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June 25, 2018

A simple solution to a big problem

At the beginning of April, the Department of Labour began rolling out Boxfusion’s Smartgov for Administration leave submission module. Within the first few weeks of implementation, over 280 people across the department had already used the electronic system to apply for leave.

“From the first week there was a huge number of applications,” says Chief Financial Officer for the Department of Labour, Bheki Maduna. “I think it’s because the system is user friendly, and easy to navigate. The feedback has been very positive.”

Boxfusion’s leave management module was chosen to solve a particular challenge faced by the Department of Labour on a national level.

“As a department, we run a decentralised system of financial management, especially when it comes to HR,” says Maduna. “There are employees across the country. They’ve had to sign and submit leave manually to a certain point for processing, and those forms were not being captured on time.”

Failing to correctly capture leave across over 9000 employees meant administrative and auditing headaches. “As an accountant, I had to make provision on my quarterly and annual financial statements. It turned out that my leave provision wasn’t correct.”

“When I heard about the Boxfusion solution, I identified that it could solve my challenges.” Boxfusion’s leave management system allows employees of the Department of Labour across the length and breadth of the country (including those in UIF and Compensation Fund offices) to digitally apply for leave, escalate their requests and get them approved, all within 8 hours.

A more efficient department

Not only has digital leave submission begun resolving the administrative HR challenges faced by the Labour Department, but it’s also begun speeding up processes and allows officials to continue working when they’re on-the-go.

“From what I’ve seen, this Boxfusion solution is providing value for money. Today, I was out of the office, but I was able to approve leave. So, when I get back to the office, I won’t have piles of leave forms to approve.”

The system is user friendly and provides managers within government departments oversight when it comes to handling leave applications.

“Previously, I might go looking for a manager, just to be told he’s on leave, which I’d approved two months ago,” says Maduna. “Now when I approve leave, I have a digital dashboard, so I can see who else has applied for leave at the same time.”

“It creates a more efficient department and assists you to be a more efficient manager.”

Although the primary goal of using the Boxfusion solution was a reduction in paperwork, Maduna also hopes that it will allow a more efficient use of existing resources within the department. “I’m expecting that when it’s fully implemented, we can free up some capacity and use it elsewhere.”

A local solution to a local problem

Finding solutions for the unique challenges that government departments face can be an aruous task, so it helps when a digital solution has been tried and tested in other public sector offices.

Maduna had heard that Boxfusion’s leave application module was up and running in several government departments, so he knew that the solution worked.

“They’d already implemented it in other departments, like social development, so I knew it was ready to go. The fact that it was already on the ground and vetted by Treasury gave me some comfort.” It also simplified the procurement process, allowing for a more rapid roll out.

Working with a local company also provided an additional measure of security. “It’s been an added benefit,” he says. “Working with local people who understand the ins and outs makes it much easier.”

Although the Boxfusion solution has only been in effect within the department for a few weeks, the roll out should be completed by June. But to date, the results have been noteworthy. “We need to wait until full implementation and give it a few months, but its working well at head office, and I’m happy with what I’ve seen so far,” concludes Maduna.