A few years ago biometrics and biometric time clocks may have sounded futuristic. Today’s standards have finally caught up with technology and biometric technology is turning into a daily occurrence. Whether it’s for security purposes such as access control, or restricting friends from clocking other friends in, known as buddy punching, businesses are seeing the return on investment when incorporating biometric time clocks into their workforce.
Two major types of biometric technologies have been mainstream, biometric finger print and biometric hand readers, known as the HandPunch. Only recently have we seen other biometric technologies share the mainstream light and these are iris recognition and facial recognition, but cost and compatibility have kept these from approaching the forefront.
Each biometric technology has its own positive and negative characteristics, most notably with the biometric fingerprint and the biometric HandPunch. Biometric fingerprint is the most common of all technologies found on anything from a laptop PC, door locks, and yes, even time clocks.
Once the decision has been made to implement a biometric time clock for your labor management you will want to consider the environment that your employees are in. For instance, if your employees work in a dirty or harsh environment such as kitchen cooks, auto mechanics, and landscapers, you may want to consider the biometric HandPunch over the biometric fingerprint. In an office environment the fingerprint stays intact and is not punished by a harsh work environment; but remember each technology has its own benefits and drawbacks!
Biometric fingerprint measure the minute ridge formations and patterns on the finger tips. You will not find two people that have the exact same fingerprint patterns. Also the patterns remain unchanged throughout their lifetime. These patterns are then changed into a number through an algorithm used, so that no visible image of the fingerprint is taken.
Biometric hand readers, better known as the HandPunch, use hand geometry technology to verify employees when they clock in or out. This hand geometry includes length, width, thickness, and surface area that are covered by the hand. You can think of it as the 3D shadow of your hand. The HandPunch technology also grows with you. As employees punch throughout the day, weeks, and months, you may lose or gain weight, but don’t worry, the HandPunch tracks your hand geometry. It then takes the latest punch, compares it to your hand template on file, and then averages out the dimensions each time, i.e. growing or shrinking with you.
As stated before, each biometric technology has its own benefits and drawbacks. For instance, we stated earlier that a biometric fingerprint works well in an office environment. This is true, but you may say to yourself, “Wouldn’t the hand reader do the same?”, and the answer is yes it would. One thing to consider though is we know people like to accessorize with rings or long fingernails, and sometimes these can change overnight. These slight changes could change your hand geometry, which could give a false biometric read of your hand. I’m not telling you that it will never work in this environment, but we do want you to be aware that issues may arise using a hand reader in this environment.
A fingerprint may get damaged from a number of reasons, one of them possibly being burned or melted away. Think about restaurant cooks slaving over a hot stove and touching very hot plates time and time again. Their fingerprints will suffer during this time, and possibly fade or lose the characteristics until they’ve had time to regenerate. Another example is a dirty environment such as auto mechanics. This type of work can leave dirt and grime in the small ridges of their fingerprints, possibly giving a false read, or making it tougher to get a good read with dirty hands. These are just some of the environmental situations you should consider.
One huge benefit for purchasing a biometric time clocks is that they will pay for themselves year in and year out. When a friend can’t clock another friend in after getting a text or a phone call saying he’s running late and to “just clock me in”, you just saved yourself some money. We all would like to think that buddy punching doesn’t happen, it’s just that, one buddy punching for another buddy. They aren’t thinking of it as stealing but as helping a friend out. As an owner/manager you are the one that sees the bottom dollar, and know how this occurring in a workforce could hurt every aspect of the company, including productivity.
We just reviewed some of the considerations when choosing a biometric time clock for your workforce. As a company owner, you can’t go wrong with the return on investment with biometric time clocks. Make your life easier, keep your employees honest, and increase productivity by getting a time and attendance software system with a biometric time clock today.