From Punch-Cards to Fingerprints: Tensor puts control back into management at SARIA
SARIA manufactures quality products in a wide range of sectors associated with the food chain, from animal foodstuffs, agriculture, aquaculture, and industrial applications. The company is also a leading producer of bio-fuels and renewable energy.
In the UK, the company started in Doncaster in 1926 as Prosper De Mulder and is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of the worldwide SARIA Group with a UK annual turnover approaching £280 million. They employ over 1,000 people at multiple sites across the country, with three sites where the Tensor time & attendance and security systems have been installed.
Steve Jowet, from SARIA told the Tensor reporter “that the company started looking for a system that would replace their aging workforce management systems”.
Steve explained he was not involved in the original decision making process, but he suggested that one of the main reasons why Tensor was selected was that “Tensor had the best modern system to replace SARIA’s very old-fashioned punch-card system”.
The first Tensor installation was in SARIA’s Doncaster site, with the company’s Nottingham and Widnes sites following afterwards.
As a large, multi-company and multi-site group, SARIA makes good use of Tensor’s Enterprise software versions of WinTA.NET (for time and attendance) and WinAC.NET (for access control). The Enterprise version offers the most extensive range of features and abilities that can be optimised for a “Group” organisation, including support for an unlimited number of employees located on multiple sites.
Steve, who plays a significant role in the day-to-day running of Tensor at SARIA, attended three training sessions (one per site), all of which were conducted by Tensor’s trainers at SARIA’s premises. Asked by the Tensor reporter to comment on the quality of the training, Steve replied: “It covered all the bases. The Tensor trainer was relaxed and didn’t create a pressurised atmosphere. He took things at our pace so that we could understand things fully.”
Are SARIA using the Tensor Time and Attendance and Access Control system to its full potential yet? Steve doesn’t think so, at least not yet, but this is something he aims to achieve in the near future – for example, mastering to set up the system to manage time off in lieu (TOIL) and complicated shift patterns.
Hardware-wise, SARIA use a mixture of biometric fingerprint readers, wireless smartcards and Tensor readers to record attendance and control security door access. Steve particularly likes the biometric system. However, he added that the Tensor smartcards are “Fast and easy to use, but sometimes employees do lose them”.
Asked by the Tensor reporter to describe what he likes most about the Tensor system, Steve replied: “The main advantage of the Tensor, from my point of view as an IT staff member managing it, is that software is very comprehensive making the management of data such as sick days and holidays easy to do accurately.”
Apart from workforce management and access control, the three SARIA sites are also making very good use of Tensor’s integrated fire roll call feature, which connects the company’s existing fire alarm system and a printer (or a smartphone app) to the Tensor access control system. When a fire alarm is triggered, the system automatically prints out a list of who is clocked in and onsite or makes the same list available in the Fire Roll Call app.
The hardware products are serviced on a yearly basis by the Tensor Operations Department engineers, and Steve described the Tensor hardware as “largely flawless”, with only a couple of minor repairs required. He has “no complaints” with Tensor’s service, and couldn’t think of an obvious area for improvement.
Asked whether SARIA had any plans to extend their Tensor system, Steve revealed that “there are several in the pipeline” and in summing up SARIA’s experience of Tensor, Steve concluded: “Tensor enables us to really put the control back into management.”
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