All the Bells and whistles

October 2004 Access Control & Identity Management

Project scope

Time and attendance for 800 hourly paid employees, 400 contractors and 400 monthly paid employees at the Richards Bay site.

The SAP HR project team consisted of three Bell employees, one being responsible for the Time Management sub-project.

Worked with a very limited budget.

Project investigation started September 2002, implementation commenced in December 2002, went live in March 2003 (SAP HR payroll and time management, as well as new Impro access and control system).

The history

Bell Equipment manufactures and distributes a wide range of materials handling equipment both locally and internationally. The principal products are articulated dump trucks, front-end loaders, haulage tractors and trailers, which are manufactured at the factory in Richards Bay.

The previous access system was not integrated with time management or payroll systems. It required a single solution that included anti-passback and inter-leading zoning principles. At the same time it had decided to implement a new payroll and HR solution (SAP) and the access control system had to be able to seamlessly interface into SAP.

The solution

"We chose the Impro time and access system from Skycom as it had an interface into our new HR and payroll system (SAP) and it met all our business requirements," says Surika Prinsloo, senior business analyst at Bell Equipment.

The benefits

The new combination of SAP and Impro enabled the company to better manage the movement and payment for hours worked of all staff members.

The benefits included: anti-passback, interleading zones (employees cannot exit at an access point if they have not clocked out at their clocking station), employees are only paid for hours worked, falling within their agreed work schedule (shift), overtime hours are pre-approved and captured on SAP and employees are only paid for pre-approved overtime hours worked.

Obstacles encountered en route to a final solution

Employee resistance due to stricter control exercised, user training for newly appointed time administrators, timely process of taking photos and issuing new access cards to all employees, agreeing work schedules with management and ensuring that all employees are allocated the correct work schedule.

Employees found a way to bypass the interleading zone control, allowing them to exit the premises without first clocking out at their clocking station. However, Impro found a solution and upgraded the software to provide a foolproof system.

Tenders, specs and implementation

"We drew up a request for information (RFI) document that specified all our requirements and sent it to all the access control suppliers we were aware of," explains Prinsloo. "We also spent a lot of time on the Internet to search for software suppliers, without great success. After a visit to Sappi in Durban we also invited Skycom to complete our RFI. They did a presentation to management and the fact that it met the majority of our requirements and was based in Durban with a proven track record made it easy to choose them as the preferred supplier."

Skycom did a number of site visits in consultation with Bell's IT staff to design the cabling network and decide on the placement of the clocks and hubs. Thereafter, the equipment was specified and quoted for. Skycom managed the technical aspects of the implementation in conjunction with the IT team.

The majority of the work was done by Bell employees, including the SAP HR configuration and making changes to the interface from Impro to SAP use was made of SAP HR consultants to configure the SAP time management schemes.

The result

"We have met all the objectives relating to the management of the hours worked and paid for our scheduled workforce," Prinsloo points out. "If we could have done anything differently, with hindsight, we would have put a bigger emphasis on change management, employee education and user training. Get upfront management agreement of all relevant rules to be applied in the time management system (configured in SAP).

"Our biggest gap was communication to all relevant parties, including employees, new time administrators and line managers. This includes communication of expectations, impact of the changes and status of the project. In addition we did not understand all the business rules and had to make changes after implementation in order to meet business requirements."

In summary

The implementation of a new time and access control project formed part of the implementation of the new HR and payroll system (SAP). The time and access control project consisted firstly of the drawing up of a Request for Information document, getting feedback from interested solution providers and the selection of Skycom as the preferred provider. Secondly, the technical requirements were investigated and an acceptable solution designed, whereafter the physical implementation took place. Impro is used as the tool for collection of clockings and management of employee access. The Impro clockings are then uploaded into SAP for further processing. The SAP HR system determines the employee's work schedule, runs the time evaluation process (where all the time related rules such as breaks, overtime payments, etc, are determined) and feeds the hours to be paid into the SAP payroll.

Fact file

Key service providers, products and solutions:

HR & Payroll system: SAP HR provided by SAP Africa, 011 235 6000.

SAP Consulting: SAP Africa, 011 235 6000.

Access control system: Impro (Improx) provided by Skycom.

Interface between SAP and Impro consulting: Drewery Software Services.

Bell Equipment Co, Surika Prinsloo, 035 907 9109,

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