T&A and access covered

November 2006 Access Control & Identity Management

The history

Based in Umgeni Road, Durban, Ninian & Lester, manufacturer of the Jockey brand, has 850 employees. Factory staff were clocking in and out at old manual clocking machines. Calculating these hours was time consuming each week and prone to errors. There was also no access control for the office staff.

Access control was not needed for the factory staff as the security staff would open and close the doors. However, the main admin buildings were a problem as staff would come and go at all times. Whichever system was chosen needed not only to be reliable and accurate, but also aesthetically pleasing to match the company's fashionable image.

Ninian & Lester consulted the 'Access Control Handbook 2004' for a list of possible suppliers. They went with the company who, based upon presentations of the proposed solution, appeared to have the technology as well as the back-up service that was required. Control Concepts was chosen as the provider with ClockWatch Distribution the supplier of software and Sagem readers. Greg Brink analysed the requirements and then put together a system that surpassed all the requirements.

The solution

The proposed solution was based around using the ClockWatch Manage Time and Attendance software. Sagem fingerprint readers were chosen as they are reliable and easy to interface to ClockWatch. They also eliminated the problems of lost cards and 'buddy-clocking'. Impro's IXP200 controller was chosen to manage the access control of the office doors.

Nine Sagem MA200's were installed. The five in the factory are used as time readers only. Random search generators were attached to these readers. The other four readers were interfaced to the Impro IXP200 system to give access control at the admin doors.

A server was purchased to handle all the T&A and access control systems. The server's clock time is automatically set each day via the Internet and all readers and controllers are then synchronised twice a day.

The Impro IXP200 system was installed at the two office doors to facilitate access control. Sagem MA200's were interfaced to the IXP system via their Weigand outputs. Proximity card readers were installed next to the fingerprint readers for use by visitors. On arrival, visitors fill out a register and are then assigned access cards with restricted access.

The IXP200 was also used to control the siren, which helps ensure that the staff are all working together.

For the calculation of time and attendance data, ClockWatch with ClockWatch Manage was chosen. This has all the functionality, reliability and ease-of-use of ClockWatch, with the added advantage of a web interface.

ClockWatch Manage provides an easy web interface for ClockWatch. This allows section managers to access the time-sheets, check who is at work, how many hours they have worked, as well as make any adjustments that may be needed. This is all done on-line via a web browser and the Internet. Managers can also see a list of absenteeism and make the necessary adjustments to their production lines to ensure maximum productivity.

It ran both systems together for four weeks to compare the hours. When the management was happy with the calculations from the new system the old machines were removed and now only ClockWatch is used for the calculation of the hours worked. With a staff of about 800 people the client had to be very confident of the system before they switched over completely.

The challenges

The project went relatively smoothly. The main challenge in getting a system for over 800 employees up and running in one hit was the capturing of the data, especially the capturing of the fingerprints.

The second challenge was during the introductory phase when the two systems were running parallel was to ensure that all employees understood the need for the change and used the readers correctly.

People who work with fabrics are notorious for having poor fingerprints. The quality of the Sagem MA200 has ensured that far less than 0,5% of the people (two out 850 people) have problems clocking. The problem appears worst when the hands have been exposed to rough work and the fingers are 'ragged'. But even these two workers after a few readings, are successfully identified.

The benefits

With such a large staff, Ninian & Lester needed a time and attendance system that was accurate and reliable. Miscalculation of the normal time and over-time hours could be a very costly mistake, either as huge wage bills or as staff dissatisfaction. Control Concepts and ClockWatch have provided a solution that everyone is happy with - the company is no longer paying for hours that are not worked and the staff are not getting short paid for the time they work.

Scope: Number of users 850.

Number of readers: Nine fingerprint and four RFID

Hardware and installation: Control Concepts (an accredited installation partner of Timewatch Systems).

Software: ClockWatch Distribution.

System installed by Greg Brink of Control Concepts.

Software Systems used: Sagem MEMS software, IXP200 Access software, ClockWatch Manage (network version),

ClockWatch Export utility and Time, ­synchronisation programs: VIP payroll program.

Hardware: nine x Sagem MA200s, one Sagem MSO100,IXP200 system with four PT readers and siren output module, five random search generators.

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