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HCM Defined

(Sidebar to "Workforce Key to Factory Efficiency" from the August 2007 issue of Automation World)

Ball Corp., which makes beverage and food containers, among other products, is converting more than 40 factories from seven diff
Ball Corp., which makes beverage and food containers, among other products, is converting more than 40 factories from seven diff

Manufacturers are among the heaviest buyers of Human Capital Management (HCM) software, which is the fastest-growing enterprise application today, according to Christa Degnan Manning, a research director at AMR Research Inc., in Boston. 


AMR categorizes HCM software into five areas of automation that can be applied to the human resources, or HR, function at a company. The first is “core HR,” which includes personnel records and benefits administration, payroll reporting and the like.

The next four are what Degnan Manning refers to as “strategic HCM.” The first of these is “workforce management,” which includes time and attendance, absence management and scheduling optimization. Another is “talent acquisition,” which involves software that helps companies in bringing people on board and ensuring that they are productive as soon as possible.

The third is “workforce development,” which includes electronic learning and training, and associated employee development tracking. The fourth strategic area is “employee performance management,” which automates functions including performance management reviews, career planning, succession planning and goal management.

Beating the shortage

HCM software is becoming more important as manufacturers increasingly face workforce shortages, says Degnan Manning. Workforce development, for example, can play an important role in retaining younger workers, who often stay with a company primarily because of development opportunities, she says. Recent advances in performance management tools, meanwhile, enable employers to profile the skills and characteristics of current employees who are considered top performers, so that these same traits can be sought out in potential new hires.

The looming workforce shortage is likely to force the hand of manufacturers, Degnan Manning believes. “Inevitably, manufacturers are going to have to invest in HCM automation, because there really won’t be another option,” she says. “Otherwise, their plants will be idle.” 

To see the main story this sidebar was taken from - "Workforce Key to Factory Efficiency" - please visit

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