Farmstyle T&A

November 2006 Access Control & Identity Management

Manjoh Ranch is a farm in the Nigel area whose main activities are growing mielies and breeding cattle. The farm also has a mill that is used to convert some of the maize into various products.

The challenges

The main issues facing the management was keeping track of all the workers. The labour-force varies continually with the seasons. It was also important to be able to positively identify each person when he came to collect his pay.

The existing system was a card-based system. This system proved inadequate for a number of reasons. Firstly, it was badly located and staff had to really go out of their way to clock, so most just got lazy and did not bother to clock. Other problems, typical of card-based systems, such as lost cards and 'buddy-locking' were also issues.

The solution

A new system was needed that eliminated these problems, but at the same time allowed for positive identification at the pay-office. The Sagem OMA200 outdoor fingerprint reader proved to be the ideal solution. As it is weatherproof it could be located outdoors where it is convenient for everybody to clock in and out. By using fingerprints, the issues of lost cards and buddy-clocking were effectively eliminated.

CWBio was then installed as the preferred package to administer the fingerprints on the system. Not only was CWBio developed especially for the Sagem fingerprint readers, but with the inclusion of the CWMatcher add-on, the MSO300 take-on reader can be used to effectively, reliably and quickly identify each person as he presents himself at the pay-office. CWBio is very user-friendy and operation of the system is almost intuitive. CWBio also offers an export of time and attendance data directly to ClockWatch.

ClockWatch was then installed to monitor time and attendance. Its ease of use, combined with easy integration with CWBio and Sagem readers made it an ideal choice. As it is all installed on a farm in a rural area, easy of use and reliability were big considerations as support is not always immediately available.

The challenges

The biggest issue that Timewatch had to deal with on this installation was power. The 220 V a.c. is unreliable and is often accompanied by spikes on the line. A power-supply with integral battery backup was installed from the start. This first supply proved incapable of handling the erratic mains power and a new, more robust supply had to be installed. A mains filter was also installed with the new power supply to offer an extra layer of protection.

Another issue was that queues sometimes developed at the clocking machine. Although the queues dissipated very quickly, it was a problem when it was raining as there is no shelter around the machine to protect the workers while they stand waiting their turn to clock. This has been alleviated by the recent addition of a second OMA200.

The benefits

The management at Manjoh Ranch quickly saw the possibility of security/access control using fingerprint readers. The latest addition is an MA200 reader inside the reception area to stop unwanted people wandering into the offices. Although the MA100 would have been adequate in this role, it was decided to go with the more advanced MA200 as this could then be used as another clocking terminal if the need ever arose.

As time passes the system will certainly pay for itself. Not only will these savings be reflected in the more accurate timesheets and wages, but also in the reduced time and effort required to manage the time and attendance and ensure that each person gets the correct wage owing to him.

Fact file

Timewatch, Vivian Taback, +27 (0) 11 640 1850,,

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