Clock machines are just so last century… They used to be the measure for productivity in so many companies the world over and were ever present in many South African companies as well.

They have however become a very redundant technology and have been replaced in most companies. However, before we completely knock the trusty clocking systems of yesteryear, we should add a bit of perspective.

The function they fulfilled has been crucial in businesses for many years. They were one of the biggest measures that companies put in place to assist with automating time and attendance. Over the years employees however started becoming wise to its limitations and started bypassing the system.

It became all too easy for people to clock in and then make themselves guilty of buddy clocking. This is a problem that has been experience for many years where employees would clock in other employees and the employers would not always be aware of the problem.

In a quest for efficiency a fool proof way of stopping this problem was needed. The first solution however didn’t assist in improving productivity as a person had to be stationed at the clocking machine to stop buddy clocking from happening, which in turn pushed up overhead costs.

Another solution was needed… one that would automate the time and attendance process…

The hero makes an entrance… Biometrics!

Over the past couple of years there has been a boom in the biometrics market and it taken over the time and attendance as well as access control duties in many companies. But what is biometrics?

Biometrics is the science of using any physical attributes that is unique to a person. This can include fingerprints, palm prints, facial recognition, voice recognition and retinal scans.

As these are unique for every person on the planet it is impossible to replicate and impossible to bypass.

Companies who really started to take the automation of access control and time and attendance seriously have all started using biometric scanning. The most often used form is through fingerprint scanning which can be done almost instantaneously.

But why should this be used instead of access cards? 

Access cards have been a good option for many years as well, but they do have their limitations. It is also very easy to lose an access card and the cards themselves result in a new overhead cost to the company. When it comes to biometrics it is something the person can’t lose.

There are a couple of things that stand out as positives for a company to consider a biometric solution and they include:

– access control through instant fingerprint recognition

– automatic time and attendance monitoring down to the second

– simplifies time and attendance monitoring, which allows for easier payroll reconciliation and can also be used for performance management

– overhead costs go down, while efficiency goes up

The applications of biometrics expands however reaches much further than that. It has been used successfully in many countries for border access control, elections and also monitoring attendance off site.

The old clocking machine played an important part in paving the way to improving productivity through time and attendance monitoring… but times change and biometrics will now take it into the future.