Time-and-attendance vendors search for ways to combine traditional products with emerging technologies to create new sales opportunities.
If time-and-attendance vendors are to continue to increase sales, they will have to update their systems with new product offerings. These vendors offer value to customers by increasing accuracy in shop floor data collection. With that in mind, how could they not include technologies such as biometrics, RFID (radio frequency identification), wireless, and other new enabling technologies?
The good news is that time-and-attendance vendors are taking steps to increase the strength and breadth of their product lines, which will, in turn, offer more sales opportunities for resellers. Peter DiMaria, president of Accu-Time Systems (Ellington, CT), told me, "There are a lot more handheld PDAs (personal digital assistants) and RF (radio frequency)-enabled, Windows CE devices on the shop floor today. We can help make our stationary products easier to integrate by adding an RF modem. If the customer already has a wireless LAN in place, we can reduce installation costs by eliminating cables."
Biometrics - Proof Beyond A Doubt
For the past several years, time-and-attendance vendors have been steadily integrating biometric ID into their products. Jimmy Bianco, president of Control Module Inc. (Enfield, CT), said, "With a biometric ID system, employees cannot fool a time-and-attendance terminal. But, biometric ID can help in other applications as well. We now offer an employee kiosk that uses biometric ID to allow employees instant access to their personal information."
The hardware for the kiosk is basically a touch screen computer with a fingerprint ID addition. Bianco said employers station the kiosk in a cafeteria or break room. When employees are on their own time, they can access information such as their job schedules, pay, 401K results, and remaining sick days and vacation time. "With the kiosk, employees can get the information they need without wasting the time of the human resource staff," said Bianco. "We offer versions of the kiosk that allow employees to swipe a badge or keystroke their name into the terminal. But without biometric ID, the system is not secure. Knowing that biometric ID is securing their personal information seems to soothe employees' concerns over privacy issues."
Partner With Software Experts
Most time-and-attendance vendors will help their resellers with installations. But eventually, VARs must be able to perform integration services on their own. Peter DiMaria stated, "Our terminals provide good, clean data from the shop floor, but it is the third-party, front-end software that disseminates the information and compiles it into a useful tool for businesses. VARs must understand ERP (enterprise resource planning) software systems such as those provided by SAP and Oracle. Sometimes vendors and VARs can work with ERP vendors to cater a system to meet customers' needs."
Read The Handwriting...
New technologies are hitting the market at a record pace. Smart vendors and resellers will keep a close eye on new products and watch for ways to enhance their current offerings. In tough times, customers will demand the most for their dollars. The question is, will you be able to meet their demands?