‘’Intuitive and user-friendly”



Taking the plunge
Bespoke solutions
Flexible working in covid-19 times
The assets of Protime according to Fermette Food Group



The start of 2020 posed a new challenge for the Ostend-based food distributor Fermette. The merger with a sector colleague in Walloon has resulted in the creation of the new Fermette Food Group. The solutions from Protime ensured that the transition ran smoothly.

It was back in 1945 that the family company Depuydt Meat Products laid the foundation for the current Fermette Food Group. Three generations later, the traditional butcher had grown into an important player with a wide range of sliced cold meats, salads, prepared meals, deep-frozen products and cheese. In recent decades, various acquisitions and partnerships contributed to the growth of the company. Since 1 January 2020, Fermette and the Walloon Père Lejeune have pooled their strengths in Fermette Food Group.

The new group has an annual turnover of 110 million euro and employs more than 210 people. ‘For certain departments, the collaboration with Père Lejeune has meant enormous changes’, observes HR assistant Charlotte Souvagie. ‘In the future, HR will be managed entirely from Ostend, so it was necessary to reorganise the way things operated there. We began the search for both a new social secretariat and a new system for time registration.’

Fermette Food Group came into contact with the solutions of Protime via SD Worx. ‘We also looked into several alternatives, but these were, we felt, less complete’, says Charlotte. ‘The link with SD Worx brings a lot of added value. We also had a number of specific demands. We needed, for example, a cloud application that is always up-to-date, so that we could at all times get the latest developments. But we also wanted a system that was user-friendly, intuitive and visually attractive.’

‘We wanted a cloud application that is always up-to-date, so that we could at all times get the latest developments.’

Charlotte Souvagie, human resources assistant Fermette Food Group


Taking the plunge

The search for a suitable solution began in the summer of 2019. An Vandecaveije, HR Manager: ‘In September we took the plunge and opted for Protime. An analysis stage followed. Before being able to implement the new system, we had to delve into all HR files. Every detail was held up to scrutiny and assessed for its legality. The final launch of the new application took place on 1 January 2020, at the same time as the birth of Fermette Food Group.’

The new group made use of myProtime, ProTeam (for the department managers) and Payroll via SD Worx. ‘The integration presented us with an enormous challenge, not in the least because of the short time-frame’, says An. ‘But in the end, the whole project was brought to a good conclusion. We are now a few months in, and the arguments that proved decisive for choosing Protime back then have since been validated. The system is dynamic, very intuitive and takes into account numerous parameters. Reporting also works very smoothly.’

‘The arguments that proved decisive for choosing Protime back then have since been validated.’

An Vandecaveije, Human Resources Manager Fermette Food Group

‘The high level of automation is, in any case, an important benefit. Today we still carry out a lot of manual checks, but we are convinced that we can allow the system to work increasingly autonomous. The requests for leave have already been automated, and this makes the system less sensitive to error. Our employees too see myProtime as a very accessible application. Its implementation did not place any additional load on our HR department.’


Bespoke solutions

Fermette Food Group is also positive about the collaboration with the Protime team. ‘Our project presented a number of challenges, but Protime proved a reliable partner throughout the entire process’, says Charlotte. ‘And that is still true today. Protime is extremely customer-driven and looks for bespoke solutions for the user. After the launch, we had a number of additional wishes, including one for having the system perform certain calculations independently. A search is currently under way for a solution.’

It is possible that Fermette Food Group will further extend the system in the future. Today, the team leaders are already using ProTeam. They are thus assuming some of the work of HR by performing an initial check for anomalies. There is a good chance that the company will further expand the module with ProTeam Planning. With this extension, department managers can plan their team at task level. They do this by linking the time schedules of their employees to specific projects.

The fact that all the modules are linked to each other is something Charlotte Souvagie considers a considerable added value. ‘We can even link external applications such as Orditool (Technical Fleet Management Software) to it’, she says in illustration. ‘Fermette Food Group has 32 drivers, and the logistics sector is rather complicated with respect to time management. Orditool reads the tachograph data from our trucks. From Protime, we add the check-ins and check-outs to this, together with the absences. These data are then processed in the transport calendar of SD Worx.

‘Protime proved a reliable partner throughout the implementation and that is still true today.’

Charlotte Souvagie, human resources assistant Fermette Food Group




Flexible working in covid-19 times

The corona virus has completely overturned the traditional way of working. ‘The majority of our workers suddenly had to work from home’, says An Vandecaveije. ‘This will remain partly so in the future. The introduction of myProtime did not arrive a day too soon, for this allows home working to be easily requested and monitored. Moreover, thanks to Protime we can smoothly allocate new schedules to our workers, and thus ensure a minimal overlap between the various shifts - something of considerable importance in corona times.’

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The assets of Protime according to Fermette Food Group

  • User-friendly, intuitive and pleasing interface
  • Simple and transparent, and yet very complete
  • High level of automation
  • Accessible reporting possibilities
  • Continuous expansion of the functionalities
  • Automatic updates via the cloud
  • Bespoke solutions for the user
  • Modules are connected to each other
  • Linking to external tools is possible
  • Handy link with SD Worx
  • The Protime team thinks along with the client
Written by: Protime
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