Time and attendance all at sea

September 2014 Access Control & Identity Management

By clipping together two existing technologies – time and attendance monitoring and satellite communications – Adcorp Operations Shared Services developed a customised solution to address the challenges of monitoring worker time shifts and payroll in the remote environment of offshore oil fields in Angola.

It is believed to be the first system of its kind worldwide to provide real-time collection of information via T&A connectivity to a satellite modem as conventional communication channels are non-existent with no cellphone reception in these remote parts.

Angola is Africa’s second largest producer of crude oil with the richest sources found off the northern-most province of Cabinda. The Angolan gas exploration and production area is split into some 35 blocks that are worked by major oil companies. These blocks are divided into three bands namely shallow water at depths up to 500 metres, deep water up to 1500 m and ultra-deep up to 2500 m.

Capital Outsourcing Group, a division of Adcorp Holdings is involved in the outsourcing of staffing, recruitment and HR solution for around 26 000 temporary staff, both skilled and unskilled, throughout Africa. Currently Capital is contracted to supply 2000 individuals through its local operations based in Cabinda to a major offshore oil works logistics company that operates vessels and crew boats from shore to rigs in Angolan waters.

Nigel Ritson, general manager, strategic projects, said that once the business need was identified about a year ago, he engaged an American specialist company in satellite communications who could manipulate their satellite device to talk to ERS Biometrics’ time and attendance devices. ERS has been involved for the past six years with Adcorp, primarily the Capacity and Capital Outsourcing divisions, in the supply of biometric access control and T&A solutions with over 300 sites active.

“Once we provided a proof of concept to the client, in June of this year the system went live with devices on two vessels and one on land substantiating that the system has the capability to pull clocks off the ocean. We will eventually implement the system on all 65 ships of our client with the potential of a total of 300 ships worldwide. Capital is also exposing the solution to other oil companies.”

Previously, the oil company experienced serious challenges with people tracking and correct vessel costing using timesheets resulting in payroll consolidation delays. All staff, including on-shore permanent and hourly paid workers, are registered on the biometric fingerprint device. Oil-rig crew clock in on arrival at base on Monday mornings then depart offshore to the rigs for a 28-day shift.

“Our focus is on creating efficient time acquisition, administration and payroll functions in remote areas. To this end we developed a solution where time could be acquired from anywhere in the world, processed and consolidated in real time in South Africa, and then posted to the payroll hub in India. This would mean that we are leveraging technology and the strength of the rand against the dollar to take advantage of the most cost-effective method to perform administration functions.

The average payroll clerk in Angola earns around $4000 per month verses $1000 in SA and India. The solution also provides real-time management reports, previously unavailable due to area remoteness. This allows management to make quick decisions based on actual information which ultimately improves productivity.”

This satellite communication development is Adcorp’s IP (intellectual property) but an agreement is in place with ERS Biometrics to buy the technology for use on their other remote T&A installations.

Since inception, says Ritson, only once was there an incident where the satellite communications failed. “On inspection, we found that the satellite device had moved and was pointing downwards. A monkey was using the device as a perch.”

For more information contact ERS Biometrics, 086 112 3438, [email protected], www.ersbiometrics.co.za

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