VAR Finds Biometrics Gaining Acceptance
VAR Realsoft Systems had little opposition when it sold one customer a biometric time and attendance solution. In fact, the customer later installed the same solution at two more of its facilities.
Sometimes you never know what types of additional projects you can uncover from your existing customers. Take Mark Lazarow's experience, for example.
Lazarow is president of Realsoft Systems, a VAR specializing in time and attendance and access control systems. One of his clients exports used clothes, shoes, and general textiles and also recycles industrial wiping rags. "I was actually performing some maintenance to the company's computer network [another service Realsoft occasionally offers] when I found out about its time and attendance problem," Lazarow explains.
To punch in and out, the 120 employees at the company would swipe their ID cards through an electronic card reader. The reader used DOS-based software that required the collected data to be reentered into the client's payroll application. "The existing time and attendance system had limited reporting functions," Lazarow says. "It was not accurate nor did it have the ability to view real-time data [i.e. who was actually in the building at any time]. It also didn't have a department switching function for when an employee changes positions within the company and needs to be accounted for under a new cost center." Although the company wanted real-time data to monitor overtime - and thus, reduce costs - its fear of buddy punching was still the main reason for choosing a biometrics-based time and attendance system.
Offer No More Cards, Time Theft
Of course, biometrics is the obvious choice for any company experiencing buddy punching. Using a person's unique physical characteristics (i.e. fingerprint, iris, hand) to clock in and out absolutely eliminates the possibility of an employee getting paid for not being at work. Despite this obvious advantage, and the fact that ID cards can be eliminated with such a system, many companies have been reluctant to install biometric readers because of employees' fear that their identities could be stolen if their biometric templates fell into the wrong hands. It's an objection VARs like Lazarow have heard for years. It is also an objection that is becoming more rare as biometric technology gains more widespread acceptance.
"We recommended the Synel [Mississauga, Ontario] SY-780 biometric terminals for this customer," Lazarow says. "The fingerprint technology was new for them; however, the benefit of not using/replacing ID cards plus the immediate stoppage of time theft made it an easy sell. Although, we did have to explain there was no connection between this type of fingerprint system and the ones used in law enforcement," he adds.
The SY-780 offered the client more detailed attendance reporting than the previous system. These units also include job reporting and shop floor control reporting, as well as real-time database queries. The terminals communicate in real time with other databases using TCP/IP (an open computer communications language) or UDP (user datagram protocol).
Eliminate ID Card Costs
The sales cycle for this $6,300 project was six weeks. Realsoft sold two SY-780 terminals, InfiniTime (Bellflower, CA) time and attendance software, and an annual service contract to the customer. The installation and integration lasted about four hours and the training, which pertained primarily to the system's software, took approximately three hours.
"Today, the company can monitor employee attendance in real time, thus eliminating any unnecessary overtime costs," states Lazarow. "There is no fear of buddy punching, and the customer has eliminated the cost of the $4.00 ID cards it had been using with the old system. In fact, we later sold two more identical systems to two of the company's other locations."