Magazine Article | April 19, 2006

Biometric Time Clocks Eliminate Buddy Punching

Source: Innovative Retail Technologies

A home recreation retailer reduced the time required to track employees’ work hours for payroll, while improving scheduling capabilities.
A home recreation retailer reduced the time required to track employees’ work hours for payroll, while improving scheduling capabilities.

Integrated Solutions For Retailers, May 2006

American Sale, Inc. sells spas, pools, patio furniture, billiards supplies, and Christmas supplies. It currently has seven locations in the Midwest, with an eighth opening in the fall of 2006. It stocks its stores from a DC in Tinley Park, IL, where the corporate offices also reside. Because of its growth, the retailer was finding it increasingly difficult to track the hours worked by its 300 employees, create work schedules with several part- and full-time employees, and enforce scheduled work hours.

Robert Jones III, president of American Sale, formed a team of employees charged with finding a solution that could eliminate the possibility of buddy punching at all store locations and increase the speed and efficiency of the time tracking process within the stores. “We wanted to prohibit unauthorized hours of work and streamline the manner in which time sheet data was transferred from each location,” says Jones. “We were using an in-house AS/400 system that simply did not provide the functionality necessary to gain better control of our labor costs; thus we felt we could be paying employees unnecessarily. Managers downloaded a report from the AS/400 system, manually wrote the hours worked for each store per pay week, totaled them, and faxed the payroll time sheets to the corporate office. The payroll manager manually entered the hours worked for each employee into the payroll system for processing.” American Sale managers wanted a system capable of interfacing with its payroll service and payroll software. It also hoped to find a system with features that would facilitate employee scheduling.

The team reviewed several RFPs submitted by multiple vendors, including Commeg Systems, Inc. The team felt that Commeg’s solution, the TimePro Cyber Series system with biometric clocks from Accu-Time Systems (ATS), was the best solution for its stores. The biometric clocks eliminated any possibility of buddy punching, because the biometric sensor technology distinguishes a ridge from a valley in a fingerprint with sensors located on a 1-inch by 1-inch pod.

Prohibit Pay For Unauthorized Work Hours
The TimePro solution directly interfaces with American Sale’s payroll service, Paylocity, which then exports the hours worked for each employee into the payroll software. “This interface eliminates several hours of manual entry previously required when transmitting data from time cards to Paylocity, then again into the payroll software to ensure proper payments to employees,” says Jones. “Tailoring restrictions at the clock also cut labor costs by eliminating early clock-ins and late clock-outs, thus reducing overtime situations.”Through customization, the system also enables management to track current labor cost information on a daily basis, making it obvious when employees are approaching overtime for the pay period. For approximately $3,000 per store, the implementation allows American Sale managers to schedule employees more efficiently, reducing unnecessary staffing during nonpeak times. The elimination of manual entry has provided greater accuracy in payroll data, as well as a time saving of 7 to 8 hours per pay period. In addition, precise statistics are available through e-mail and report generation software, such as Business Objects Crystal Reports, enabling better control over employee labor costs, more accurate budgeting, and growth forecasting.