Staying ahead of the curve

November 2006 Access Control & Identity Management

The history

Brits-based furniture manufacturer, Pat Cornick, a division of Steinhoff Africa, wanted to upgrade its card-based access control (AC) and time and attendance (T&A) systems because new technology had arrived in the marketplace.

The company's existing card-based system was reliable and did have low running costs but the technology was outdated and many components were becoming hard to replace.

Ashley Kretzman, financial director at Pat Cornick comments: "Pat Cornick wanted the advantages offered by the new biometric fingerprint-based systems. The company also wanted to integrate AC and T&A systems to improve control and accuracy as well as streamlining some of the processes involved. Reliability was another key requirement."

The solution

The company went directly to Blick SA to provide the new solution. The solution is based on Sagem biometric fingerprint readers, which have replaced the old barcode reader units. System functionality, which manages both the AC and T&A functions, is provided by a combination of BlueLine Professional integrated access and time management solution and Time Genius software solution.

The complete solution was supplied and implemented by Blick. All hardware components are Blick products with the exception of the Sagem fingerprint readers.

The project

Project management and implementation was entirely managed by Blick. Progress during the project was measured during regular meetings between the Blick project team and Pat Cornick staff. Blick has since become the preferred supplier for the entire Steinhoff Group.

"Certain change management processes needed to be implemented in advance, particularly with regard to the training of staff and acceptance by staff and unions," comments Kretzman.

The company, in conjunction with Blick, was able to demonstrate to the staff that the biometric fingerprint-based system was not infringing on their human rights because the system only stores a template derived from the actual fingerprints, not the fingerprints themselves. Workers also benefit from the improved accuracy of time-keeping functionality.

The transition to the new system went smoothly although Glen Baptiste, national account manager at Blick, comments: "You must expect a certain degree of inconvenience and minor glitches when implementing any new system. Due to the nature of the product, the location of the hardware, and a shared software platform, the old and new systems could not really be run in parallel. As a result, we had to switch over to the new system almost at one time, which is obviously a high-risk situation.

"With hindsight, more detailed pedestrian flow analysis would have helped to ensure sufficient fingerprint readers were in place to manage traffic flow. In future, we would increase communications - we could perhaps have avoided some minor delays during the switchover process."

The benefits

In Kretzman's opinion: "Pat Cornick is very satisfied with the operational performance of the new solution. The company has also achieved significant reductions in administration time, effort and cost with the new AC and T&A solutions. We have also saved a lot of administration time and effort through the smooth integration of the T&A data into our payroll software."

Fact file

Blick SA, Glen Baptiste, +27 (0) 11 844 3270,

Ideco, Gary Jones, +27 (0) 11 745 5600,

Pat Cornick, Ashley Kretzman, +27 (0) 12 250 2360,

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