About Park Leisure
Founded in 1998, Park Leisure offers 5-star, ‘owners only’ leisure parks throughout the UK in stunning country and coastal locations. Their first park was acquired in 1999, with a further ten parks opening over a period of sixteen years.
Park Leisure’s vision is to offer 5-star, award winning holiday parks with a first class service. Their luxury holiday homes range to suit every budget, individual tastes and requirements. Their aim is to create an environment with a family feel and personal touch. Their owners are a priority across all their parks and play a pivotal role in the on-going development of their services and facilities.
With their recent acquisition of luxury location ‘Plas Coch Holiday Homes’ in Anglesey, 2015 proved to be their most successful year to date. In fact they now can boast a total of nearly 3,000 holiday homes.
Park Leisure have plans to continue to invest heavily in their existing facilities and will be considering further acquisitions. They now employ over 300 staff across all 11 parks, which is a 100% increase since 2011. It’s because of this rapid growth that Park Leisure realised they needed a new ERP system which would support them now and into the future.
Park Leisure were looking for a system that would support its growth strategy and help to streamline the business without the need to increase their head count. They wanted a scalable, integrated solution that would encompass everything including, CRM, park management, unit sales, reservations, purchasing, HR, payroll, finance and analysis. They wanted to eliminate the need for multiple software systems and provide accurate and speedy reporting across all areas of the business to enable them to make more informed decisions. The team at Park Leisure wanted to provide a strategic platform to capture and retain its customers, driving both new business and part-exchange revenues. They also needed to improve efficiencies across the business, to reduce working capital and cost per transaction and they needed a system to support their acquisition strategy. When it came to the HR and Payroll side of the business, Park Leisure needed to consider the new pension regulations that were coming into force and also wanted to work with a provider that was HMRC recognised.
They needed to be accountable to the rest of the business by providing access to data and analysis at the click of a button. They wanted to move away from their bureau provider so they could be in complete control of their payroll and HR functions while having the flexibility to make changes as and when needed. They also wanted to work with a system that was user friendly and would seamlessly integrate with Microsoft Excel.
As acquisitions are a large part of their strategy, they needed to be able to bring a large number of staff onto their payroll and alter their pay periods in a timely fashion.
Microsoft Dynamics NAV fulfilled all their needs, so in 2013 they made the decision to go ahead with the new system and phase two of the project saw the installation of their payroll solution – MiraclePay from Miracle Dynamics.
Choosing a Solution
Prior to using MiraclePay, Park Leisure worked with a bureau company which they found unresponsive and inflexible. They struggled to get timely responses, which with a time critical function such as payroll, was unacceptable. They found the service impersonal and unsupportive and also experienced incorrect set-ups and multiple errors. Park Leisure found themselves doing most of the work, preparing joiners, leavers and working out variable data. It wasn’t easy to change the hourly rate and it became a hard slog. They felt they were doing all the demanding work while the bureau were just simply pressing the buttons.
Choosing MiraclePay was a straightforward decision as they wanted to get away from their existing bureau service and gain control back in-house. Microsoft Dynamics NAV had already been chosen for their main business solution and the Miracle solution was recommended by their reseller as it was the only truly integrated Microsoft Dynamics NAV payroll and HR product available on the market.
Park Leisure were keen not to just replicate what they had done in the past when it came to replacing their systems, as they would simply end up with the same results. They believe that with an innovative system additional opportunities are created to grow the business and move it forward. They were impressed with the level of sophisticated functionality MiraclePay and MiraclePeople had to offer.
Implementation and Go-Live
The finance, CRM, park management, unit sales, reservations and purchasing were implemented first in phase one of the project. MiraclePay was implemented in phase two and Park Leisure had a fixed date in mind for the go-live as they wanted to link everything into their pension staging date.
The implementation required some preparation work from Park Leisure as the bureau company they were previously using had set up three separate payrolls for the three Park Leisure companies, which wasn’t best practice. They therefore had to merge them all onto one payroll whilst they were still using the bureau. This proved to be a time consuming and frustrating process as Park Leisure had to take two of the payrolls and make them all leavers. The bureau then sent them paper P45’s and they had to input 180 employees onto the remaining payroll. There were also different pay periods to consider, so after merging the payrolls with the bureau in April, they did a parallel run in May ensuring any errors were resolved and went live on MiraclePay in June.
Go-live was nerve wracking but successful, the payroll was split into hourly and salaried at the same time ready for the implementation of the workplace pension in July.
The pension functionality provided within MiraclePay was the key to the success of Park Leisure’s Auto Enrolment. They chose Standard Life as their pension provider, which worked out to be straightforward as Miracle had already developed the pension interface.
