Ever since Mrs. Gruber found out that Mr. Becker needed surgery, everything started going downhill; the reason is that shortly afterwards, Mr. Fischer was involved in a serious accident while riding his mountain bike. Since then, Mrs. Gruber has only had three workers at her production plant who are eligible to become shift supervisors for a specific production line. This means she can just about keep on top of the duty roster. Nevertheless, that came to an abrupt halt as soon as Mr. Krüger took his well-earned annual leave. To make matters worse, the two employees who are off on sick leave have not come back to work yet. In a company with as many production plants as ours, there must be a way to bring someone in for just two weeks, Mrs. Gruber thinks to herself. If I don‘t find somebody soon, we‘ll have to shut down that production line. Our board members and the plant manager won‘t exactly be over the moon about that.

Basically, two rather unfortunate circumstances have come along at the wrong time and, due to the shortage of skilled workers, production has been short-staffed for quite a while. It was only a matter of time. However, now that orders are just starting to pick up again, this is extremely frustrating. Since roster filling and communication with production staff is primarily done via an app, it’s also not that easy to get word around. Mrs. Gruber has already tried putting up notices and showing information on the screens in the locker rooms, cafeteria and leisure rooms. So far, however, she hasn’t received any word back as to whether anyone would be interested in working at another plant for two weeks in exchange for a bonus. What’s more, in actual fact, she needs someone with specific qualifications to even be eligible.

Things would certainly be much more straightforward if the HR management systems were linked. Currently, this is only partially the case, and so Mrs. Gruber lacks a much-needed general overview. Each plant has its own IT system and, in many cases, lists of qualifications and certificates leave a lot to be desired. With a deep sigh, Mrs. Gruber mutters, “How could I have gotten into this never-ending mess?”. Of course, she knows that Mr. Krüger would be willing to postpone his vacation, but she doesn’t want to ask, since, at this point in time, Mrs. Gruber couldn’t even tell him when he’d be able to take his annual leave. As a desperate last resort, she sends e-mails to all plant managers and works council members before finishing up for the day. Perhaps they know of someone who holds the necessary qualifications and could do with the money.

A few days later, Mrs. Gruber receives the call she’d been waiting for. A shift supervisor has been found at a plant just a few hours’ drive away who used to work on a similar production line and, the icing on the cake is that he also holds the qualifications she needs. Since he is currently having a house built, the extra money is enticing. This is an incredible stroke of luck that saves Mr. Krüger’s vacation, not to mention local production.

Things cannot go on like this, Mrs. Gruber thinks to herself. We got away with it this time, but next time it could be a very different story. So, she asks for a survey to be conducted by all HR departments at the production plants to ascertain which areas are short-staffed and how long this has been the case. This will show the boards just how risky the current approach is. There are certainly several plants that find themselves in a similar situation to Mrs. Gruber’s.

The medium-term solution is to roll out centralized HR master data management software. In doing so, each plant can still keep their local HR management system while having access to a centralized database containing the employee master data for all plants; even qualifications and certificates. With this in mind, Mrs. Gruber gets down to work and is already eagerly awaiting the results of her survey.