Case Study

Shipping Case Study

Business Requirement:

As the largest container ship and supply vessel operator in the world, our Customer had a requirement for a global payroll provider to address the modernisation, consolidation and simplification of its international seafarer payroll process.Although the project had a primary focus of achieving a compliant and timeous payroll, it was clear from the outset to all project sponsors that only with the adoption of suitable technology platforms was success to be achieved.The drive for an end to end marine payroll process that was embedded within the processes of the business was achieved by early engagement through design workshops with user groups of varying seniority and business expertise. This would require the design of a platform offering an interactive customer experience suitable for all business areas.Each moving part of the platform was to be designed with each end user group in mind, ensuring maximized acceptance of the change in particular due to the transient and temporary nature of the end user population.

The challenges:

  • Lack of systemised pay structure control and automated calculation capabilities
  • Poor quality of data gathering, transfer and reporting systems and processes and associated effort
  • Limited remote access to systems with bandwidth and connectivity challenges
  • Inefficient and non-existing data approval control due to high ratio of Employee to Manager
  • Existing process reliant on aging, obsolete, and unsupportable systems with no security or continuity control

Our solutions:

  • Global Payroll: Design, development and implementation of a compliant and global employee-centric payroll processing solution for an employee population of over 15,000. The population included employees operating in Denmark, Netherlands, Singapore, Philippines, India and a significant group of seafarers subject to tax and social security based on their residential status and operating location.
  • activ8: activpayrolls SaaS based solution activ8, was implemented introducing employee self-service functionality such as online payslips and annual statements, comprehensive reporting of people, job and project costs and secure transfer of documents between client and third parties. The customer’s bespoke solution also introduced the activ8 module eDeploy designed to capture vessel movement data and assess global mobility constraints employees were subject to on board vessels. In addition, eDeploy provided functionality for the customer to manage scales of pay in relation to operating location, rank, seniority and collective bargaining agreements.
  • activTechnology: Utilising our in-house software development team, activpayroll implemented a tailored interface solution to allow for the automated transfer of demographic, time and attendance, vessel properties and on-board expenses via enterprise level integration technology.


  • Improved Payroll Accuracy: Utilising activpayrolls standard validation layers as part of the inbound and outbound transfer of all data and ability to provide a customer specific layer of validation routines has provided our Customer with data to support a root cause analysis of payroll discrepancies. Although actual payroll processing accuracy has only increased by a minor factor, the ability to only accept valid data to feed in to the payroll platform for processing has resulted in a cost saving of approximately 15% of annual payroll expenditure within the first 6 months.
  • Reduced Resource Requirement: Where a manual process in any business exists, there is a requirement for resource to perform the collation, manipulation and transfer of the data involved in that process – often cascading across multiple disciplines within a department. The introduction of each module within activ8 and the associated business process enhancements has reduced the overall headcount by 33% within the first 3 months of the payroll coordination team alone.
  • Compliance Reporting: As part of the delivery of any payroll process, the output will consist of a series of submissions to governing bodies for the reporting of tax, social security and contribution to pension or union authorities. The Customer previously created approximately 90% of the data files as part of their reporting obligations manually, creating a considerable post payroll closure exercise each month – primarily due to the complex nature of the reporting format required as well as an inability to blend data from segregated systems. activpayroll successfully implemented a compliance reporting application to allow for the automated generation of over 25 statutory reports across multiple country jurisdictions, eliminating all manual intervention, ensuring the source of data was always true to the results of the payroll processed, ultimately eliminating the considerable penalties being inflicted due to any late submissions.
  • Designed for Scale: activpayrolls solution allowed the customer to efficiently manage the vessel location and taxation jurisdiction reporting and implications for over 600 vessels, the management, approval and repayment of over 2,000 expense claims per month, maintain the pay scales for almost 1000 agreement / rank combinations and provide seamless data interfaces with all crewing and logistics management applications.
  • Effective Implementation: Implementation effort delivered on time and on budget, with clear reporting of resource consumption, risk mitigation measures deployed change management executed throughout the project and client sign off prior to transition to our on-going payroll delivery teams.