Manufacturing pioneer benefits from scalable, unified, and integrated HR management.

“Moving from a local-oriented company to a global supervisory organization was a huge change, but Workday helped to simplify and speed up the process and provided immediate benefits.”—Conny Hooghe, Global HR Director, Materialise

customer materialise 16x9 image

Easy access to real-time data ensures better decision-making

Positive digital experience helps to attract and retain top talent

Regulatory compliance is now more straightforward

Automated workflows help to significantly increase efficiency

An innovative and collaborative mindset has supported the pioneering work and expansion of Materialise since the company’s formation in Belgium in 1990. Today, the company has over 2,400 employees, is active in 26 different countries around the world, and has annual revenue in excess of €230m.

The company is at the forefront of 3D printing technology, with customers benefiting from industry-leading software, a robust quality-management system, and unrivaled additive manufacturing (AM) infrastructure. Materialise has been granted nearly 500 patents, and its software is used by 92% of the largest AM system manufacturers. 

As a result of continued global expansion, fragmented HR data in disparate systems and formats, and inconsistencies between financial and HR data were having a notable impact on operational efficiencies. Materialise decided to revolutionize and unify HR management procedures and practices as part of a major project called ‘HeRO’. An exhaustive review of potential solutions to support the company’s move to a global supervisory management model culminated with the introduction of Workday.

Eliminating cumbersome tasks enables HR to add real value to the business.

The move to Workday wasn’t just a case of inconsistent and outdated data, complex payroll processes, a myriad of Microsoft Excel spreadsheets, and inefficient reporting procedures. There was also a clear need for Materialise to ensure that the employee experience matched the progressive and forward-looking reputation of the business. It was essential for Materialise to adopt a far more unified approach to HR in order to maintain alignment with the business objectives and evolving priorities of the rapidly expanding group and its global workforce. 

Workday has helped Materialise to transform and streamline its HR function, as well as eliminate inaccuracies, time-consuming tasks, data silos, and unreliable processes. Workday has also played a central role in helping Materialise to move with pace towards a global supervisory management model. HR practices are now based on real-time data and applied consistently across the different regions while maintaining full compliance with various local regulations. The efficiency and productivity gains have been considerable. 

With the support of Alight, a specialist implementation partner, the first phase of the Workday rollout focused on Workday Human Capital Management (HCM). Despite the diversity and complexity of integrating IT with payroll across 26 different countries, this initial phase was completed ahead of schedule and also included Workday Talent Management, Workday Learning, Workday Advanced Compensation, and Workday Benefits.

The advanced functionality and flexibility, user-friendly nature, and ease of integration with other existing systems at the company were all deciding factors in our decision to introduce Workday.

Conny Hooghe, Global HR Director, Materialise

Greater empowerment and improved employee experience.

Careful planning, close engagement with all stakeholders, and effective project management ensured successful completion of the first Workday deployment phase. And the benefits were immediate. Employees and managers now had direct access to their own data, and the consistency and accuracy of real-time data supported more informed and timely decision-making. Workday also fueled much greater collaboration between HR and line managers.

Earlier frustrations and delays in the salary review process became history, and, for the first time, performance- development procedures were fully integrated with the core HR system. Workday surfaces real-time data insights and AI-driven analyses that have also greatly improved talent management, workforce planning, and recruitment decisions.

“Such improvements have certainly enhanced the employee experience at Materialise and have helped to empower both managers and staff to manage their own personal information and take a more proactive approach in their own areas of work,” says Global HR Director Conny Hooghe. 

“A positive digital experience with self-service capabilities is vital for any technology leader, as it is essential to attract and retain top talent and cutting-edge expertise. We now have a seamless and supportive journey for the entire employee lifecycle-from onboarding through skills development and career progression, right through to the time an individual leaves the business. And that is an approach entirely in keeping with the innovative spirit and ethos of the group as well as its commercial aspirations.”

A versatile, future-proof, and evidence-based solution.

Moving toward a global supervisory organization and a much more evidence-based approach for HR was very dependent on the effective collection, management, and analysis of reliable and accurate real-time data. It was also essential to maximize access to this data to empower managers and ensure that employees have direct access to their personal, learning, and development data. Workday has enabled Materialise to fulfill these core objectives.

The system has also helped to simplify and inform regulatory compliance processes as it helps to first define the approval processes and then ensure that the correct processes are followed at all times. Such improvements are significant for Materialise given the company’s extensive activities in the highly regulated medical industry.

The scalable architecture and functionality, and constant innovation of Workday is not only supporting immediate priorities and providing short-term efficiency gains. These features are also helping Materialise reap the long-term benefits of a sustainable, dynamic, and responsive HR function that has the ability to flex and develop in tandem with the company’s growth and constantly evolving business objectives.

The principles of continuous improvement are embedded within our business. Workday enables us to follow this through in our HR function and ensures that we truly add value to the business at all levels and in all areas.

Conny Hooghe, Global HR Director, Materialise

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