TSP Engineering

Case Study: TSP Engineering

Error Free Payroll First time and Every Time


Multi-award-winning business TSP Engineering is an important manufacturing supplier to the Nuclear Sector and other industries. Located in Workington, Cumbria, the specialist manufacturer employs over 220 people and operates from one of the largest and most comprehensively equipped facilities in the UK. TSP Engineering’s CEO, John Coughlan, has been named the UK Manufacturing Champions Manufacturing Leader, and an Exemplar in The Manufacturer Top 100. The company offer an apprenticeship programme to help support young people wanting to enter the manufacturing/engineering profession. Alongside this, they are an advocate for women in engineering, having positive work ethics and many training opportunities. Finance Director, Paul Simpson along with the Head of HR and Business Support, Sue McCarten and Michelle Watson, HR Advisor approached Armstrong Watson’s payroll services team to explore outsourcing the payroll services. TSP Engineering was breaking away from British Steel and therefore its Head Office support services.

Why they sought to work with us?

The company had been part of a larger group utilising central systems and processes, but now needed to explore the options available to them in respect of payroll. Sue and Michelle are extremely experienced HR professionals and whilst Michelle had previous experience of payroll, it was vital the transition from British Steel was seamless for the employees. Both Sue and Michelle recognised that if they were to outsource, rather than recruit and run the payroll from in-house, it may turn out to be a large and challenging undertaking. The previous processes were historical and operated on legacy systems. It was also very important to the company to source a local, Cumbrian provider due to their on-going commitment to supporting the local community and economy. What did we do? Firstly, an exploratory meeting was held. Interestingly as the company needed an HR system, time and attendance system and a payroll service, the initial discussion between HR and Armstrong Watson was leaning towards recruiting in-house. However, after further meetings looking at systems and processes, Armstrong Watson’s head of payroll, along with Sue and Michelle, concluded outsourcing the payroll was the right option for TSP Engineering.

How we did it?

Once the decision was made to come on board with Armstrong Watson’s payroll service, a scoping exercise was undertaken.

This was to determine amongst other areas:

  • What the employee data looked like
  • Interpretation of historical data to ensure all terms and conditions would be met and be seamless
  • Ensure the payroll along with payslips showed pay terminology the employees were used to
  • Tailoring of data gathering processes and reports
  • Extensive conversations and testing to ensure the implementation process was right
  • Go live date set.

Both the TSP Engineering team and the Armstrong Watson payroll team built a fantastic rapport over the months prior to going live. The openness and positive relationship meant honest conversations could be had, allowing best practice to be looked at. Results All terms and conditions were met and the set up was completed which demonstrated an accurate payroll in the first live run. Regular discussions are still held to explore new ways of operating to help support the business as they grow.

"One of TSP Engineering’s priorities is to support the local community and economy, so when the decision was made to outsource payroll it was important that this would be with a local business. We realised the outsourcing was a huge undertaking which brought some uncertainty. It needed to be a seamless transition with no negative impact on our employees and our first thought was how many parallel runs would it take before we had it right. Through our meetings with Armstrong Watson’s payroll team any apprehensions we had soon disappeared. Their professionalism, knowledge and continual engagement throughout the set up period provided the reassurance we were looking for, so much so that we went live with no parallel run and not a single error. I look forward to the continuing relationship with the payroll team which now feels like an extension of our team."

Sue McCarten Head of HR and Business Support