and our old systems did not support this. We needed an integrated system to underpin global talent management and development -- and, ultimately, improve the overall performance of the business."

Evaluating Solutions

However, with performance reviews approaching, there was limited time to design and implement the new system. Plus, end users would have little time to train on the new tools and would need to learn on the job, so ease of use was essential.

Vallourec shortlisted four HR-software-solutions providers and invited them to present a proof of concept to a panel of 10 judges from across all areas of the company. "When SuccessFactors presented [its] POC to us, we quickly realized that [it] could deliver everything we were looking for -- and within incredibly tight timeframes. They understood what we needed and their POC was already 80 percent of the final product," says Ferrie.

"The tools were very user-friendly and easy to learn because they were designed for the end user, not an HR or IT person," he says. "We saw that we could deliver real change inside of six months. This gave SuccessFactors a huge competitive advantage. In addition, as SuccessFactors is a cloud-based software company, it could offer a cost-effective, fully flexible and scalable solution that an internal ERP tool could not."

Implementing SuccessFactors

Starting with a kick-off meeting in early September 2010, Vallourec was live with five SuccessFactors solutions by mid-January 2011. Spanning multiple languages (English, German, Spanish and Portuguese), these solutions included the following SuccessFactors solutions and features: Employee Profile, Goal Management, Performance Reviews, Compensation Management and Succession Planning. These solutions, combined, deliver an integrated HR cycle, which enables HR professionals and line managers from across the business to conduct performance reviews, identify and develop talent, plan compensation and motivate staff.

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As a cloud-based solution, the modules did not require any local installation. Accessing the tool is as simple as accessing Google Docs or Facebook; all users need is an Internet browser, secure sign-in information and defined access rights.

The initial implementation involved 3,000 employees across 10 countries. This figure doubled to 6,000 by June 2011 to include more than a quarter of Vallourec's employees in just over six months.

"We're incredibly pleased with the speed at which SuccessFactors allowed us to move," says Ferrie. "We will have 100 percent of French staff using the tools in the coming months. After that, we plan a gradual, companywide implementation, which we believe will be welcomed across the board."


Organization: Vallourec is the world leader in premium tubular solutions primarily serving the energy markets (oil and gas, powergen). 

Headquarters: Boulogne, France

HR Technology Challenge: With a rapidly growing workforce that was outgrowing its legacy systems, Vallourec needed a centralized HR solution that could motivate, develop and manage people across the world -- fast.

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