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Biometrics Provide Undeniable Time & Attendance for Beachside Resorts

To attend to the needs of the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club, Inc.'s guests, management employs 450 to 500 employees throughout the year and upwards of 600 employees during the summer season. For years, to record time and attendance information, management had to rely on barcode card swipe time clocks. However, this card system frequently was victim to "phantom-punch timekeeping," which occurs when cards are swiped but not read. In addition, management had numerous problems with lost cards and had to archive the numbers of the cards because particles inside the card reader would make the barcodes unreadable. Back in 2005, hotel management met with its consultant regarding these problems and the use of biometrics, specifically the Schlage HandPunch reader, was suggested as a possible solution to these challenges.

Undeniable control of time & attendance
Hand geometry readers are the dominant biometric technology used for access control and time and attendance applications, and is used in more biometric systems than all fingerprint and facial systems combined. More than 250,000 biometric hand readers have been installed in all types of industries in more than 80 countries.

Schlane's HandPunch reader looks at the three-dimensional size and shape of an employee's hand. The result of 90 hand measurements, including lengths, widths, thickness and surface areas, is converted into a nine-byte mathematical representation of the hand, which is stored as a template for later use and verification. To use the reader, employees plug in their employee numbers on the keypad and present their hands on the platens. If their hand matches the template, they are clocked in or out. The process takes about a second.

Management decided to use three HandPunch 3000's, installing them in three locations, the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club, the La Jolla Shores Hotel and The Marine Room. As such, they are located in employee entrance areas in a hallway, breezeway and kitchen. Even though we are right on the ocean, we have had no need for special enclosures.

Besides providing accurate timekeeping, the HandPunch 3000 has two user-definable data management keys that let us collect data as employees punch. Common uses include department transfers, tips collected, job codes or pay codes. Multilevel data entry sequences may be defined. Management can also set the data management keys to allow employees to review their past punches. To reduce keystrokes, the keys can also be set to automatically enter data such as a frequently used department number or in/out status.

Management also uses the readers' special function keys as employees transfer departments and to view an employee's last punch. The HandPunch readers poll several times a day to our NOVAtime time and attendance software.

A cost effective way to record time & attendance
Today, there are no badges to print, read, distribute, or lose at the hotels. There are also no paper trails to maintain. In fact, for those venues leading the charge to "green", a computer-based time and attendance system with a biometric front end provides a paperless solution.

Best of all, the hardware was very reasonable compared to quotes for complete systems offered through various payroll services. Implementing the hand readers was basically an unplug-plug-and-play operation. The old card-based time clocks were removed and the HandPunch readers were put in their place. We were up and running very quickly and had limited issues, which were solved practically on the spot.

Hotels, motels and resorts often face high turnovers as well as staff who frequently work odd hours, change shifts periodically and come and go at irregular hours. Therefore, many hospitality venues use HandPunch readers to eliminate buddy-punching, the act of one employee clocking in or out for another. It's easy to pass a card to another but nobody can pass along a hand!

Since implementing the biometric timekeeping solution, La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club, Inc. have not had any instances of "phantom-punches" or lost cards. This was especially problematic during the summer season when an additional 150 employees joined the hotel staff.
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