If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, goes the well-worn saying.  Monitoring employees working hours using traditional clocking in/out systems that are recorded manually to a spreadsheet is a case in point.  It seemingly works well, so why go to the expense and upheaval of implementing a Time & Attendance software based system?  Well, the cost of a Time & Attendance system is low and return on investment (ROI) fast; there’s really no upheaval involved if you pick your system and supplier well; plus, you get a host of added benefits.

What is a Time & Attendance System?

Time & Attendance systems automatically calculate employees’ attendance hours, overtime, holidays and absences – all exportable to payroll in minutes – and provide evidence in proof of compliancy with working time regulations.

A basic system will include a terminal/readers and software. 
The terminal/readers are used to capture the individual employee’s clocking in/out data and are available in card or fob and biometric formats, depending on your requirements and the nature of the site and activities.  The software, which makes all the relevant calculations, is either placed on your computers or can be browser-based.

It Pays to be Accurate

By far the greatest benefit of moving to a modern Time & Attendance system is accuracy.  Individual employee data is monitored and calculated in real time down to the second, including hours worked, breaks, overtime, absences and allowances.  Every type of work pattern and schedule can be recorded, including flexi-time.  

In logistics, drivers frequently work outside of office hours.  You either have to take their word for when their shift ended or you need to give them access to a clocking off facility inside the building, which compromises your security and is inconvenient all round.  Employing a modern Time & Attendance system enables the driver to clock out through an external electronic reader; quick, simple, accurate!

Top Features of Interest

Time & Attendance system have been around for a while but there are many new features and functionality being added all the time.  Rather than detail them all, here’s the latest features that are proving most popular with users in the logistics sector. 

Mobile app: remote workers, including drivers, aren’t able to clock in/out through an onsite reader, so extending the Time & Attendance system to them through a mobile app has been hugely popular.  Employees can not only enter in their times but also their exact location and any tasks they are carrying out. Depending on the sophistication of the app, they can also request holidays and perform other functions quick and simply.

Cost centring: for companies that require job costs to be allocated to a specific project or budget, or to be invoiced out, a Time & Attendance system is now almost essential as it provides details of the true cost and not just to the nearest hour or so (plus there’s evidence to verify it).  This has proven especially popular in logistics.

Presence Indicator Panel: this shows in real-time who is currently present and who’s not, which is ideal for fire role call. 

Automatic Payroll reporting: as well as calculating employee hours in real-time, Time & Attendance systems also come with full reporting and exporting features, enabling you to interface with your external payroll service provider.  

Cost Concerns

When taking into account the improved accuracy and the time, and subsequent cost, saved from manual entry, we estimate that ROI is around ten times the cost of the system.  We provide an easy to use calculator on our website – www.stanleysecurity.co.uk/resources/savings-calculator – if you want to check to see what the ROI could be for your business.  

A further option is to finance your system through a rental scheme, such as our own STANLEY Assure.  Rather than purchase the system outright, you rent the system, which is good for cash flow and removes the need to justify and raise capital outlay in a depreciating asset.  

Time & Attendance systems may not be new, but the increased functionality that has been added to them over recent years has been a real driving factor in their uptake.  A manual approach to Time & Attendance is like being on a winding country lane – it’s nice, but takes a while to get to your destination – when your business could be on the highway to arrive in half the time and without any wrong turns!

James Evans, Senior Account Manager at STANLEY Security