COMPUTER BUSINESS REVIEW

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Issue Date: January 2008

Managing time

1 January 2008

In the current economic climate, it is critical for organisations to ensure they can maximise the productivity of their employees by achieving higher levels of efficiency and productivity. As organisations struggle to lower operational costs and increase productivity, the cost of manpower is steadily rising.
Labour usually represents one of the largest costs within an organisation, and as a result is a primary target of cost saving efforts. However, labour is also a critical resource that is most essential to an organisation achieving its business objectives. In addition, labour is the only sensitive component when it comes to funding - machines do not have the luxury of complaining if they are decommissioned or forced to run at a more economical rate.
Based on this, the more productivity an organisation is able to extract from its employees' contracted hours, the more efficient and profitable it will become. Generally profitable organisations are better places for employees to work at than those in a continual struggle for survival.
Better manage employees' time
The first step in this process is to have accurate data on the actual time worked, and in more advanced solutions, to have accurate time clocked against each activity of an entire process. This will facilitate accurate job costing where processes that absorb abnormally high costs or are grossly and inefficient are more easily identified.
Looking at a time management solution, the following are issues that need to be addressed:
* Automation and streamlining by removing any manual time and labour processes, in order to ensure information accuracy and eliminate waste.

* Empowering of managers by giving them access to realtime labour data, to provide meaningful insight into employee performance and productivity measurements.

* Ensuring management decisions are aligned with strategic business goals and supported by timely information for the management of labour.

* Full integration between the existing Time and Attendance system and the HR/Payroll solution. There needs to be a single point of capture for any one transaction.
Time management
In order to capitalise on efficient and cost effective time management solution businesses should ensure that the following areas of functionality are addressed.
* Be able to manage and alleviate all unnecessary absenteeism through accurate reporting through graphical calendars and trend analysis.

* The system should be able to notify management on an immediate regular basis of the daily early and late entrants.

* All data should be collected electronically - via biometric technology or transponder card technology to eliminate fraudulent activities as far as possible time collection - no manual errors.

* Overtime needs to be managed as this is an area where costs can spiral out of control, especially when management is given the relevant information too late to act on.

* Building a comprehensive set of history records of all clockings, will enable your organisation to better manage good labour practices and also provide data for statistical reports to identify trends.

* Your system should link to an access control module that can intelligently provide access to the relevant employees to the relevant areas at the relevant times. This will also enable you to determine at all times, who is on your site, and where, and also assist in eliminating fraudulent clockings.
As part of the successful implementation of a time management solution, it is important to ensure that the right people at work are at the right place and at the right time in addition to ensuring that the data gathered is accurate. Various data collection systems are available, from simple access control systems to large scale building management applications implemented across a WAN infrastructure. However, the latest trend within the market, especially for time management, is that of biometric technology.
Biometric technology allows organisations to be able to accurately identify any individual, at any time, prior to accessing a controlled area. One of the biggest benefits of a biometric solution is that of fraud elimination. No longer can employees clock in or out for each other, and access systems can be set to allow access per individual, per area, thus eliminating security risks. With this technology now reaching a mature stage, the issues of reliability have been resolved, and as with any technology, the costs are no longer prohibitive.
In conclusion, by combining the technologies of the ideal time management solution utilising biometric technology, organisations can become equipped to reduce labour costs, increase productivity, and drive business value throughout the organisation.
Rob Bothma, divisional manager at Q Data DynamiQue
Rob Bothma, divisional manager at Q Data DynamiQue
For more information contact Rob Bothma, Q Data DynamiQue, rob.bothma@bcx.co.za


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