A construction company benefits from a biometric time and attendance solution.
Using the various available functions of BegetBio fingerprint systems for personnel clocking to the fullest, civil construction company Lonerock has devised and implemented some innovative time and attendance control applications to meet the requirements of its 1200 permanent and casual workforce.
The 25-year-old company operates 15 Beget mobile devices for site usage and two fixed systems in place at the administration and machinery and plant sections of the head office situated near Lanseria in Randburg. Lonerock specialises in infrastructure layout for large township and residential complex development, operating mainly in the Gauteng area. At present there are 13 sites under construction, including two outside of the province.
Human resources manager, Herman Kilian explained that only 80 staff are permanent employees, but at any given time the number of workers totals around 1200.
“We generally appoint a community liaison officer (CLO) who will interview and draw both skilled and unskilled workers from the community within the proximity of the construction site. We then institute training programmes to develop and enhance skills. Another aspect of Lonerock’s commitment to social upliftment is to form partnerships with small black construction companies. All of the involved workers are registered on the Beget systems.”
As much as Lonerock now relies on BegetBio to manage staff time and attendance, two fixed test systems were installed two years ago, but, according to Kilian, these fell into disuse as the advantages were not fully realised. “About six months ago, Beget revamped the systems and we purchased six mobile units and have just added another nine for site applications.”
Employee work hours were previously recorded using a laborious manual logbook system. The company encountered problems and simply had no control over what was happening during the day.
Three clock function
“Now with the Beget mobile system we use the IN function to clock the start and the OUT function to clock for OUT. In addition, we use a GENERAL clock function. Here the site clerk – at random times during the day and unannounced – will blow a whistle to summon all workers to report and clock in within the hour. This prevents workers from disappearing during work hours and only returning at shift end. We had found that particularly on sites that are in built-up areas where there is a lot of commuter movement, it was difficult to control staff whereabouts effectively.”
Another usage of the GENERAL clock function is for the 15 drivers who transport permanent workers from head office to the various sites on a daily basis. They will clock in on the GENERAL function before leaving the premises, then on arrival he will clock IN and on leaving clock OUT. Once back at head office the driver will clock on the GENERAL clock function. This enables calculation and payment for overtime, if incurred.
Sensibly, Lonerock has initially run the Beget time and attendance system separate from its VIP payroll system while the few creases are being ironed out. Kilian says that he believes that when they go live in January, integration between the two systems will be seamless, backed by the advantage that Beget is a partner of VIP software.
Time and attendance reports are generated both on a daily and on a weekly basis which are then formatted to spreadsheets and exported into Excel. These are then manually captured to payroll. “We have reduced pay queries to a minimum as opposed to the myriad of problems encountered with the logbook method,” says Kilian.
On site, workers are identified by a left hand fingerprint as well as an employee number. As reports are scrutinised daily, if it is seen that a worker was experiencing hassles with clocking, the wage clerk at head office, Steven Mashile, will contact the site clerk to establish the reasons so that it can be noted to avoid attendance disputes. As an incentive, Lonerock pays out attendance bonuses.
To prevent ghost payments, Mashile is the only person who will allocate codes and register new workers onto the Beget fingerprint and the VIP payroll systems. He travels to the various sites and completes all employee documentation and training.
“The instant data transmission also enables us to tighten our operations so that we maintain maximum production. If we are alerted early morning by SMS and/or e-mail via a non-clock-in that a specialised machine or plant operator did not arrive for work, we can immediately send another operator to site.”
Kilian explains that with the introduction of the fingerprint ID system, there was little resistance from either the labour unions or the workers themselves. “This was because we took the time to thoroughly explain the concept and benefits. The site clerks understood that we were providing tools to improve efficiency and we carried out training courses emphasising effective time and attendance management principles.”
Lonerock Construction intends to extend the applications of the time and attendance system and Beget is designing software to provide facilities to filter and sort workers, skills competency levels and work areas.
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