A stitch in time

November 2006 Access Control & Identity Management

The history

Aluvert, a large manufacturer of a variety of blinds, is located on the edge of the Johannesburg CBD. The company was experiencing huge problems with staff time-keeping. Besides late-coming, absenteeism and buddy-clocking, there were also problems accurately calculating hours worked and overtime. This was costing the company and was also causing discontent as staff members were arguing about the time they had worked and trying to claim extra overtime pay.

A new system had to be imposed on the staff. Not only would the new system be able to accurately assess hours worked and calculate overtime, but it had to address the issues of buddy-clocking and lost clock cards too. It was decided that a system using fingerprints was the way to go. A number of companies were approached for proposals. After a number of demo's from various companies, Timewatch Systems offered a thorough solution and was selected to provide the time and attendance solution.

The solution

ClockWatch was installed for the time and attendance as it is flexible, reliable and easy to use, as well as being more than capable of doing everything required from a T&A package and by the customer. Sagem Fingerprint readers were used as they came well recommended and have proven to be reliable, fast and accurate. CWBio was chosen to manage the fingerprints as it integrates seamlessly with the Sagem readers and can export the T&A data directly to Clockwatch. CWBio is also packed with features and makes control of the fingerprint readers simple.

As the company is spread over three sites a solution was needed that could work over a VPN. CWBio allowed easy connectivity of the various sites. One site is connected to head-office via wireless LAN, while the other site is connected via a VPN over ADSL.

The project was completed in phases. Initially, one reader was installed at the main factory and, together with ClockWatch, effectively addressed the issues. As the staff complement grew, a second reader was also installed in the factory to cope with the increased traffic. When it becomes necessary to monitor staff times at the factory across the road, Timewatch again comes up with a solution using a wireless link to connect the Sagem reader across the road to the main building.

The third factory is a few kilometres away and it was not feasible to install a wireless link. Instead, Timewatch worked with Aluvert's IT department to implement a VPN over the ADSL link between the fourth reader and the main offices. CWBio manages all four readers as if they were all on one site.

Advantage: employer

From the moment the first reader was installed, Aluvert has seen advantages. Absenteeism has been reduced. Calculation of hours has improved resulting in savings to the company and also staff satisfaction as they no longer feel that the company is stealing time from them. Buddy-clocking has been eliminated and the loss of clock-cards is no longer an issue. Production was also increased due to better time-keeping by the workers.

The challenges

Initially, there was some resistance to the new system from the staff. This stemmed largely from a lack of knowledge and understanding of biometrics. After some training and a bit of 'hand-holding' in the beginning, the staff quickly learned to use and trust the system. Clockwatch also needed some 'fine-tuning' and this was carried out speedily by the Clockwatch Support Desk and the efficient Clockwatch staff.

The benefits

The success of the system right from the moment the first Sagem reader was installed left no doubt in the minds of Aluvert Management as to how to roll out the T&A system across the rest of the group. The next three fingerprint readers followed in quick succession and were smoothly integrated with ClockWatch and CWBio.

Fact file

Timewatch, Vivian Taback, +27 (0) 11 640 1850, viviant@timewatch.co.za, www.timewatch.co.za

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