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Case Study


Tyson Foods Feeds Managers HR Data with a Unique Org Structure

by Dave Hannon | insiderPROFILES

July 1, 2012

With over 100,000 employees, Tyson Foods faces certain challenges when managing HR data. To make sure employee data flows smoothly to managers, HR directors, and others who need it, the company’s HR Compensation/HRIS Group has taken a unique approach by implementing the organization management functionality in SAP ERP Human Capital Management.

When employees and their managers want to review human resources (HR) data, they shouldn’t have to consider how the company’s back-end systems work. Ideally, this employee data should flow both invisibly and seamlessly from a central location out to various organizational units where end users can easily access the information on their desktops or other remote locations.

At Tyson Foods — a business with over 100,000 employees — the HR Compensation/HRIS Group has taken a unique approach to ensure that this employee data flows smoothly to managers, HR directors, and others who need it. The company has implemented the organizational management functionality in SAP ERP Human Capital Management (SAP ERP HCM) and uses a ladder structure to organize the data flowing to and from more than 100 systems across the company.

The result is a robust employee reporting capability that allows users to easily build reports that help them understand their resources and their company better.

Building the Ladder

Tyson has streamlined the flow of its SAP data by developing a unique ladder structure within SAP Organizational Management that allows Tyson managers to view the information on their direct and indirect reports more easily. “At many companies, the organizational structure within the SAP system will have the manager residing in the same org unit as the subordinates,” says Kim Beatty, Senior Analyst for SAP Data Management at Tyson. “But ours does not.”

To let SAP Organizational Management feed all the necessary systems, Tyson uses a ladder alignment within SAP ERP HCM — where an organizational unit holds a manager or managers, but their reports are held in a separate org unit. “Each level has its own ladder rung,” Beatty says. “Each rung is one step of that organization as you go down the rungs of that ladder, so our organizational structure can effectively feed the information to the many various systems.”

Kim Beatty

Kim Beatty
Senior Analyst, SAP Data Management


As a result of that structure, HR data flows seamlessly across the enterprise. SAP Organizational Management provides data on employees’ departments and titles, as well as employee cost center, supervisor, shift, and business area, which provides the function of the positions that reside in that org unit, such as processing, packaging, or accounting.

“For example, if an executive wanted to know exactly how many employees work in our deboning facilities across the organization, he or she can now run that report more easily because of the way SAP Organizational Management is structured — as a master data system that contains this relevant data,” says Beatty.

Delivering the Data

Optimizing the data structure in this specific way has allowed Tyson to get its employee data out to the right users in a very efficient way. In many cases, that means feeding data to homegrown systems that Tyson has had in place even before implementing SAP ERP. While these systems can render the SAP data, users do not have to log into the back-end SAP system to access that data. Instead, they can continue using the same familiar interface of the homegrown system on the front end.

For example, Tyson managers and HR directors use a system called Compensation Salary Information (CSI) to access personnel information and run reports on their direct employees. They can drill down into data on employment and salary history on their desktop, rather than asking someone else to run a report for them. And because the information is all centrally managed and updated in SAP Organizational Management, the reporting is more streamlined and the data is more accurate.


“We have several standard reports for our end users out of SAP Organizational Management that save them an incredible amount of time,” says Beatty. “And because of the ladder structure, users can scale down that ladder to see data on their indirect reports if they’d like.”

Another homegrown system Tyson uses is the Tyson Evaluation and Measurement System (TEAMS), which allows managers to perform evaluations on their direct and indirect reports. Every manager and every subordinate is required to log into this system twice a year to update their information and evaluations. Now, when managers log in, they can see the data for the evaluations in the TEAMS interface through SAP Organizational Management. And if a manager is out on a leave of absence, for example, an indirect manager can perform the evaluations as needed.

“In that situation, the indirect manager doesn’t have to be moved temporarily in the organizational structure,” says Beatty. “We can keep our organizational alignment the way it is, and evaluations can be completed while managers are away.”

Bringing Org Management Global

The TEAMS system has worked so well that it is being rolled out to facilities beyond the US. While over 10 countries do use TEAMS, not all employees currently access the software. For example, at Tyson’s facilities in Mexico, a few changes still need to be made before all employees there can use it, according to Beatty, which is a future planned enhancement.

“Two years ago, none of the numerous facilities in Mexico ran on SAP software, and all of their employee-facing reviews and management were done locally,” says Beatty. “Today, these facilities have an organizational structure in place in SAP ERP HCM, which functions as their master data system. By creating new infotypes, we can feed this data to some of their existing applications, such as the TEAMS system.”

Tyson selected Mexico as the first market outside the US to go live with SAP software because it is the next biggest operation — and thus would involve the most integration challenges. The business wanted to tackle the hardest rollout first. Some facilities in other countries are also operating with SAP systems, but Mexico is the first country to go fully live on SAP ERP HCM.

“When these facilities abandon their existing protocols and move to SAP software, they will see a lot of benefit,” says Beatty. “We have been working closely with SAP consultants to help us manage the challenges that come with dealing with new languages and sets of characters.”

Beatty emphasizes that it is not only important to have the right IT resources in place to bring a new region onto the system, but it’s also important to spend time in the region getting to know the end users, their relationships, and how their systems work today. “For example, when taking all our facilities in Mexico live with the new SAP system, which uses an eight-digit identification code, we had to alter the region’s secondary systems that work on a six-digit code to fit the new system. It’s very important to take these issues into consideration before the systems can go live.”

Ensuring Success

In hindsight, Beatty says the work Tyson did early on developing the right structure for its SAP ERP HCM data — and not simply copying the most common structures — has paid off. Users are accepting the new system and processes with enthusiasm. “We needed to ensure that we were bringing out a user-friendly system for our internal customers and field users,” she says. “The only way a project like this can succeed is if they understand how to use the new system.” 

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