Start Simple for Immediate ROI: Cycle & Carriage’s Digital Transformation Story

Cycle & Carriage (C&C) is the leading automotive group in South East Asia. With more than a century of experience, the company focuses on distribution, retail, and providing after-sales services for vehicles of customers in the region. 

The company is driven by their passion for creating exceptional, people-focused experiences. Naturally, this also became the guiding principle for the company’s human resources (HR) team, which actively sought to transform the employee experience to make it more purposeful and engaging. 

As Ding Woei, C&C’s Head of Rewards and HR Technology put it: “Our goal is to make processes more efficient, make information more accessible, and enable self-reliance for our employees.”

Ding is passionate about digitalization, in particular, using tech to replace manual labor and eliminate inefficiencies. Over the last three years, she has been an instrumental figure in Cycle & Carriage’s HR digital transformation. Under her lead, the company began to steadily invest in HR tech and systems, with a main goal of improving data transparency. 

“Sometimes, you have to start small,” she said. Establish ROI early to get stakeholder buy in, before making plans to increase investment bit by bit. 

That was Ding’s original play. Then, the pandemic hit. 

Fortunately, the situation in Singapore stabilized fast, and most businesses resumed operations fairly quickly. However, social distancing measures meant that many companies had to introduce and adapt to new ways of working, and to optimize available resources. 

For Ding, it meant that there was a need to rethink the processes that were overly people-reliant. 

A simple process with disproportionate pain

A long-running employee rewards program Ding currently oversees is one that lets employees and their families visit tourist attractions in Singapore at no cost. It’s part of C&C’s commitment to facilitate a more balanced work-personal lifestyle, as well as to promote family bonding. 

This process hinged on physical passes that the company bought, which led to several challenges for Ding and the rewards team: 

  1. The process was completely manual and ⅓ of a single person’s workload: Someone had to account for the passes at all times, and know exactly which ones were in use and which weren’t, so employees can make their reservations smoothly. 
  2. Deliveries took time and were at risk of losses and delays: C&C operates at multiple locations across the island. A delivery team had to transport the passes from the rewards team to employees making the reservations on time, and back again so the pass could be used by the employee who’s next-in-line. 
  3. Value of passes were not fully utilized: While the passes were being delivered, there would be a 3-day downtime during which no reservations could be made with them, which meant the company was not reaping the full value of the price paid for the passes. 

As the country recovered from the pandemic, these challenges were magnified by social distancing restrictions. Not only did it take more time for the passes to be delivered to employees in time for their intended visit, there were more hands involved in the process, which was not conducive to sanitation efforts. 

Something had to change.

Diagram of rewards process before automation

What the process looked like before Workato.

From 100% manual to 100% automated—a working prototype in just one day

Recalling that she had come across Workato at an event some time ago, Ding began her research. Through conversations with the team at Facebook Workplace, which C&C uses as an enterprise collaboration hub, she learnt that Workplace and Workato were partners. 

See how Scoot, another Workplace customer, uses Workato to elevate employee experience. 

Finding out that Workato’s Workbot was built for Workplace practically sealed the deal. 

Soon, she was exploring how to optimize the process with the Workato team. To her delight, the prototype was ready within a day. Building and testing the actual workflow took 3-4 weeks. 

Part of the reason the build-and-test process was lengthier was due to the training process. Ding and her team, while not developers, were learning how to build the workflow themselves under guidance from the Workato team. The training made her appreciate the platform and the process better, she said, and also meant that her team could maintain the automation themselves

The Workato solution was simple. First, we digitized the passes. Then, using Workato recipes, which are what we call our integration workflows, we connected Workplace and Workday, so data could be passed between the applications. 

The new, automated workflow looks like this: 

The current rewards process, 100% automated.

Now, when an employee wants to make a reservation, all they have to do is to pull up the bot on Workplace Chat, where they can check for dates available for booking. 

Once the reservation date is confirmed, Workato runs validation checks on the back end to prevent double booking and checks if the employee meets the criteria set out for successful reservations (e.g. the number of times this particular employee has made reservations this quarter). 

If everything is in order, employee details are extracted from Workday and populated onto the digital pass, which is finally sent to the employee on Workplace to download or print. 

The result? Increased utilization, optimized resources, and just really happy employees

The return on investment was pretty much immediate. 

“I can now use it seven days a week, versus twice a week previously, when we had to manually deliver the passes.” 

Without having to buffer for delivery down time, more bookings can now be made for the same amount of money the company is paying for the passes. Not only that, but because the booking experience is so much smoother than what it was before, the number of unique bookings has noticeably increased

On the whole, there are now less complaints about not being able to make reservations on the date they wanted, the lengthiness of the booking process, and less frustrations related to losses and delays. 

And, now that the process is automated, manpower can be re-deployed more efficiently. By eliminating the manual cross-checking and logistics management, the process is virtually error-free

What’s next for Cycle & Carriage?

Ding is pragmatic when it comes to digital transformation. 

Still, she’s excited about the possibilities Workato brings, and keen to explore how Workato can help to optimize other small, everyday processes. 

“We need to be mindful of our investments, especially in times like these. Right now, I’m just really happy that we no longer need to go through the painful process we used to for employee rewards!” 

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