T&A, Cost Control Charms of Biometrics
Margaret Hanna knows the donut business but she faced a “hole” in the operation.
“We were using timecards but had numerous problems with them, including employees losing their cards. Plus, our time clocks were old and had to be replaced,” explained Margaret Hanna, office manager for Alliance Management, a Dunkin’ Donuts franchisee with 30 stores in Middlesex, Mercer and Cherry Hill counties in New Jersey.
“This Dunkin’ Donuts franchise wanted more accurate, automated record keeping and to control labor costs,” added Fred Overbeck of Automated Time Concepts (Glen Head, N.Y.), the integrator. “The stores have lower-paid employees with a high turnover and were concerned with buddy-punching, in which one employee clocks in or out for another.”
“The new biometrics-based readers have made payroll much easier. We were able to eliminate one employee whose job it was to gather and review payroll records. Since biometric timekeeping takes less time and lets us reduce one position, we have saved money and got payback within months,” observed Hanna.
THE SOLUTIONNow Alliance Management (Avanel, N.J.) uses the readers in 27 of the stores, with three more pending, to record time and attendance information from their over 300 employees. The HandPunch readers are automating time recording and controlling labor costs.
“We started deploying the readers approximately a year ago,” continued Overbeck. He believes the hand geometry approach is more consistent than Fingerscan readers and more tolerant to subtle changes, such as sugar- or dough-coated hands.
Instead of filling out or punching timecards, employees simply place their hands on the readers. It automatically takes a three-dimensional reading of the size and shape of the employee’s hand and verifies the user’s identity in less than one second. Employees use the units twice a day, to punch in and out. Store managers edit the punches and forward pay files to the company’s in-house payroll department, which uses QuickBooks. Payroll is done bi-weekly.
“Problems we were having with the timecard system have been alleviated,” Hanna reported. “The first and last thing an employee does each day is go to the Schlage Recognition Systems’ HandPunch. All employees use it, including office administration. We now get our time sheets and time reports all on one sheet. The biometric system is much easier to use. Importantly, we’ve had no complaints or problems with the readers.”
SIDEBAR: Voice-based IDs Go POSA voice biometrics company and point-of-sale (POS) system producer have joined together to develop an accurate voice recognition-based identification, verification and payment system for school cafeterias. The system, which will be piloted in 2007, has a potential market of 800 U.S. school districts.
The system provides a practical, non-intrusive solution to the logistical challenges faced every day by school facilities managers – tracking meal accountability, enhancing student per minute processing time and increasing line speed – all to ensure kids get the meals they are entitled to, and get them fast. It also circumvents several major technological roadblocks previously posed to voice biometrics by the lunchroom set: rowdiness (background noise) and sudden voice change (affecting false acceptance/rejection rates).
The project marks a turning point in school maintenance and facilities management as the first time that voice biometrics will be deployed in PCS-licensed lunchrooms. Simply by saying a name and student number, students’ account data and photo come up on the food server’s screen, they are charged automatically, and the right lunch is placed before them. The system integrates CellMax Systems’ non-intrusive, physical biometric technology into all POS terminals offered by PCS. CellMax Systems’ natural speech-based VioMetrics solution will be added to PCS’ existing cardless ID product range, which includes picture roster, numeric keypad, fingerprint and/or barcode scanner.
PCS designs, manufactures and markets systems for school meal programs and is one of only eight USDA-approved software programs available for state agencies, school food authorities and local schools to implement Nutrient Standard Menu Planning (NSMP). More than 8,000 school systems with over 30,000 PCS Points of Sale have been installed in over 800 small, medium, large and major city school districts throughout the U.S.
The solution has also overcome the particular challenges posed by the school lunchroom environment.