Tensor Time and Attendance and Access Control system provides food for thought
March Foods Ltd is a privately owned business operating from an 11,000 m² (120,000 ft²) purpose-built factory in March, Cambridgeshire. It employs 150 people at this site and is one of the UK’s leading Food Contract manufacturers and packing businesses, specialising in providing timely and high-quality production services to customers.
The firm offers customers individually tailored production cells, warehousing, laboratory facilities, engineering workshops, offices, and an extensive range of blending, filling, and packing equipment. Its Project Engineering team provides a “concept to production” service ensuring that projects are handled in the most efficient manner.
Information Technology manager Kelley Lewis, who was involved in the decision to choose a new integrated security and attendance recording system, explained that the new system was installed when the company moved into its new premises.
Kelley described how they researched the security products available in the market and chose a Tensor smart card-based system because it was robust enough for their environment and quick enough to handle the throughput.
He added, “We had one clock at our old building put in by someone else, but when we moved to this factory we had a new system installed by Tensor”
Over almost ten years the Tensor system has worked reliably for March Foods and now comprises smart card Time & Attendance clocks and seven access control readers. These are controlled by Tensor’s WinTA software running on the company’s IT infrastructure. It is a combined Time & Attendance and security management system that integrates fast clocking time and attendance, plus door access control; while the WinTAnet software provides all the job costing, wages and hours data required for effective employee management.
“Originally, staff members were trained in the use of the WinTA software. Since then the system has worked well for March Foods,” remarked Kelley, who went on to describe how the factory’s security needs are met by the Tensor system. “We can program the security so that all the areas that need to be locked up at night are secure, like we want them to be”, he said.
March Foods makes full use of WinTA’s in-built Fire Roll Call feature. Kelley commented: “We have a fire test every Monday morning, and we use WinTA for fire drills. We have had a couple of incidents when someone pushed the fire alarm button and on these occasions. the system performed as it should”.
At March Foods, safety is ensured as the Tensor clocks and access control units are linked into their fire alarm system to trigger a fast, automated fire evacuation list in the event of an emergency. From the resulting print-out, their staff can be checked off at the designated evacuation point. Kelley said, “The print-out comes off and we take the logs with us to tick people off, and it works”.
Kelley praised the backup and support service provided by Tensor saying “We had a couple of teething problems when the system was first installed but these were all dealt with. I can’t even remember the last time we have had to call someone out from Tensor”.
Accurate information about holiday or absence planning and entitlement management is crucial for most businesses. Kelley explained that at March Foods “The supervisors have access to all the employees’ records like holidays. It’s a good way for the supervisors and managers to organise labour requirements and plan for holidays – it’s a good system and works well”.
Asked if he would recommend Tensor to other companies, Kelley replied, “Oh yes, definitely” summing up March Foods' experience of Tensor he concluded, “We’ve a got a complex factory set up here and we like the way the Tensor system is flexible enough to meet our demands. The WinTA system runs and runs without any major problems. That is why we’re happy with it”.
March Foods Ltd
7 Martin Avenue
Tel: 01354 660400