Manual attendance timesheets are open to time theft, but an attendance punching machine is no better. Every year, attendance fraud costs companies over 28,00,000 crore. According to Zaheer Hussain, an HR expert in India running a six sigma consultancy, “Several statistics indicate that three out of four people don’t always report time on their attendance sheet accurately.”
As companies focus on their core business operations, keeping track of attendance fraud becomes difficult. Many companies replace attendance timesheets with attendance punching machines. However, these attendance systems have limitations too.
Buddy punching is a typical time theft fraud committed when a company uses an attendance punching machine. A better alternative is to use biometric punching machines that use human biological attributes to identify and record attendance.
If your company still relies on an employee attendance punching machine, it is high time you see a replacement. This article will explore the disadvantages of using an attendance punching machine and offer a reliable alternative.
What is the attendance punching machine?
An attendance punching machine is a system designed to verify a person’s identity and record time in and time out. Most punching devices use employee ID cards to access the company facility and record attendance. These cards have information such as employee ID, employee name, and other unique identifiers to accurately identify the person.
Attendance punching machines are hardware-dependent and require the installation of ad hoc units at every location. Attendance punching machines can have several variants, but biometric versions such as a fingerprint punching machine are the most commonly used.
While the card punching machines are easy to manipulate as there is no biometric information of the person needed to identify the identity, anyone with an employee ID card can mark the attendance for the person. This is the practice of buddy punching.
While biometric punching machines that use fingerprints, iris, and hand measurements can drastically reduce attendance frauds, but they are not hygienic. In the post-pandemic era, we need attendance machines that can record time without physical contacts, such as a face recognition attendance system.
Furthermore, fingerprint biometric attendance systems are less efficient for industries like mining and manufacturing. In such industries, workers usually have their fingers smudged in oil, grease, dirt, and sweat. It hinders fingerprint sensors for identification.
How does an attendance punching machine work?
An attendance punching machine’s objective is to collect data and mark employee attendance based on rules defined within the system.
Depending on the model of the machine, attendance is recorded along with time automatically. The sensors are at the core of the employee attendance punching machine that identifies the person based on the input (ID card, fingerprints, iris, voice, etc.).
Card-reading attendance punching machines have sensors that read the data on the chip embedded within the employee ID cards. The chip stores employee ID and name data to enable the punching machine to identify the person and record their attendance.
A biometric punching machine is much more sophisticated with sensitive sensors. For instance, a fingerprint punching machine works on two levels. First, it records the employee’s fingerprint when they put their finger on the sensor. Second, the input is compared with the fingerprint models previously enrolled in the machine.
For companies involved in fieldwork such as construction, manufacturing, and mining, face recognition attendance systems are best because they help overcome the drawback of attendance punching machines that we will explore next.
Most modern-day attendance systems have highly robust features to track attendance and offer leave and payroll management.
5 Drawbacks of using an attendance punching machine
1. Prone to time theft activities like buddy punching
The simplicity of an attendance punching machine provides an opportunity to abuse the system easily. Taking advantage of the employee attendance punching machine, workers can ask a colleague to punch for them in case they are running late or won’t be arriving at all.
When this happens, the company is paying for the work that the employee is not doing. Such time theft costs companies millions of dollars every year. The only way to prevent buddy punching is to monitor the attendance punching machine for employee clocks in or out.
This can create a lot of overhead for the HR managers and can drastically increase the cost of doing business.
2. The ongoing cost of time cards
Unlike modern attendance systems like a facial recognition biometric attendance system, attendance punching machines use time cards. Companies need to purchase time cards constantly. This cost might be insignificant for smaller companies, but this cost can be substantially high for larger companies.
3. Frequent data entry errors
A significant drawback of an attendance punching machine is manual data migration to the payroll system. After all the time card data is collected and processed by the punching machine, it must be shared with the payroll software to calculate salary and leave.
Usually, a large volume of data needs to be entered into the payroll system. This is why the chances of entry errors are too high.
4. Limited employee management features
As the attendance punching machines only record and process time logs for the employees, they are useless beyond that. The lack of reporting and analytics features makes them unfit for employee management. Ability to track employee leaves over time, create schedules, share policies, etc., are essential features.
5. The additional cost of installing hardware
As mentioned before, biometric punching machines are standalone Adhoc units; you must install the hardware at every point you want to record employee attendance. It is costly and unfeasible for fieldwork employees or large work floors where employees are scattered.
It is also not possible for field workers to mark their attendance with these systems. They will be limited to recording attendance on timesheets and submitting them to their supervisors.
3 Alternatives of Attendance Punching Machine
1. Fingerprint Attendance System
It is the most popular attendance system and it uses fingerprint data to record attendance. Many organizations rely on fingerprint attendance systems to manage their workforce as they offered better security and automation as compared to attendance punching machines.
But like any other method, this is not foolproof. Older people who are involved in labour using their hands may not be able to get their fingerprints recognized every time.
2. Iris-Based Attendance System
The iris-based attendance system is one of the most reliable personal identification methods in biometrics. It is an automated method of biometric identification that uses mathematical pattern-recognition techniques on video images of the irises of an individual eye.
It is one of the most accurate attendance systems but it is very costly as compared to other biometric attendance systems.
3. Face Recognition Based Attendance System
Facial recognition attendance systems are contactless technologies that allow for no physical interaction between man and machine. It uses facial recognition technology for identifying and verifying a person.
The system uses advanced algorithms that can locate faces and identify them automatically, so there is no need for any human intervention. Facial recognition makes it easy to track employees’ time and is less expensive than other attendance systems.
Truein: A Worthy Alternative to Attendance Punching Machine
Truein is a modern face recognition attendance system that uses AI to provide one of the most secure and versatile solutions. It is a cloud-based attendance system that is hardware-free. Employees can download the Truein app (Android/iOS) on their smartphones to mark their attendance.
It gives the feature to record attendance through their phones. But the real benefit is for employers, as they can put geofencing and GPS rules to track employees when they mark their attendance. Truein offers a complete set of employee management tools such as leave management, attendance policy, overtime management, shift scheduling, and many more.
Attendance punching machines are a tool of the past. As the evolution in the industry has made futuristic solutions like Truein. Schedule a free demo and see how upgrading from a old generation attendance punching machine can help to improve security, automation, and reliability.