Time Clocks and Time Tracking

Produce Magic Software Provides Excellent Time Clock and Time Tracking

Produce Magic Software includes extensive time clock programs that use PC’s with bar code slot readers for time clock input.

The data files can be read and written to from our Produce Magic Software Windows programs. Separate time clock input PC’s are normally used in each cost center, for employees in that cost center to log in and out. That is done so the In / Out time records contain the cost center and G/L code for the cost center. Most companies have an abundant supply of older PC’s that are not usable for current Windows programs, so that provides a good use for those machines.

If a company does not have older PC’s, they are readily available for very low prices. Those PC’s need a 100 Base T Ethernet card so they can talk to the rest of the network. They also need to be set up to work on the network, which will take a Network technician 30-60 minutes per system (including installation of the Ethernet card). Remote sites, like at a farming location, can use stand alone PC’s for time clock input.

The time clock data files could be transferred to the main system each week for payroll processing. Those data files could be transferred via modem or Internet. The time records could also be approved by supervisors at that location and summaries printed at that location at the end of each pay period. Then the printed reports could be transferred to the location where the payroll is done. Employee Time card badges are printed from the program on a laser printer.

The time card badges have the employee code in a bar code on the bottom, so it can be read easily by a bar code slot reader. These cards can be laminated and used by the employees to log in and out. Employees log in and out, by swiping their time card badge through the bar code slot reader that is attached to the time clock PC in their cost center.

The employee code could be typed at the keyboard instead of swiping the badge if desired but we have found swiping a badge is much faster and provides much better results. Previous versions of the program had the employees type their employee codes, which did not work well at all. It took ten times as long to log people in and a supervisor had to assist many of the people with typing their code into the system.

Some versions had the employees swipe their badge through the slot reader, then type I for In or O for Out. That seemed VERY simple, but the information was incorrect more than half of the time. Logic was added to the programs to tell whether the employee is logging in or logging out. The employees just swipe their time card badges now and the program does the rest. When a badge is swiped through the slot reader, the program checks to see if there is an open In / Out time record for that employee code.

An open In / Out time record is one that has an In time without an Out time. If that is found, the current date and time is inserted into that In record, as the Out date and time, which completes that record. If the system does not find an open In / Out time record for that employee code without and Out date and time, a new record is created and the current date and time is used for the In Date and Time.

Many companies keep the time card badges in their office and put the time cards out on a board by the time clock PC’s when it is time to log in and out. In some cases, it may be indicated to have someone watch that the people are using only their own time card. That is only needed for the few minutes that people are logging in and out for the shift. A video camera trained on that area might prevent time clock problems.

A monitor is attached to the time clock PC and displays the employee code and name after the card is swiped (or the employee code is typed in). The date and time is also shown on the screen. Messages can be entered for employees before they log in or out, which are displayed on the screen when swipe their badge.

The messages can be input in the language of choice for that employee. Each record stores the actual date and time logged in and out and the USED date and time for in and out. An employee might log in fifteen minutes before the start of the shift, but their actual time starts at the start of the shift. If desired, the program can be set to automatically change the USED time to be the start of the shift.

In / Out employee time records also store the employee code, cost center / project, G/L account for the cost center / project, employee department / crew, employee labor class, hourly wage, total hours, total regular hours, overtime hours, number of pieces for the line (for piece work), rate per piece for the line, total pay for the line. Each employee can have any number of labor classes, each of which can have a different rate. The same employee might be paid a different wage for the time they are operating a forklift, etc.

These records can also store the number of pieces completed and the piece rate for piecework. The time is stored along with the piecework information so if the number of pieces times the piece rate does not come up to the default minimum wage that is set up in the system, then the hourly wage overrides the piece work total for that shift. Employees have a department / crew, class, shift and wage assigned. A differential amount can be input for each shift, so the night shift could add something like $.50 to the regular hourly rate and the graveyard shift could add something like $.75 to the regular hourly rate.

