How Abacus Lighting solved an employee communication issue during lockdown one and the benefits today

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In March 2020, like many businesses across the UK, Abacus Lighting had to send its manufacturing workforce home. With over 100 employees, many of whom work on the shopfloor, contact details needed urgently updating. Manufacturing employees typically do not have or need a company e-mail account. Some employees don’t have personal e-mail accounts. As the employees left the factory their details were hurriedly collected.

The question was “How can we manage communication with over a hundred employees via text and email addresses collected on a spreadsheet?”.  Initially, this was attempted manually but it very quickly became apparent that this was an administrative nightmare and unworkable.  Luckily for Abacus, they contacted Simportal for a solution that ensured the following:-


  • Not knowing the messages have been read
  • The need to confirm who read it and that it’s been understood
  • Wasting valuable resources
  • Must be GDPR compliant


The ‘Announcer’ app would become the first Simportal app to be used live.  It relies totally on Simportal’s highly flexible ‘role assignment’ mechanism (which had only just been implemented) to support broadcasting notifications to a dynamically configured set of recipients.

The Announcer app took two days to design and test inside Simportal (which is a long time by current standards). The first announcement was configured, the recipient list imported via an Excel workbook, and the Go button pressed. The recipient receives the announcement via text or e-mail. They are taken to a web form with the announcement and asked to type in their name. This forms the confirmation that it’s been read and understood.


Each recipient receives the announcement notification via text or email, which had been read from the spreadsheet”.  The notification contains a link that takes them to a web form showing the announcement.

It was an amazing moment to watch the acknowledgments building up on the live dashboard – we had an inkling of how the guys in the Apollo 11 mission room felt, admittedly on a smaller scale.  At that moment, we knew Simportal was destined for great things.

Typically, around 80 – 90% of recipients acknowledge the announcement via Simportal, so the administrative work of chasing up non-respondents is focused on just those 10 – 20% who don’t respond, thus greatly reducing the administrative task.

By using the ‘Announcer’ app Abacus now has an audit trail of recipient acknowledgments for the distribution of important information. For example policy changes, quality, health & safety, or other important related announcements.

Simportal Quote mark

“During the pandemic lockdown, Simportal made it possible for me to easily contact 100+ employees at home via text and e-mail. We confirmed these important messages had been read and understood.

Stacey Kokuciak, HR Manager – Abacus Lighting (Mar 2020)

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