Staff Attendance Monitoring All Wrapped Up at Ultimate Packaging
Ultimate Packaging is the largest independent flexible packaging manufacturer in the UK, supplying a wide range of recyclable, compostable and reduced plastic film products.
The business is focused on the development of innovative packaging solutions – such as their state of the art ADAPT MAP™ technology that extends shelf life and reduces food waste. In fact, they have received numerous awards for their products, including the 2018 Sustainability Award from International Produce Limited that recognized the company’s hard work on improving the sustainability of Asda’s potato and onion packaging.
Ultimate Packaging employs around 250 people at the company’s headquarters in Grimsby, which is where the Tensor Access Control and Time and Attendance system was installed back in 2006.
“The system has proved very useful for checking our employees’ whereabouts and whether people are taking breaks correctly, while also increasing our site’s security through the access control elements,” Paul Gowing, the Ultimate Packaging ICT manager, told the Tensor reporter.
Ever since the system was installed, the company have never seen the need to look elsewhere because, in Paul’s own words, the Tensor products have always had “good functionality, a helpful support service, and a reasonable price point.”
Originally, Ultimate Packaging used the WinTA Enterprise software suite developed by Tensor, but has recently upgraded to the latest generation flagship Time and Attendance / Access Control platform, Tensor.NET.
Following the upgrade, Ultimate Packaging staff were trained on-site by a member of the Tensor training team, with the company opting for two separate sessions to correspond with two different types of users (administrators / normal users). Asked by the Tensor reporter to comment on the quality of the training, Paul – who attended both sessions in order to have a very good overview of all aspects of the new software version – revealed that “The training was excellent.”
In terms of hardware, the Tensor system deployed at Ultimate Packaging comprises:
- 2x T32xx clocking terminals. These innovative clocks can read smartcards through non-metallic objects, thereby enabling them to be stored conveniently in wallets or pockets. Their large colour screen makes it easy to confirm clocked transactions, read messages, check holiday balances, check flexi-time hours or book onto jobs. Each clock can store details for up to 8,000 employees.
- A number of smart-card readers for access control, designed to create separate secure areas, only accessible to authorized members of staff.
Software-wise, Ultimate Packaging opted for:
- An upgrade to the flagship WinTA.NET Enterprise Edition software, which is ideal for total control over the creation of working rules, Time and Attendance, Job Costing and System Security.
- The flexible HR module, enabling secure mass storage of employee information, with customisable input tables and easy-to-create reports.
- The innovative Self-Service Module (SSM), which allows employees to clock themselves in and out from their browser or on their mobile phones, say whether they are going off-site for fire roll call purposes, request leave and even book onto jobs.
Ultimate Packaging uses its Tensor system for both Time and Attendance and Access Control. The door controllers and clocking terminals are operated by radio frequency smart-cards. These are contactless and approximately the size of a standard credit card. They are very durable and long-lasting, while still thin and flexible enough to be carried in your wallet or pocket.
The Tensor.NET software platform is modular and offers many different features that can be added in order to maximise a company’s efficiency, such as the HR module. According to Paul, Ultimate Packaging would like to make more use of the HR module in the future, “in order to store their employee records more safely and reliably.”
Are Ultimate Packaging using the Tensor Access Control and Time and Attendance system to its full potential yet? Paul certainly thinks so, but there are still some areas of improvement, as they would like to “take more advantage of the fine-tuned granular possibilities of the Tensor Access Control system, which allows admins to assign access patterns specific to individual doors, individual people, and certain times of day.”
Due to the specific nature of their activity, which involves flammable materials, Ultimate Packing has decided to fully leverage the popular Fire Roll Call functionality provided by the Tensor Time & Attendance system, capable of controlling up to two printers for evacuation reporting purposes. On activation of a fire alarm panel, automatic roll-call reports are printed listing the names and departments of cardholders who remain on-site, while doors can also be configured to open automatically on fire alarm activation and lock automatically once the fire alarm activation condition has ceased.
The system enables administrators to book employees to a specific fire assembly point and removes the cardholder from the fire roll-call report to provide a real-time roll call of any cardholders remaining in the building.
Ultimate Packaging has been successfully using the Tensor Access Control and Time and Attendance systems for more than 13 years and has occasionally required the assistance of the Tensor Helpdesk and Operations departments to fix a couple of hardware and software issues.
When asked what he thought of the quality of the Tensor aftercare service, Paul responded ”The level of support from the Tensor Help Desk has been consistently very good throughout the years. As for the Tensor Operations engineers, they were very helpful and knowledgeable.”
However, these occurrences have been few and far between. And that’s because, in Paul’s own words, “Once the Tensor system is configured, it works and rarely has an issue. When it does, the problems are usually resolved quickly. The engineers that visit the site are friendly and extremely helpful; I can’t fault them.”
A very satisfied Paul summed up his experience of Tensor by saying: “We recently upgraded our Tensor software to .NET and the improvements have helped us become more efficient in all aspects of the system. We should have upgraded sooner!”
Ultimate Packaging Ltd