Success Story

Eastman Chemical Company

International HR Business Process‘ Automation with XFT Personnel File

Founded in 1920, Eastman is a global specialty chemical company that produces a broad range of products found in items people use every day. With a portfolio of specialty businesses, Eastman works with customers to deliver innovative products and solutions while maintaining a commitment to safety and sustainability. Its market-driven approaches take advantage of world-class technology platforms and leading positions in attractive end-markets such as transportation, building and construction and consumables. Eastman focuses on creating consistent, superior value for all stakeholders.

The Challenge

As a globally diverse company, Eastman serves customers in approximately 100 countries and had 2015 revenues of approximately $9.6 bil- lion. The company is headquartered in King-sport, Tennessee, USA and employs approximately 15,000 people around the world.

In addition to its focus on sustainability, safety and innovation, Eastman is deeply invested in the people that drive its business. For the Human Resources (HR) department, this translates into the need to actively manage and maintain more than 35,000 personnel files representing current, retired and former employees, in support of the company‘s strategic goals and busi-
ness operations.

Following years of rapid growth and decentralized recordkeeping, tracking and maintaining personnel files was beginning to strain the department‘s largely paper-based records management system. It was simply taking too much time and valuable resources to process employee records. Compounded by the highly distributed nature of Eastman’s global manufacturing and sales organization, the HR team decided it was time to upgrade to a globally accessible electronic file management solution. Beyond merely replacing paper, they envisioned a highly flexible and scalable solution that could easily accommodate the increasingly complex legal, regulatory and competitive demands of Eastman’s global business. A solution that would enable:

  • Secure anytime, anywhere access to employee records worldwide;
  • Access to a single, common data base that would support the more than 150 document types common at Eastman, with versioning to manage country-specific nuances and variables;
  • Support for different retention schedules and user roles to accommodate the variety of regulatory and privacy issues that arise
  • Support for all of the reporting relationships inherent in a highly matrixed organization where employees and their managers may be located in different regions or countries.
“In our business, it is not unusual for employees to work in one place and report another, often making it necessary to distribute multiple copies of an employee’s records just to keep the approval process moving. Naturally, this leads to a host of issues, including the possibility of misplaced documents or managers not referencing the final version of a document. We knew that if we could solve these types of file handling issues, it would lead to dramatic efficiency gains and cost-savings for our organization”
Lee Peterson HR Portfolio Manager for Eastman Chemical Company

XFT Project Team Exceeds Expectations

“Providing our managers with the ability to re- view and manage employee records from anywhere in the world is a huge time saver, with the added benefit of eliminating all of the privacy and security issues associated with physically moving paper between multiple offices or manufacturing plants,” said Ms. Peterson. “The automation of common administrative tasks, such as completeness audits or document filing and purging, also dramatically reduces the resources required to manage files. The result is more time to focus on the strategic planning initiatives that are central to our business.”

The HR department was aided in all aspects of the implementation by an XFT project team, subject matter experts with decades of experience in paper-to-electronic file management conversions. During the design process, they helped to define requirements ranging from file and report structures to security roles, backfile conversion processes and test plans.

To speed up the deployment and enhance decision-making, the XFT project team used an interactive design approach to define the new system. This enabled the project team to create and modify proposed parameters on-the-fly during design sessions, perfecting how the new system would operate from Day 1 of the installation. Not only did this significantly reduce the time necessary to get the system fully operational, but it also enabled all of the stakeholders to clearly visualize folder parameters, timing issues and their roles in facilitating the project‘s success.

“The XFT project team understood our needs, listened intently to our feedback and executed beyond our expectations,” said Ms. Peterson. “They were knowledgeable, flexible, responsive and infinitely patient for the entire duration of the project. From my point of view, it was an extraordinarily productive customer-vendor relationship that removed many of the anxieties and uncertainties typically associated with technology upgrades.”

