How FMCG companies are taking advantage of ‘GPS and face recognition attendance’ to empower sales and marketing staff
Large FMCG companies have a sales workforce that tends to report directly to their sales beats or to the distributor point. Similarly, the marketing staff has to do market visits or go for meetings at agency offices. Rarely does the sales or marketing team report to head office for attendance.
More often than not, there is a manual attendance register that gets reconciled at month-end. In other cases, the managers receive out-of-office request emails from their subordinates and the manager has to manually override absent marks in the system. Either ways, it is a painful exercise.
FMCG companies have figured an easier way to overcome this issue. What did they do?
Embrace face attendance:
Face attendance is the only form of attendance that cannot be fudged or misused. Card based attendance can invite proxies as workers do buddy punching. Thumb based attendance is known to have recognition issues which give rise to parallel systems like manual registers. Face attendance, especially on reliable systems like Truein, works with practically 100% accuracy. No misrepresentation. FMCG companies have built trust and reliability within their sales departments with the power of face attendance.
Allow selfie-based attendance:
Large FMCG companies have given up the idea of calling the sales team to head office for attendance. It is not practical and it is not productive. They have placed an attendance system in every salespersons’ palm. Sales people simply download the Truein app and turn their very own mobiles into attendance systems. They can upload their attendance selfies and register attendance from wherever they are - on field, at agency office or in market.
Take advantage of Geo-fencing:
Companies have marked territories by defining GPS boundaries in the Truein face attendance system. Sales and marketing staff can take selfie attendance from wherever they are, as long as they fall within the approved geography. So a sales person can’t log attendance from home. He has to be at a specific location which need not be the head office. It can be the distributor’s office, geo-fenced by their HR team.
Geo-fencing lets companies adapt progressive policies like ‘anywhere attendance’ without worrying about misuse.
Rely on system stamps:
Can employees change their device time and location to manipulate attendance stamps? No way. Companies that have implemented the Truein way of attendance know that the system is robust. The system stamps take only the server time and cannot be played around with.
All time and location stamps are preserved, creating a robust audit trail. Sales and marketing staff can be made accountable and can be questioned if the records look suspicious.
Create a unified system:
The biggest reason why some FMCG companies have been able to overcome the age-old attendance problem is through their reliance on forward-looking technology. They cut down the parallel systems like manual registers or email approvals completely. They use Truein as the single-source of truth for all attendance related matters. Truein is used for all of the following:
- Marking attendance on kiosk or employee mobiles
- Sending leave requests and approving them
- Managing shifts
- Calculating overtime and other compliances
When there is a single unified system, it is easy to manage massive records and there is no need for manual reconciliations.
Key learnings from FMCG
- When you are dealing with a large workforce that works from out-of-office, you need the power of automation. Manual registers won’t do.
- There has to be a balance of freedom and compliance. Employees are less stressed out and yet the company has audit trails.
- It is important to work with proven technologies like Truein and overcome many problems in one clean shot.
- Face based attendance
- Selfie-based attendance
- Build a single-source of truth so that everything flows into payrolling and other systems too.
Face recognition based attendance is the straight off answer to the touchless solution the world is seeking today. Or may it is not as straight. Not all face recognition attendance is made equal. It is important to consider specific use-cases before picking the one that works for you.
Today, we will focus on use-cases for geo-fencing – a powerful feature on Truein’s contactless attendance system.
What is geo-fencing?
With Truein, organizations can allow users to mark attendance from their very own phone. Organization’s ability to limit such attendance to only a specific geography (usually a radius around the office) is called geo-fencing.
Geo-fencing can be activated to ensure that employees don’t queue up in front of the kiosk at the main gates, conveniently use their own phone but do not misuse it while vacationing.
Who is it most relevant for?
Large retail chains can avoid putting a kiosk at every store. Each individual store can geo-fence attendance for their site and employees can mark attendance from their devices. It can result in huge savings while ensuring automation that syncs data back to the head-office in real-time.
In case of outdoor locations, the supervisors need not report to office before going to the site. They can go to their work site directly and mark attendance after reaching that geo-fenced boundary.
It makes sense for even contract workers who keep changing and report to site directly.
Marketing and event agencies
Any organization that employs a large workforce that is on their feet and always on field, would find geo-fencing very useful. The geo-fencing feature can be used to mark radius around the distributor’s office where sales team reports. It can also be used to mark an event location where the marketing team is working.
Any other large organization
In case you have a large employee strength, you can shorten the queue at the main gate by activating user-device based geo-fenced attendance.
What are the key advantages?
We believe that automation of attendance should always be 100%. If you leave scope for manual entries in case of remote sites, on-field force etc., you are increasing chances of proxy and plenty of paperwork.
When data for the entire workforce gets automated – no matter where they are, all of it can feed back into compliance and salary calculations.
The hard part about allowing employees to report directly to remote sites is the ability to track and trust. You can leave all of it behind and embrace progressive HR policies. Geo-fencing is your safety net – an assurance that all will be well even when you adopt laissez-faire policies.
It sure leaves a good impact on employee satisfaction score as well.
When social-distancing is active and you have a large workforce queuing up at the kiosk, you could consider moving to geo-fenced user-device attendance.
People can space out and mark attendance from their desks if they please.
What should you know about geo-fencing on Truein?
Truein has evolved over the last 4 years to include more than hundred features. Geo-fencing is only one of them. Like always we have focused on keeping it simple.
- It can be activated or deactivated by the user at a click of a button
- There is no limit to how many locations can be activated
- It is possible to geo-fence attendance by adding Google location address or latitude/longitude co-ordinates
- It is also possible to define the radius around the marked address.
The bottom line
Face recognition is the buzzword in touchless attendance. However, that is just the beginning. Making it more widespread and employee-friendly is what true evolution would be. Activate geo-fencing and other hundred plus features to suit your specific HR policies.