Directing heavy traffic

November 2006 Access Control & Identity Management

The sheer volume of stock moving through Vector Logistics, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Rainbow Farms, is on a scale that defies imagination.

Vector provides specialist logistic services to the food and food-related industries across the retail, wholesale and food service sectors. Vector services include warehousing, selling, order processing, delivery, merchandising, field marketing, credit management and administration.

The history

Paul Gibbons, commercial manager at Vector, explains, "We move more than 1300 tons of food products across multiple temperature categories throughout South Africa using more than 190 trucks and 1900 members of staff every single day.

"Efficient and effective control and direction of the physical flow of assets and resources is critical. Our commitment to stringent standards of operational performance is central to the continuing growth and profitability of the company."

The solution

Vector had already chosen SAP as its IT platform so it was clear from the outset that seamless integration into existing SAP systems was the first requirement for upgrading its access control (AC) and time and attendance (T&A) systems. "Our existing AC and T&A systems were outdated and could not provide this interface," explains Gibbons.

Vector set up a project team at the outset to analyse the company's further requirements. Gibbons adds, "We separated design, specification and implementation into discreet phases to ensure the issues in each phase were resolved before moving onto the next.

"From a T&A point of view, the data from the T&A system had to flow into the SAP payroll module. We used the SAP HR data to populate the AC and T&A systems during the implementation phase. Now the data flows automatically back into the SAP payroll module. The processes are highly efficient. The system requirements were set up with input from our IT, network and SAP specialists"

During the tender phase, payroll protection and a single database were some of the key requirements. Clocking fraud was an area where Vector required a solution from the new T&A system. The cost of clocking fraud was estimated at between 3,5% and 7% of payroll.

Blick SA's solution was based on its in-house web-based BestTime and BestAccess software, providing an integrated AC and T&A system. This platform operates off Blick's BlueLine hardware. These were linked to Sagem biometric fingerprint readers situated at planned entry and exit points, combined with access control to protect the payroll.

"All the data is held in a single database. Avoiding replication of data is one of the fundamentals of good systems' design. It is surprising how often this important criterion is ignored by clients," comments Quentin Still, sales consultant at Blick SA .

"Scalability was another aspect of the solution that was thoroughly tested," Still adds.

Vector has implemented the Blick solution at its Roodepoort site and intends to roll the solution out to a further 16 sites throughout the country.

The benefits

Gibbons comments, "The system provides realtime information on employee clocking as well as a detailed history. To have reliable information on employee time-keeping delivers a real saving to the business."

"Weekly meetings and frequent communications are required to implement the pilot site of such a large and complex project.

"Vector's highly-professional project team really helped to ensure a smooth transition. We did have to slightly modify the original proposal to meet some of Vector's specific requirements, but customisation of a solution of this nature is to be expected. There were the normal glitches during implementation but we drew up a snag-list and worked our way through the issues," Still concludes.

Fact file

Blick SA, Quentin Still, +27 (0) 11 844 3200,

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

Vector Logistics, Paul Gibbons.

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