Effective enterprise control

September 2008 Integrated Solutions

Access control at enterprise level has changed dramatically over the years, but access via

fingerprint identification is proving close to infallible.

From the days when securing an enterprise involved a man and his dog at the gate and perhaps a password for employees to access their workstations, ongoing evolution and increased integration has resulted in the need for complete workforce data management.

"Workforce data management incorporates time and attendance, access control, job costing, alarm monitoring, HR information processing, payroll interfaces and integration into other ERP, planning and reporting packages such as SAP, VIP, PeopleSoft, Care, NaVision and Unique," explains Kobus le Roux, product manager at Stanley Security Solutions.

"Payroll is the single largest expense for most companies, so this is where the greatest protection is required against fraud, corruption and theft. Workforce data management systems are therefore no longer just 'nice to have' but a crucial element of financial control, regardless of the size of the company. Productivity improvements can also be achieved with workforce data management systems."

The mining sector, for example, has to consider issues such as access control at all working areas to ensure that employees only have access to the specific areas they are authorised to enter; ensuring all employees living on mine accommodation are able to enjoy a safe and secure environment during their leisure hours; control over short- and over-time hours worked at access points where shift control procedures are executed; access control systems that assist in ensuring all personnel have left an area that is about to be blasted; and time and attendance systems that provide seamless integration into payroll systems.

Modern mining companies place a high value on their employees and, together with improved and extended mining safety legislation requirements, the ideal of a Zero Harm policy has become a vital component in the development and application of access control and time and attendance systems. In today's mining culture, changes are implemented in such a manner that all stakeholders are involved and that the advantages of any proposed implementation are clear to all concerned before any changes are introduced into the production environment.

"One of the most obvious trends in recent years has been a major swing towards utilising fingerprint biometric readers," says Johann van Rooyen, branch manager Northwest Mining Division at Saco Systems. "Saco has recently implemented full Sagem-based biometric solutions that are used to regulate access control at processing plants with great success because this system can provide a greater degree of protection for valuable product and even more valuable employees. Currently, we still combine Sagem biometric readers with Saco Genius smartcard readers, utilising contactless smartcards, for some applications, but as time goes by, we anticipate that biometrics will become standard throughout not only the mining sector but most other sectors as well. This hardware generates the data to drive Microsoft Windows-based applications that interface directly into SAP for development of payroll applications.

In the corporate space, Bytes Systems Integration (SI) has partnered with Ideco Biometric Security Solutions to provide workforce data management solutions by combining Sagem biometric readers with Kronos time and labour management software.

"How it works is that the Sagem fingerprint reader collects the data used by the Kronos software, which then feeds the data into the client's payroll system," explains David Hunter, divisional managing director, Kronos, at Bytes SI.

"As an IT integration company, Bytes understands network requirements and is able to provide a system that runs on a wide area network (WAN). The access control and Kronos software sits off-site and runs on the client's network. Because Kronos is a web-based system - rather than a web-enabed system - it uses very little of the client's network capacity.

"Because the readers are biometric, 'buddy clocking' is eliminated. So, for example, with the health and safety regulations becoming so stringent, the readers can be set up to identify people who should or should not be in certain areas of the workplace and restrict access accordingly, which lowers the safety and security risk to the company.

"Integration of the system on the network allows for a single point of entry. For example, access control and payroll can be integrated into the HR system, or, in the retail environment, point of sale data can be pulled into the system for improved workforce management throughout the organisation."

Business Connexion's contribution to workforce data management comes in the form of Access Validation Manager (AVM). "The main objective of AVM is to provide a user, with a complete validation management system, that brings all the companies processes around access control, health and safety, and access qualifications together, adding a whole new dimension to the access control environment," explains Mark Stoop, national development manager at Business Connexion.

"AVM extends access control into the safety, health and environment (SHE) arena by means of seamless integration to one or many management systems to equip companies with an effective site management tool to ensure all site-specific policies and procedures are adhered to, which protects the company as well as the people entering the premises."

The AVM application makes use of the Impro technologies and Sagem biometrics hardware, and fully integrates with Business Connexion's Time and Attendance application TimeKeeper and with the ERP solution SAP.

Companies can use the system to provide better control over employees; visitors; contractors; vehicles etc, on site, while enforcing safety, health and environmental policies. This will enable validation on various rules relating to training, induction, medicals, workman's compensation and drivers licence, among others.

Stanley Security Solutions South Africa has developed and manufactured the S-Qube solution to provide a platform for the integration of the latest technology. The solution is designed to be a cost-effective, feature-rich and flexible solution to the most rigorous and demanding workforce data management requirements - with a special emphasis on time and attendance, access control and security functionality.

"S-Qube Enterprise, the flagship S-Qube solution is designed to meet the requirements of larger or international companies operating WAN-based, multisite environments that may be geographically remote," says Le Roux. "S-Qube Enterprise has the option of centralised or de-centralised system operation and can integrate with most network configurations, communications protocols or hardware backbones. ERP integration, with particular reference to SAP, is of special significance to S-Qube Enterprise users who can expect a seamless flow of HR, payroll and productivity data to and from the S-Qube solution, based on pre-defined business rules."

Apart from access control and time and attendance, the S-Qube system and BlueLine system from Stanley come standard with functionality like: canteen functionality, random search and random alcohol testing, anti-passback, parading and many more.

"Sagem Biometric readers from Ideco have been integrated into the S-Qube solution as Stanley's preferred biometric device because of speed, reliability and ease of use. These readers are suitable for time and attendance and access control applications and perform with ease even in the most hostile environment," Le Roux concludes.


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