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Food Buyer in Good Health after Cutting Staff Absence and Improving Payroll with COA Solutions HCM System

The Health Store, the UK's largest, independent and co-operatively owned buying group supplying independent health and wholefood retailers, has reduced staff absence levels from 7% to 2% by implementing a Human Capital Management (HCM) system from COA Solutions ( This HCM system, which has integrated HR, payroll, absence recording and time and attendance functionality, has also significantly streamlined The Health Store’s human resource (HR) and payroll processes, providing greater control over payroll, reducing costs and improving management reporting.

Denise Bradley, HR Manager for The Health Store, says, “Paper processes used to dominate HR and payroll creating various issues and inefficiencies. It was impossible to extract information in order to monitor staff absence and absence alone was costing the business thousands of pounds each year. We incurred further costs by outsourcing our payroll to a third party supplier. This supplier made errors, such as with statutory sick pay calculations and we had to send them information a whole two weeks before staff payday.”

Using COA Solutions’ HCM system The Health Store can easily store, update and process HR and payroll information electronically rather than storing and processing paper records. This has improved efficiency and the accessibility of employee information. By cutting reliance on paper, The Health Store has also seen a fast return on its investment.

The absence recording and time and attendance modules have proven invaluable in managing staff absenteeism. Employees are required to ‘clock in’ by scanning their finger into a fingerprint reading machine. Their attendance is then logged and matched against staff records on COA Solutions’ system. The system was even utilised in a disciplinary case to prove that an employee suspected of theft was on-site when the theft occurred despite them claiming not to have been in the building at the time.

Denise comments, “Using COA Solutions’ HCM system to record absence in addition to carrying-out back-to-work interviews has reduced our absence levels from 7% to 2%. Staff morale has also been boosted as employees know that the clocking-in system enables staff to be treated fairly and equally. For instance, poor attendance and lateness no longer go unnoticed meaning that hard working employees are justifiably recognised, making for a happy and productive workforce.”

COA Solutions’ system now enables The Health Store’s 102 staff to have their monthly salaries paid into their bank accounts, accurately and on time. Bank account and salary information can even be altered up to three days before payday. This was demonstrated when an employee had their bank cards stolen just a few days prior to the payroll being processed.

Denise says, “Upon receiving the employee’s new bank account details we were still able to pay them on time and without causing unnecessary disruption. This would never have been possible before!”

Denise adds, “COA Solutions’ system is a fantastic management tool as it can be used to quickly and easily produce reports on any aspect of information that is held on the system. It also allows us to maintain accurate and up-to-date records, such as fire lists and staff medical requirements, helping us to comply with health and safety regulations.”


About The Health Store

The Health Store is the UK's largest, independent and co-operatively owned buying group supplying independent Health and Wholefood retailers with over 550 stores from Aberdeen to Devon. The Health Store aims to be professional in the way it works, approachable to everyone with an interest in health food, and ethical in the foods that it sells and the contracts that it enters into.

The Health Store has formed close relationships with organisations such as the Health Food Manufacturers’ Association, the British Herbal and Medicine Association, MAFF, the Health Food Training School, Consumers for Health Choice and the National Association of Health Stores.

About COA Solutions

COA Solutions is the UK's leading supplier of integrated business management and information systems to public, private and not-for-profit organisations in the service sector. COA Solutions prides itself on getting close to its customers by understanding their businesses and responding to their business needs.

COA Solutions' award-winning Smart Business Suite combines core financial management, procurement, human resource and payroll systems, integrated with a range of collaborative, document management and business intelligence solutions. These solutions extend the value and effectiveness of the finance, HR and payroll departments across the organisation and enable managers in the business to monitor, analyse and continually improve corporate performance.

COA Solutions has more than 500 experienced and professional staff supporting and servicing over 4,000 clients across the UK service sector including Companies House, Newcastle City Council, WHSmith, Royal Bank of Scotland, Aer Lingus, National Express Group, DFS, RSPB and Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Trust.


Liz Ebbrell, COA Solutions
+44(0)1625 856505 or 07917 634 705

Ben Carey, COA Solutions
+44 (0)1625 856505