Accurately tracking the hours an employee works is an age-old problem. It was more than a century ago, in 1888, that the first time clock was invented to address the issue. In fact, the technology company IBM owes its start to the time clock. Back then, time was recorded by manually punching or stamping the card that corresponded to a specific employee. Some time clocks still use this method, but the industry is evolving to overcome the unique challenges that come with timekeeping in the digital age.
The first major improvement to the basic time clock—which required manual calculation of the hours worked—was the self-calculating machine. At the end of each period, this type of time clock totaled up the time recorded to allow quicker processing by human resources or payroll.
In the late 20th century, computer-based time and attendance systems began to replace mechanical time clocks. With these systems, a magnetic stripe card, barcode or radio-frequency identification (RFID) tag replaced the paper time card. And more recently, some systems have added sophisticated biometric readers to identify the employee within the system.
Why so high tech?
Each advancement in the time clock was an effort to improve the accuracy and efficiency of timekeeping and to help overcome the challenges that are inherent to the process. These include:
- Miscalculated time – Manual calculation of time increases the possibility of errors.
- Overstamping – Stamping one time over another allows tampering with time sheets.
- Buddy punching – One employee asking another to clock in on their behalf creates false entries.
- Federal regulations – Employers must keep accurate and complete records on hours worked to comply with U.S. laws.
These and other issues can cause serious problems for a company. According to the American Payroll Association, more than 75 percent of companies lose money from buddy punching, accounting for between two and five percent of payroll expenses.
TimeForge can help.
The best way to overcome these challenges is through technological innovation. That’s why TimeForge Time Clocks use biometric identification to reduce inaccuracies, preventing buddy punching and increasing efficiency when clocking in and clocking out. Proprietary fingerprint matching algorithms ensure the correct time is tracked for each employee, while respecting employee privacy—fingerprint data is encrypted within the device.
By integrating the time clock with the other TimeForge workforce management solutions, you can easily enforce the posted schedules and reduce overtime. You can also streamline the payroll process and ensure compliance by feeding the attendance data directly into TimeForge Payroll.
Ready to bring your business into the 21st century with sophisticated retail time clocks? TRUNO TimeForge can handle tracking time—as well as integrating your time clocks with scheduling and payroll.