Joanne Coggins, Head of HR was the appointed Project Manager for Park Leisure. They felt it was vital to have a Project Manager in-house to ensure testing was carried out, timescales were kept to and a smooth transition to MiraclePay was achieved.
Joanne Coggins said “If Miracle hadn’t handled the workplace pension, it would have been a different story. Even our Financial Advisors were surprised at how straight forward it was with Miracle. We run the assessment and the joiner report, the files are uploaded, if someone opts out, we receive the opt out report, we set the date on the system and MiraclePay automatically refunds the money. To make the payments we simply run the contribution report, it couldn’t be simpler! Miracle also advised us not to go for postponement, which simplified the whole process”.
Park Leisure are running the payroll solution, MiraclePay and electronic payslips, MiraclePay Edocs. They have also purchased the Miracle HR product, MiraclePeople which they will be implementing in Phase three of their project.
As their business is seasonal, their number of employees tends to change rapidly. They could have 25 leavers and 25 joiners in one month alone. At the time of implementation they had 260 staff and in the summer season this increases to about 400. They found leavers and joiners to be a big issue when using the old bureau service as once the payroll was run, the bureau service was inflexible and no changes could be made. Using MiraclePay has meant that any last minute changes can be dealt with quickly and efficiently. Park Leisure have many employees on different types of bonuses and commission, whether it be straight commission on a sale, manager over- rides, welcome or end of season bonuses. In the past those figures would be shown as one figure on the payslip, which created a problem when an employee or manager queried how that figure was achieved. Old paperwork would have to be ploughed through, now the data is available on the payslip and can be speedily accessed. It’s easily visible and Park Leisure can see how much money they are spending, who their top sales person is, and much more. Joanne Coggins said “We can access a wealth of information from our MiraclePay solution at the click of a button. This helps us to manage and push our business forward, knowledge is power”!
Park Leisure also use MiraclePay Edocs, which provides a secure means to send electronic payslips and other documents saving considerable time, improving business efficiency and achieving significant financial savings. The payslip is received via email as a PDF which is password protected. Prior to using this, Joanne would receive the payslips in from the bureau on pay day, she would have to sort out into individual parks, pull out any leavers, put them in envelopes and post them out. Miracle Edocs has significantly reduced time pressures on the payroll department and savings have been considerable, not to mention how this new technology is helping Park Leisure to go ‘green’. The payroll department were also getting many requests from staff for copy payslips to apply for mortgages etc., these requests are now easier and quicker to deal with.
Miracle and the Future
Joanne Coggins enjoys working with Miracle “The service is great, everyone is so friendly and approachable, you can call anyone at Miracle even the CEO. I’m never made to feel foolish, whatever the question”.
“There’s lots more to Miracle than just payroll. We will be implementing MiraclePeople HR in the future, however we need to establish what we want to achieve internally before we go ahead with this project. We will also be looking at Time & Attendance, P11D and expenses.
Park Leisure have been working with Miracle for nearly two years and are still realising new benefits. Joanne Coggins believes you can access a wealth of information from the payroll data, which has helped them to push their business forward and understand staff costs.
Before using Miracle, everything was done manually and passed onto the bureau. Now all the data and the system has been set-up, it has enabled them to focus on other areas of the business. Joanne Coggins, Head of HR said “As everything was done manually, the time spent on administration was extensive. Now I can work on our organisation structure and review the business enabling us to start implementing MiraclePeople”.
Processing times have been significantly reduced, cost savings have been considerable and errors have almost been eliminated. The data is much more accurate and reporting facilities have given them the capability to access data quickly and in real-time. Park Leisure have been able to make more informed business decisions, improve operational efficiency whilst becoming more agile as an organisation.
In the past the bureau would have provided them with a large pile of papers, which they would have to sift through, the breakdown of pay items wasn’t possible, so in-depth data analysis was impractical.
The integration with Microsoft Dynamics NAV has allowed them to become accountable to the rest of the business providing more visibility. If the Finance team ask the payroll department for the first quarter pay for a particular park, that information is readily available, which just was not possible with the bureau. Having an integrated solution also means lower IT costs and resources and reduced training costs.
As Miracle keep up to date on new legislation and are recognised by HMRC, Park Leisure know their payroll solution will ensure they are compliant, which saves them a significant amount of fact finding work, providing additional time savings.
Park Leisure have found that there has been a surge in popularity of caravanning and holidaying in the UK, so it’s important for them to have found a solution that will support them now and into the future. Their plans for growth and acquisitions requires them to have a flexible and agile solution, using a system such as Miracle and Microsoft Dynamics NAV ensures that they are able to respond quickly to changes and their plans for the future are supported.