Tighter control at Macsteel

October 2004 Access Control & Identity Management

Project scope

Number of users: projected group project 1000. At present +250 users at one site.

Number of buildings: One.

Number of enrolment stations: One Sagem MEMS.

Number of biometric readers: Six Sagem MorphoAccess.

Mode of biometric operation: Identification (1:MANY) - fingerprint only.

Number of turnstiles: Two, and one staff admin entrance.

Number of doors secured: One.

The history

A manufacturer of steel products, Macsteel was having problems with lost and stolen proximity cards, broken cards and probably buddy-clocking.

The company needed more time and attendance programmes, and some sites needed to implement access control measures. Health and safety, timekeeping, and not to allow free access onto premises were also pertinent reasons for changing the access control system that had been in place.

Proximity cards continuously needed to be replaced due to loss or being stolen and there was probably also a buddy-clocking problem.

The existing systems were based on old technology and it was difficult to get spares or to have the system repaired. People not on work lists had access to the premises.

The goal

The goal was to have an accurate and clear time-keeping method as well as to control access onto premises.

The solution

"We wanted to create a situation where employees would go through access control," says Harry Coetzee. "Times captured at the access control points were to be imported to a central server at head office and then linked to Paywell payroll."

The benefit

The benefit envisaged was to have an accurate and clear time-keeping method and to cut down on the administrative functions involved in correcting bad clockings or missed clockings.

Obstacles en route to a final solution

The main obstacles encountered were the costs and the networkability. On biometric systems there were environmental obstacles because work areas are 'dirty' factory environments. The main challenge was to communicate over WAN.

Tenders, specs and implementation

"We put out tenders and then discussed the problem with our existing service provider who had supported us over many years," Coetzee explains.

The result

So far, according to Coetzee, Macsteel has achieved about 60% of its goal, specifically with smoother and more accurate operating of time and attendance systems and tighter access control.

"We would recommend that a test site be set up and different readers tested until the best one is found. In our case, other biometric readers were also tested but proved unreliable when dealing with poor quality fingerprints.

"As a result, we have selected Sagem as the preferred biometrics, as the readers have proved to be the most reliable and provide very fast identification speeds. It is also important to keep communication with the IT dept and let them be a part of the project team."

Fact file

Key service providers, products and solutions.

System integrator: Timewatch Systems.

Contact: Michael B. Horvitch, 011 640 1850.

Biometric products: Sagem Morpho range, distributed by Ideco Technologies, Gary Jones, 011 442 0064, info@ideco.co.za

Clockwatch Software: Clockwatch Distribution, Dani Taback, 0860 100 854.

Turnstiles supplied by Turnstar, Mark Eardley, 011 786 1633.

Macsteel, Harry Coetzee, 011 871 0000, harry.coetzee@macsteel.co.za



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