If the pay type, pay rate, cost center / project or G/L Account changes for an employee during the shift, the employee normally logs out and in on a time clock once and the changes are noted by the supervisor and fixed by the supervisor at the end of the shift. If desired, the employee could log out and log in again at the new cost center each time their pay type, pay rate, cost center / project or G/L Account changes.

The system could easily be customized to allow a cost center / project and labor class card to be swiped right before swiping the employee card to get the correct information into that record. The employee could then log in and out of any time clock PC.

Most companies just have the employees log in at the start of the shift and out at the end of the shift. Then Supervisors make group changes for lunch hours or changes in cost center or project codes or individual changes for change of pay type or pay rate, etc. In / Out employee time records can be split to deduct time within that record or to change cost centers, pay rates, etc. This can be done for entire crews. For example, all employees might take a 30 minute lunch at 11:30 each day. The employees could log in at the start of the shift and log out at the end of the shift, but not log out and in for lunch. After the employees have logged out, the In / Out records will have an In time for the start of the shift (8:00 for this example) and an Out time for the end of the shift (16:30 for this example).

A program is provided that lets supervisors enter time deductions for one employee or an entire crew. In this example, the date of the shift to be changed would be entered, then the crew code would be entered, then 11:30 for the Out Time and 12:00 for the In Time. The program would then split each of the In / Out records for members of that crew that had In / Out records on that date and during that time. The In time of the original record stays 8:00 as it was, and Out time is changed to 11:30. Then a new line would be created for each employee with the In time as 12:00 and the Out time as 16:30 in this example. For most companies, this is much easier than having all of the crews log out and back in for lunch.

After each shift, supervisors can display the In / Out time records for their crew and make any corrections that are needed. For this example, assume the In / Out record was 8:00 In and 11:30 Out. If an employee was gone for a doctor’s appointment from 9:40 until 10:35, that employee In / Out record could be split right in that time record by pressing F5 on a certain field. A window pops up to input the new Out time and new In time and the reason for the change.

The original record would then have an In time of 8:00 and an out time of 9:40. Then a new record would be created with an In Time or 10:35 and an Out time of 11:30. Supervisors press F5 on the approval field of each In / Out time record as they are approved. The approved records move to the bottom of the not paid list, which makes it easy to move through all of the unapproved records.

Making changes to time records right after shifts end seems to work best, since everything is still fresh in the Supervisor’s mind. This could be done at the end of the payroll period, but the accuracy normally goes way down. The Produce Magic Software time clock programs compute the total gross wage for each pay type, each pay rate and each General Ledger Account for each employee.

Most companies have to manually compute this information from time cards, so having the compilation, approval and totaling done by the program saves a great deal of time. Some of our customers replaced one or two employees by using out Time Clock programs. For some companies, savings in payroll processing alone pays their entire month software lease cost. At the end of each payroll period, summary reports are printed that prints each employee’s time records, which are separated by pay type, pay rate and G/L account number (of the cost center / project).

A subtotal record is printed for each employee, for each different pay type, pay rate and each different G/L account number for that period. For each subtotal and total, it prints the total regular hours, pay type, pay rate, total regular gross pay, total overtime hours, pay rate for overtime, total overtime gross pay, total number of pieces, piece rate and extension for each rate and G/L account. When piecework is used, defaults can be set to use hourly wage for lines that do not meet a minimum wage per hour.

These period end summary reports can be printed with all of the detail for the employee files. They can also be printed with just the subtotal for each employee, for each different pay type, each different pay rate and each different General Ledger account, then a total for the employee. Tt is very simple to manually input the information into the payroll package, using the printed totals only report. Some companies just input the total gross wage for each employee and some input the total hours and rate for each different pay type, each different pay rate and each different General Ledger Account.

The payroll package of choice then computes the withholding and prints the payroll checks. With a little customizing, the totals could also be output to a specified text file that could be imported into a Payroll package of your choice, so the totals would not even need to be input. For large payrolls, that would save a lot of input time and avoid input errors. Many payroll packages have the ability import text files in that manner.