Tensor & John Smedley: Tight-Knit for 20 Years
John Smedley is a British family-run knitwear manufacturer established in 1784. It’s still producing garments from its original factory at Lea Bridge, Derbyshire, which spans over 13 acres and has many buildings some of which are over 200 years old. The buildings produce high-quality woollen garments, from spinning the raw wool to packing the final product.
In the 20th century, the company became a brand of choice for celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe to the Beatles, and was featured in British designs by the likes of industry star Dame Vivienne Westwood. In 2013 they were awarded a Royal Warrant of Appointment by Her Royal Majesty Elizabeth II as a “Manufacturer of Fine Knitwear”. Similar to Tensor, they are proud to say that all their products are “Made in Britain.”
John Smedley has over 350 employees and has been a Tensor customer for twenty years. They originally used Tensor’s WinTA software suite, but within the past 5 years, the company upgraded to the latest generation flagship time, attendance and access control platform called Tensor.NET.
John Smedley chose to upgrade their systems because, “the upgrade increased the compatibility with the latest Microsoft Windows and it was good value for money,” the company’s IT manager, Michael Waterhouse, told Tensor.
Around twenty John Smedley staff were trained on-site on how to use the new Tensor.NET system. The training was “good quality and very useful,” said Michael.
John Smedley uses Tensor.NET primarily for Time and Attendance monitoring and Workforce Management. Michael believes that they could “make more use of the HR functions within the system,” which allow employers to safely and securely record employees’ personal information.
They also use the Tensor fire roll-call feature in regular fire drills, which they find “very useful.”
The Tensor Fire Roll Call is quick, accurate, and reliable. On activation of a fire alarm panel, automatic roll-call reports are printed or generated in the Fire Roll Call app. Administrators can book employees to specific fire assembly points which removes them from the fire roll-call list in real-time.
John Smedley employees use Tensor contactless smartcards at the clocking stations to register themselves onto Tensor.NET. These smart cards use secure radio-frequency technology and can be read at a distance even through a pocket or wallet. Michael described these as “incredibly easy to use, very durable and fast.”
The COVID-19 pandemic lockdown has forced a number of John Smedley employees to switch to remote working. At the time of the interview in early April, the company was looking at using Tensor’s mobile phone Self Service Module (SSM) within Tensor.NET for to manage remote working times.
SSM works as a web-based app accessible directly from a browser or mobile phone. It allows employees to clock themselves in / out from wherever they are working, ideal for flexitime pattern where they can view their current flexi-balance. Holidays can be booked and approved via the app too.
SSM uses the phone’s GPS positioning data to verify the employees’ location, and has an option for employees to alert their managers if they are travelling abroad. This helps organisations to address COVID-19 concerns.
When asked to summarise the company’s long experience with Tensor, Michael said: “We have been using Tensor for approximately 20 years and find that it suits our requirements very well. The software is very functional and the quality of the programming is exceptional. We rarely have to speak to the Tensor helpdesk but when we do they are very knowledgeable and helpful.”
John Smedley Ltd