Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Categorizing hour types

Taking the time to setup proper hour types is important in your time clock system.

If you setup too few, you don't get the reporting and the detail that you will want out of your system.  Setting up too many is not a good idea either.  This will complicate your system and hurt usability.

What are hour types?  Simply they represent types of hours your employees can have on their timecard.  For example, some common hour types are:

Holiday
Sick
Vacation
Military
Jury Duty
PTO (Paid Time Off)

If you want to go into further detail, you can setup more advanced types.  Such as:

Training
Unpaid Absence
Unpaid Sick
Funeral

Taking the time to setup an adequate number of types will provide your system with quality reporting.  However, don't go overboard and setup too many.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Exporting time clock data to pay roll

When choosing a time & attendance system, one key thing to verify is if the T&A system has the ability to export the time data to your desired Pay Roll system.

You might purchase a time clock system that has 50 exports to various Pay Roll systems.  Make sure to verify that there is an export to the PR system that you currently use.  Otherwise, at the end of every pay period, you will need to data key the hours into your PR system.  Depending on the size of your company, this may be a very time consuming task.

Now, another tip is verifying that the export works properly.  Say for example you use Quickbooks for Pay Roll.  The export for Quickbooks may be designed for an older version.  Make sure to get a sample export that you can test and verify.  It sometimes can be very costly to "refine" an export at a later time.  This requires a programmer to go in and modify the export based on your desired specs.

Depending on the size of your company, this aspect of choosing the right T&A software can save you thousands of dollars per pay period in manual labor.

The other consideration is making sure the systems are setup properly so that everything matches.  If you have setup 20 departments in Quickbooks, those 20 departments needs to be setup within your T&A system for the export to be accepted.  Employee IDs are another field that need to be mirrored.

If you would like an expert to help you pick the right T&A system for your company's needs, let me know.  I've personally installed, configured, and fully setup several hundred systems in my 12+ year career.  I am one of the most experienced individuals in this industry and can help you make the right decisions in terms of both software and hardware.  You can reach me at pduong@tabletpunch.com.  Take care!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Defining a proper department structure

Tracking an employee's clock ins and outs is important to have an electronic record of their punches, but it may be important for your company to track what department their hours are going to.

Many companies have their employees working in one department everyday, but you may want to track several departments.  For example, an employee may work the first 3 hours in Dept A, but then the remaining 5 hours in Dept B.

Make sure to setup your department structure to clearly reflect the departments at your company.  You never want to setup too few - this will give you limited reporting options.  However, you never want to setup too many - this will also be a detriment to reporting.

Another key thing to remember is the coding of the departments.  You can either setup numeric or alpha or alphanumeric.  Make sure to think this through.  If employees are going to do department changes at the clock, it may be best to setup numeric does.  This will allow the employees to change their departments by just keying in numbers.  Some clocks don't even support alpha characters - so definitely be careful.

I have personally installed, configured, and trained the end users for several hundreds systems all over North America over the last 12+ years.  You will not find many individuals with my level of knowledge in this industry.  If you want my expertise, feel free to email me at pduong@tabletpunch.com.  A well designed system can save your company tens of thousands of dollars - or even hundreds of thousands of dollars - depending on the size of your company.  I generally work with companies that have between 50-2,000 employees.  

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Choosing the right hardware time clock...

There are a few key questions you should ask when sourcing for the right time clock.  My experience is with implementing new time clock systems for small businesses.  The size of businesses I've worked with ranges from 5 employees up to 2,000.

When choosing the right time clock for your company, there are 4 key questions that need to be answered properly.

1) What type of input will your employees use?

There are many types of input options.  What is an input?  It is how the employee will identify themselves at the clock.  Many clocks do keypad entry - where the employee keys in their badge/card number.  Some clocks require the employee to swipe a magnetic/barcode card.  Other clocks allow for the use of proximity cards.  Biometric clocks can accept a biometric entry - whether it is the employee's finger or hand.  There are other options out there, but these are the most common.  So - first things first - answer this key question. How do you want your employees to identify themselves at the clock?

2)  What communication type does the clock require?  

