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?
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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
- Managing employee overtime policy and calculating overtime hours 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.