With backend data storage provided by a cloud-based SAP Content Server, Eastman quickly segued from a highly decentralized, paper-based administrative modelto a cloud-based electronic file management system backed by a shared service center.

The Solution

In-Depth Evaluation Results in XFT Deployment

Following a thorough evaluation process, the HR team at Eastman decided to deploy XFT Personnel File. Unlike proprietary solutions the team evaluated, XFT Personnel File would enable them to leverage the company‘s existing SAP investments to streamline daily work processes and administrative tasks, while providing geographically dispersed managers with fast access to up-to-date HR information and files. Using an easy-to-navigate structured folder design with drill-down access to increasing levels of detail, it is a solution that has enabled Eastman’s HR organization to:

  • Maintain a single repository for all employee documents, accessible via a desktop interface that is familiar to Eastman managers worldwide;
  • Leverage the company’s existing SAP security protocols and user roles to provide access to all or part of an employee’s record, eliminating the need to create and maintain alternate lists or access protocols;Enhance the reliability and consistency of employee recordkeeping through review and approval processes that inherently promote conformity to the company’s policies and procedures;
  • Generate the necessary audit trails and activity logs required by various local, state and national regulatory authorities, while supporting internal reviews and informational needs.
“Providing our managers with the ability to review and manage employee records from anywhere in the world is a huge time saver, with the added benefit of eliminating all of the privacy and security issues associated with physically moving paper between multiple offices or manufacturing plants.”
Lee Peterson HR Portfolio Manager for Eastman Chemical Company

The Results – US Rollout Complete and International Rollout on its Way

With the U.S.-portion of the project completed, the HR team has transformed its personnel records system into an easily accessible and efficient resource for Eastman. Once former files have been scanned, more than 5 million records representing 25,000 current and inactive employees will be stored in Eastman’s personnel file system, available on-demand to authorized users regardless of where they are located.

“Now that U.S. users are fully trained on the new system — a process that was surprisingly quick and minimal — the international rollout has begun, which ultimately will result in another 10,000 active and former files added to the system,“ continued Ms. Peterson. “The flexibility to set up different versions of document types, retention schedules and user roles, will be hugely helpful in accommodating the variety of needs and concerns we see globally.”

Freed up from manual administrative tasks, the HR team is spending much more time on strategic planning initiatives. Electronic loaning of sections of employee files, for example, is helping Eastman target its succession planning investments, growing the talent necessary to respond to rapidly changing market conditions and competitive environments. |t’s a focus that reflects the remarkable success of its new electronic personnel file management system.


XFT Personnel File doesn’t just collect personnel documents, it makes them an integral part of HR process management. Preconfigured standard processes increase the transparency and efficiency of processes and ensure that nothing important is lost. And as every process and every change is documented, XFT Personnel File is the safe choice from a legal perspective.

Use of the role-based authorization system of SAP HCM ensures that, despite transparency, confidential information remains confidential. HCM users can access files according to their SAP HCM authorizations, while occasional users’ access is based on their SAP user role. Time-controlled processes (e.g. for automatic deletion of warnings and reprimands) ensure that personnel files meet legal requirements, while predefined dual control workflows provide the required level of control.

XFT Personnel File is based 100 % on SAP, and seamlessly integrates with SAP HCM. This means that you can use SAP authorizations as well as all SAP standard scenarios, from SAP transactions to portal applications such as MSS/ESS. XFT Personnel File also works directly with SAP data and not with data duplicates in a separate mirror system. Thus all information is easy to access and always up to date.

Programming of all XFT Products follows a modular design, based on the principle of service-oriented architecture (SOA). Communication with the SAP HCM system takes place via clearly-defined interfaces (service providers). This makes it possible to connect several separate SAP HCM systems to the digital personnel file, even if they are running different releases or custom developments. XFT Personnel File can be used with all scanning and archiving solutions supporting the SAP ArchiveLink interface, among them all market leaders.

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