Integrating T&A

November 2006 Access Control & Identity Management

The history

Steinmüller Engineering Services, a member of the Babcock Borsig Service Group, decided in 2005 to seek a time and attendance (T&A) solution that could meet the complex needs of the company.

The company, which specialises in providing engineering services to the power generation, petrochemical and chemical, pulp-and-paper, mining, steel and allied industries, asked Wishlist Corporation to assist in the search for a solution to be integrated into Steinmüller's Navision ERP software.

Justus Wernecke, commercial manager at Steinmüller comments: "The key issue for Steinmüller is that, in addition to our head and regional offices, we also operate a large variety of sites throughout the country. We wanted a highly flexible system that integrated cleanly into our ERP and project planning systems."

Many sites are permanent but some are active only over the course of a specific project. Regardless of the location or timeframe, the company needed to accurately and timeously collect T&A data for further processing.

"We were also determined to replace manual processes with an integrated automated solution."

The solution

Early in 2005, Steinmüller implemented a pilot site using Blick SA's T&A solution at its Secunda branch on the Sasol plant. This features BlueLine hardware and TimeGenius software. This site was very successful, but Steinmüller decided to keep this site independent.

The company decided that a review of existing information technology structures was in order before committing to a new solution. This review led to a firm decision to upgrade its manual system of employee time recording to an electronic system that will be integrated with its planning and costing applications (Navision-based).

This review process also assisted in clarifying Steinmüller's requirements for the new T&A solution. It had to be:

* Controlled from a central server at head office.

* Be accessible from any networked PC, user functionality defined by login.

* Provide WAN-based connectivity from permanent sites' clocking stations to the central database.

* Provide portable clocking stations at non-permanent sites, with periodic uploading to the central database.

* Specific company or site rules including:

- Company working hours against clock in and out times.

- Automatically clock-out employees who forget to clock out at the end of their shift.

- Round clock-in times to the start of shift, within a certain timeframe.

From a business process point of view, the company desired to:

* Fully integrate the T&A system with planning and ERP systems.

* Achieve greater speed and accuracy in capturing on-site hours.

* Achieve greater accuracy in costing of hours.

* Reduce fraudulent clocking and 'ghost' employees.

* Reduce the cost of processing hours.

* Track and report productive and non-productive hours.

* Have live data on attendance and absenteeism.

"For Steinmüller, the critical success factor was in being able to efficiently allocate time worked against projects and activities," comments Wernecke.

In 2006 another pilot was trialled by two vendors at Steinmüller site at the Hendriena Power Station. Blick installed a Sagem MA200 and trained Steinmüller personnel so they could test the unit. After four weeks, the company decided to use Blick as the supplier of Sagem biometric fingerprint readers. Wishlist was awarded the contract to integrate the clockings from the Sagem hardware into Navision.

Currently Blick SA, Wishlist and Steinmüller are busy developing the pilot site at Hendriena Power Station. Testing is currently focused on the Navision interface and the reporting functionality. When this phase is complete, the solution will be rolled out to another 15 sites.

"Steinmüller is pleased with development so far and we are confident we will achieve the company's goals," concludes Wernecke.

Fact file

Blick SA, Kobus le Roux, +27 (0) 11 844 3200, kobusl@blick.co.za

Ideco, Gary Jones, +27 ( 0) 11 745 5600, ggj@ideco.co.za


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