Improving performance across all areas of our business by operating more efficiently is a key priority and a driver of our growth plan. Running our HR, finance and other functions across the Group in an efficient way is as important as operating our production facilities effectively.
During 2015 we made good progress towards simplifying and harmonising the employee benefit schemes that operate across the Group. Working with Mercer, a specialist consultancy focused on employee rewards, we undertook a detailed internal audit of existing benefits and benchmarked them against benefits available in our sector globally to ensure that our offering is in line with market best practice. Our audit revealed that we operated a large number of varied schemes around the world including over 84 pension plans, 90 car policies and 89 health plans. Administration of these arrangements absorbed a significant amount of time and added an unnecessary layer of complexity in the day-to-day running of our HR operations.
During the year the number of schemes have been reduced significantly. For example, the 500 bonus schemes that previously operated have been rationalised and now only 15 incentive schemes exist across the whole of the Group, all of which are directly linked to IMI’s strategic growth plan. We have also standardised a number of procedures, including annual pay reviews, which are now harmonised, wherever practical, to take place on 1 January every year.
As we have reduced the number of schemes and simplified operating procedures administration has become easier and more efficient. Furthermore this rationalisation process will enable us to leverage the purchasing power of the Group to achieve the most competitive pricing. Already across the Group, through the rationalisation and simplification of pension plans, we have achieved savings and reduced our liability in this area.