Pennine Healthcare is a leading UK manufacturer and supplier of high-quality, British-made single use sterile medical devices.
The company was incorporated in 1963 and now markets its products across 50 countries. It employs several hundred people and believes in continual investment in employee development, training and technology, as well as in a safe, high-welfare working environment.
Back in 2016, Pennine Healthcare needed a new time and attendance monitoring and security system to replace their existing system after the 10-year contract with another company had run its course.
Pennine wanted to change supplier and product completely, IT Manager Mark Gillanders told the Tensor reporter. The reason? In Mark’s own words, their existing system was “clunky, lacking in features and missing necessary reporting and not fire roll call.”
After extensive research, Pennine Healthcare opted for a Tensor smart card system. Asked to explain the decision, Mark revealed that “Tensor offered everything we required and it was very competitively priced.”
Furthermore, Mark added: “Several of Pennine Healthcare’s own customers provided positive testimonials of their positive experiences using Tensor products, which was also a strong contributing factor.”
Tensor’s Operations Department engineers installed Pennine Healthcare’s new system in December 2019 with no major problems encountered in either the hardware or software.
Following the system’s successful commissioning, twenty-two of Pennine Healthcare employees were trained on the company’s premises on how to use the Tensor.NET software. Two were trained in the full administrator role and twenty in the supervisor-level system capabilities. Mark described the training as “Very thorough and detailed.”
Hardware-wise, the Tensor system comprised multiple T32xx smart card clocking stations with the rather elegant T17xx smart card readers and T8526 Door Access Controllers.
In the initial system, Pennine Healthcare also made good use of the Tensor T3461 and T3461X Biometric Fingerprint readers that were installed in their reception lobby and at the main employee entrance. However, with the outbreak of COVID-19 in March, the company suspended biometric authentication for health and safety purposes and asked Tensor to swap back to using smart key fobs on the Tensor.NET software. “This integration process was completed very quickly and smoothly by the Tensor engineering department”, said Mark.
The company was keen to point out that they use many of the available features of the Tensor .NET software, including attendance monitoring, holiday booking, access control and site security. They also use the integrated HR system to document and manage securely employee details.
One of the key reasons why Pennine Healthcare chose Tensor in the beginning was Tensor’s comprehensive fire roll call system available within Tensor.NET. This allows multiple printers per fire zone to automatically print a list of clocked-in employees in a safe area whenever the fire alarm is triggered. Pennine Healthcare have used this multiple times for fire drills, and Mark called its performance “Just what we wanted.”
The fire roll call feature is also available as a mobile app within Tensor .NET, enabling fire marshals to perform responsive, real-time checks on employees’ status. This method is beneficial during the COVID-19 pandemic, as a socially distanced roll call can be easily achieved.
Asked whether Pennine Healthcare plans to expand their Tensor system, Mark replied that the company intends to make more use of the phone-app Self Service Module (“SSM “) and the Tensor visitor management system.
The Tensor Self-Service Visitor Management App (SSVM) offers a secure, easy-to-use appointment booking system for visitors by transforming any compatible iOS or Android touchscreen device into a self-service checking-in kiosk. It also allows visitors to check-in at the premises for their appointments without involving a busy receptionist or necessitating wasted time writing in an insecure sign-in book.
Last, but certainly not least, the latest SSVM versions include a number of revolutionary features that enable complete touch-free, contactless operation, thereby reducing the risks of spreading COVID-19 on site:
- Visitor questionnaires can be accessed and filled in online, prior to the site visit
- QR or bar codes on appointment notification emails can be used to check IN or OUT without having to interact physically with the app’s tablet
- A new question format now allows visitor signatures to be captured via the signature question page of the online questionnaire
- The arrival email, automatically generated when a visitor is checked in via the SSVM app, can now be configured to include questionnaire answers plus the visitor’s captured signature.
Occasionally, Pennine Healthcare have needed the assistance of the Tensor Helpdesk for some software-related queries. When asked what he thought of the quality of the Tensor aftercare service, Mark praised the Helpdesk team, saying “They’re easy to get in contact with, responsive and knowledgeable.”
Summing up Pennine Healthcare’s experience using the Tensor system, Mark described it as “far easier to use than our previous system. It’s a high-quality, extremely configurable solution that meets all our needs and still has more to offer.”
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