The Zebra expert

01.05.2010 – Annual Report 2009

In our annual report 2009 employees of Ergon tell about projects and experiences. One of them is Christoph Schuler, who is talking about the time management solution Zebra.

Zebra is a state-of-the-art system for personnel planning, time recording and access management. The solution also automates routine tasks. Zebra compares personnel costs with budgeted sales right at the planning stage, thus increasing cost efficiency. Zebra can be integrated seamlessly into the existing ERP environment. Personnel and organisational data is obtained from the ERP system, and at the end of the cycle completed account records and wage types are transferred to the payroll system.

System piloted by Coop

Back in 2006 Ergon developed a central software system for personnel planning for the retail giant Coop – this was the origin of Zebra. Christoph Schuler, a keen table football player, who joined Ergon as lead architect and project manager in 2005 after completing his dissertation at ETH, was heavily involved in the process. “It was a massive project,” he recalls. “The system had to be capable of handling the hours worked by 45,000 Coop employees, distributed between 2500 cost centres and 1000 sales outlets, every day. And with up to 1000 people using the system at the same time.”

Zebra offers very flexible parameter setting options. Sector-specific and company-specific rules can be implemented correctly at any time. This ensures that input errors are detected and prevented as soon as they are made. The configured rules control and automate the time management process chain. This ensures accurate payroll accounting at all times.

Now rolling out to Migros and the Compass Group

Zebra has since been taken up by Migros, Switzerland’s largest supermarket chain. The solution developed for Coop has grown into an industry solution for time management. Four Migros cooperatives so far are using the system for all their time management, payroll accounting and personnel planning requirements. The system was piloted at Migros Zürich in July 2009, followed in autumn by Lucerne, Aare and Neuchâtel-Fribourg. Since then the four cooperatives have successfully produced their year-end accounts for their workforce of around 35,000 people. As Christoph Schuler explains: “Coop and Migros rely on Zebra because Zebra is a stable solution which can handle extremely complex employment contracts as well as large volumes of data very quickly.” Zebra is currently also being implemented for the catering service provider Compass Group.