Every organization has a need to reliably track attendance to ensure orderliness and control everywhere from the production floor to the classroom. Having accurate and easy to access attendance data provides greater insight into employee productivity and reduces the time involved in payroll processing and crediting. Automating time & attendance tracking keeps your employees or students responsible for their own performance, eliminates estimation of times and errors and assures that everyone is compensated as accurately as possible.
With the right solution in place, time and attendance tracking system is easy to get up and running with minimal need for support. Using barcode or magnetic stripe ID cards keeps the system lean with less fraud and no paperwork to deal with. Manage your workforce more efficiently for maximized productivity while reducing the burden put on HR, payroll and IT staff.
What are the Key Benefits of a Time and Attendance Tracking System?
A time and attendance tracking system provides the cost saving benefits of:
- Accuracy – Eliminate inaccuracies of timesheets and falsified time logs with automated data capture.
- Simplicity – Record all pertinent information with just the swipe or scan of a card.
- Efficiency – Reduce the time required to process time and attendance data.
- Productivity – Manage your employee’s time and performance to optimize their capabilities.
What is Time and Attendance Tracking?
In an ideal world every employee arrives on time for work and every student attends every class. The reality of things is unfortunately quite a different case and having the tools to quickly and easily track time and attendance is needed in every organization. With the use of different scanning technologies, you no longer have to waste time managing punch cards or roll call paperwork either.
The first step to any attendance tracking system is providing each person you will track with a unique ID that can be scanned. You may already have employee badges or student IDs issued and as long as they have a barcode, magnetic stripe, or prox chip you can use them for attendance tracking as well. If you don’t have any type of ID issued, a simple card printer is an easy way to get cards with barcodes created. Customized ID cards deter fraudulent usage and speed up the overall process. Once everyone has a unique ID we can start tracking.
Since you will be tracking attendance for a given location or event, you will need to determine how many and where your check-in stations will be. A check-in station is where a user will scan their ID and record their attendance. A station can be a basic PC with a reader or an independent terminal. A terminal offers the ability to be placed in places where a normal PC may not fit and will have options for integrated scanners and readers. Whether a PC or terminal, both will run software that is logging and managing all the timing and attendance data. These systems can be batch collecting stations or networked to provide real-time updates.
The software running at each station will ultimately determine how you track attendance and to what detail. At the very minimum a system will track the user ID and a time but more detailed information can also be recorded. In the case of student attendance you may need to also track the class ID, room number and professor. In a manufacturing environment you may want to know at what station a user scanned in, what work area they are in that day and what task they were assigned to. Regardless of the environment, your tracking software will need to accommodate all the data you need recorded. Most software is very flexible in this regard and even completely customizable options are available.
The last concern with any system is integration with other systems. Any attendance application will be able to export all its data for further processing like payroll and accounting use but greater connectivity is possible as well. Many attendance tracking applications will be tied to an access control system for a building or a work in process system to gather employee performance and accountability information. With the appropriate software in place, a time and attendance application can become fully integrated with any business process for greater efficiency.
What Should You Address When Making a Time and Attendance Tracking System?
When putting together an effective and suitable time and attendance tracking system there are a few key questions to answer:
- How many people will you be tracking?
- Will you need an automated to managed check-in station?
- Are you tracking guest along with your employees/students?
- Will you use a magnetic stripe or barcode on the ID card?
- Do you already have ID cards in place?
- Will you need integration with other systems? Access control, work in process (WIP), accounting?
- What type of reporting will you need from the system?
What are the Components of a Time and Attendance Tracking System?
Time and attendance tracking systems consist of a combination of several components:
- Time Tracking Software – The tracking software is the brains of your system and will determine what details you track and how you are able to report from the system. Your need for compatibility with other systems and support for the ID type you use will determine what software is a best fit for your business.
- Fixed Terminal – While a PC can do a similar job, completely integrated terminals save space and allow for a completely unattended solution. Many will have scanners and readers embedded in them for a complete attendance tracking station.
- Barcode Scanner, MagStripe or Prox Reader – In order to accurately track an individual you need a means to read their ID. Depending on the technology used on your ID cards, a variety of easy to use readers can be implemented in an attendance tracking system.
- ID Card Printer – Every employee or student needs a unique identifier to be tracked by. An ID card printer allows you to create cards that are secure and customized to your business needs.