Modern, effective replacements for punch card systems (part 2)

Previously, we explored the use of punch card and logbooks for recording attendance, as they remain commonly used today. Also, we looked into the issues in managing attendance using these manual systems.

Namely, they scale poorly for large workforces, such as in factories and mills. The bigger the staff roster, the more supervisors are needed at the workplace. With hundreds, if not thousands of punch cards or dozens of logbooks to process, month-end payroll is a monumental task. It typically requires multiple clerks and days of manual data entry and cross-checking. 

Typically on the week of salary payments, payroll clerks face crunch time in finalising pay calculations. Account managers have to juggle mismatching records, imbalanced payroll calculations, and checking for errors and foul play in approving the month’s payroll.

Digital solutions in hardware and  software, however, are modernising punch card and logbook systems, letting us reframe HR best practices.  

Making attendance recording easier with biometrics 

Biometrics technology like fingerprint scanning is gradually replacing punch cards and ID tags. Instead, staff clock in and out of work using their fingerprints. This goes beyond preventing the hassle of replacement punch cards every month. 

The uniqueness of each fingerprint also prevents practice of the buddy system. Each tag is recorded directly into the HR and payroll systemExcessive cases of lateness,  tardiness, or absenteeism are automatically flagged for review, reducing the need for manual record checking. 

Portable fingerprint scanners and offline management systems are facilitating this practice in farms and estates. It’s allowing supervisors to perform rollcalls in the field, instead of at designated assembly points away from work areas. 

By integrating with systems like Quarto Attendanceyou can save hours of manual data entry work and facilitate automated payroll calculation simply by syncing your device with the central Quarto system. 

Keeping track of daily tasks and measuring in-the-field worker productivity

Taking a proactive approach goes  beyond just taking worker attendance. Apps like Quarto Connect do much more than just let supervisors take attendance digitally in the field. It also lets them assign  tasks to workers, track their  completion progress and measure individual worker productivity, all from a smartphone or tablet. 

This ensures that due processes in an estate such as planting, weeding, chemical spraying and manuring are properly assigned and carried out. Supervisors can then use Connect to record the quality of work done during inspections and grade workers  accordingly. 

With Internet connection, the data collected can be synced securely to the central Quarto management system. This in turn gives estate managers and key decision makers an overview of work routines and progress, resource usage, and labour costs. 

Improving workplace security and transparency 

As previously describedthe buddy system affects productivity and causes discrepancies between payable wages versus actual work outputThe lack of worker IDs in field work also makes it possible for phantom workers to assume the identity of another worker to greatly increase the risk of pilferage. 

Even the use of chip-based keycards  does not curb this practice entirely, as someone can just loan his/her keycard to another person. This also creates potential security issues, as they may grant access to high value or sensitivity areas. 

Biometric scanning, however, allows easy demarcation of work areas while off-limit areas like stores and vehicle garages are only accessible to approved workers with matching fingerprints. 

Integrating multiple solutions for greater benefits 

No single solution exists to mitigate  all the issues with manual attendance and payroll systems. Therefore, solutions  also need to be implemented at ground, processing, and management levelsBiometric scanning with Quarto Attendance, and field monitoring from the Quarto Connect app facilitate better on-ground operations and security. They form the first part of a larger chain of solutions. 

The Quarto HR management system is the next step. It allows HR managers to automatically update and combine collected data from the  Attendance and Connect modules into each staff record. It also improves worker autonomy by granting them access to their own pay slips at any time

Quarto HR lets workers make claims submissions and leave applications from a web browser. In doing so, this reduces paperwork and human labour, and simplifies multi-tiered processes. All the separate data from Quarto HR, Attendance, and Connect integrate seamlessly into the central Quarto management system. This means HR and Finance departments can work from one unified system for accounts and payroll. 

Facilitating better usage of HR resources 

Technology like biometric scanners and cloud computing are transforming agriculture and replacing manual systems with fully integrated digital solutions. As a result, stakeholders enjoys improved security even as the optimised workflow promotes more transparent work practices. In addition, they enjoy other benefits such as eliminating unnecessary bottlenecks, less manual work and likelihood of human errors. 

For more information about Quarto and how it helps your agriculture business, please visit our product page. 

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