If you are setting up the clock in a normal business environment, the clock you select should have an Ethernet card - so you can easily connect the clock to the network.  Some time clocks are designed to directly connect into a computer, but this method is rather out-dated.  Some clocks allow for WIFI communication.  Some clocks are mobile and communicate over cellular.  It is best to have a talk with your IT person and determine where the clock(s) will go and what communication type is best.  Choosing the right clock communication in the beginning eliminates the need to have the hardware switched out.  Saving your company both time and money.

3)  What features do you want the clock to perform?

I run across this issue a lot.  A client purchases a clock.  During implementation, we discover together that the clock they purchased doesn't have the feature they want.  So - what do you want your employees to do at the time clock?  Clock in and out?  Lunch punching?  Break punching?  Do you want them to be able to see their last punch?  Are they going to change departments or jobs at the clock?  Make sure to ask about these features.  I've seen it too many times - where a client purchases a clock, but then the clock can't perform the feature that they want.

4)  What environment will the clock be in?

Where is the clock going to be mounted?  Indoors?  Outdoors?  What environmental factors can affect the clock?  Do you need an enclosure to protect the clock?  Some clocks are not designed to be placed outside.  So make sure to ask these questions during the sales process.


My experience is in implementing new systems.  I have personally implemented several hundred time clock systems over the last 12+ years and am one of the most experienced professionals in the U.S.  My experience and knowledge will save your company tens of thousands of dollars per year, and I will help design a system that works best for your company's labor workforce.  If you would like my assistance, feel free to email me at pduong@tabletpunch.com.  I'd be more than happy to review your requirements and see how I can help.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Employee IDs - Critical Field

When setting up a new time clock system, there are many fields that are important and need great attention.  One of the most important fields is the EMPLOYEE ID field.

This field uniquely identifies the employee.  Some systems allow for numeric IDs.  Some systems allow for alphanumeric IDs.  For example, an employee John Smith might have an ID of either 'jsmith' or '0001.'

Properly setting this up will save you a lot of trouble in the future.  If your company has 1,000 employees, your ID format should be able to handle that number of employees, but also take into consideration turn over.  So, numbering your IDs - in this scenario - with 001,002,003, etc would be an unwise decision.  Since it limits your employee count to 999 total.

Another key consideration is what you plan to do with the time data at the end of the pay period.  If you are wanting to export this data to a third party pay roll company, the EMP ID in your time clock system should match the pay roll system's EMP ID setup.  If they don't match, the data will not export properly.

Some time clock systems allow you to change the EMP ID in the future.  However, some are not as forgiving and will not let you change.  So be careful there...

If you want assistance in setting up a new time clock system or would like a review of your current system, I'm your man!  I've done system implementations since 2001 and have done over 700+ systems personally.  You will not find another person in the U.S. that has done as many as I have.  If you do, let me know.

To contact me, please email me at pduong@tabletpunch.com.  Let me know what you are trying to do.  If I can help, I will.  

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

College Job - My start in the T&A industry...

College Job

My career started in the Time & Attendance industry when I was in my 2nd year of college - this was approximately November 2001.  Through a temp-to-hire position, I started doing technical support for a reseller of T&A systems in Northern California.  

My position at the company was to field calls/emails regarding technical issues with the software or hardware.  Some common issues that came in were regarding polling time clocks problems, pay roll policy changes within the software, data calculation issues on employee time cards, etc.  

One area that made troubleshooting difficult back in 2001 was there wasn't really remote support tools available to us.  Nowadays, you can simply remote into the client's computer and view the software issue.  Back in those times, I had to do it the "old way."  Request screen prints and having the client email/fax that in for review.  I estimate that I have resolved 18,000+ support tickets over the course of my career.

Shortly into my position, I was promoted to doing system implementations.  In fact, I started doing implementations January 2002.  An implementation consists of: Installing the software & hardware, configuring the system policies, training the end users, and transitioning the company to using the system "live."  I estimate that I have successfully implemented 700+ systems in my career!  I don't believe there is a person in the United States that have done as many implementations - personally - than I have.  If you find someone, let me know.

I currently work for a startup company - TabletPunch, Inc.  I mainly handle implementations for this company.  The company participates in the same industry.  Their unique product offering is a tablet-based time clock.  You can find more information by going to www.TabletPunch.com.

If you would like my expertise in helping you implement a time clock system for your company, send me an email.  I can be reached at pduong@tabletpunch.com.