There are many options available regarding clocking systems, but not all suppliers are equal. Ten of the most highly regarded include:
|Best 10 Clocking Systems|
Clocking systems have come a long way since workers had to get their card punched by a machine next to the door at the start and end of their shifts.
There are a huge range of different employee clocking systems on the market today and the various options can seem overwhelming. It helps to break them down into two parts – the employee side of the clocking in system and the employer side. All the market-leading systems offer mobile options and provide data that can be integrated into payroll production.
Biometric clocking systems like those from Mitrefinch and Chronologic (uAttend) will scan a thumb print, hand print, use facial recognition technology, or take a photograph to verify that the employee really is who they say they are and not punching in for a colleague, or ‘buddy punching’.
Simple employee sign in machines will generate lists of names and attendance times. More complex clocking in systems will use the data to populate payroll systems, make overtime and calculations, and track holiday scheduling.
Most employee tracking applications are scalable or modular, which means there are as many time and attendance systems for small businesses as there are for large companies. Price usually depends on the kind of hardware required, and the number of people or computers that can access the data the clocking system has harvested.
1) Kronos Systems Limited
Kronos is arguably the most well known of employee clocking systems. The company is based in the US but have offices all over the world. They have a variety of biometric clocking systems, including fingerprint clocking in machines, but they can be scaled down to track computer login data. On the employer side, their cloud-based approach has the advantage of being modular – so company growth and diversity can be anticipated.
Kronos systems are capable of the complex data triage required by very large companies with thousands of employees in thousands of different roles. They will manage payroll data, make holiday scheduling relatively straightforward, and work with security settings for smart locks that only allow access to selected individuals.
Kronos can monitor different roles in different locations and for different pay rates, even if all these things are happening to the same person on the same day – such as doctors working in clinics that specialise in different areas, from research to consulting. The advantage of this level of detail comes in knowing where to place staff for maximum efficiency.
Mitrefinch is a UK-based company responsible for developing the very first computerised staff clocking system, in the early 1980s. This innovation led to the company being featured for their ‘technology of the future’ on the television program Tomorrow’s World, and they have continued to lead the way with biometric clocking systems.
Mitrefinch have a reputation for excellence in managing secure environments and successful fraud prevention and their systems have been used in a number of sectors, including security firms and the police. Their systems are all designed and manufactured in-house and the data can be used for payroll and scheduling. Every mobile option you would expect from a top rated system is included as standard.
Mitrefinch customer support has some of the best real user feedback on the web. Users report being connected with high-level tech staff who are willing to spend literally hours to fix a problem. Mitrefinch also have a reputation for developing additional software and systems to suit their clients. This bespoke approach is key to their excellent security. They frequently tailor their technology for larger companies of over 100 employees, and price depends on products selected, but there are options for both a one-time license and subscription.
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3) Bodet Ltd
Bodet is one of the leading companies in time-related equipment in Europe, and has subsidiaries in several European countries and the UK. The first tower clock was installed by Monsieur Bodet in 1868, and they now produce everything from sports timekeeping boards to clocking software, as well as Kelio terminals with biometric clocking devices - launched in January 2016.
Bodet’s Kelio systems have a screen that can be customised to show company logos and options for a fingerprint sensor, card reader or both. These systems can also give employees access to data on their holidays, sick days, and overtime, and allow them to send time off requests directly to management. For employers, there is real time access to the attendance data collected. Rota planning and room access control systems are also available, as are mobile options and a number of payroll and HR reporting functions.
Installation, training, maintenance, and configuration for Bodet systems are all supported by a team of experts based in France. Cost depends on the company’s requirements. With over 3 million users reporting 96% customer satisfaction, this is one of the most highly regarded systems available.
4) Isgus UK Ltd
Isgus was founded in 1888. They have gone from patenting mechanical clocks for watchmen to today’s high tech ZEUS biometric equipment and staff management systems. They also offer modular systems of real time staff clocking and access management, from which data can be harvested for project management, holiday scheduling and payroll systems. They provide industry-tailored solutions and excel in providing systems that promote flexible and remote working, making the most of mobile and cloud technologies. Their digital employee sign in machines are tamper proof and elegant.
Reviews of customer support are excellent – particularly in urgent cases, when there is a guaranteed two-hour call back time. They also use GoToMeetings for remote video help. Like Kronos, Isgus is better suited to companies with over 25 employees.
The ZEUS user interface works well across a range of mobile devices, tablets, and computers. Price depends entirely on what kind of service is purchased, but the company is known for providing value for money and existing clients are highly likely to recommend this system.
Chronologic Ltd. has aced both ends of this market. Not only do they offer the data-rich clocking and time tracking functions for large organisations, but they are also the makers of UAttend – a basic clocking system specially tailored for small businesses.
The prizewinning UAttend can still offer high-grade biometric clocking systems, but is much cheaper, lighter on its feet, and user-friendly than many of its competitors. This staff-focused system has tools for submitting time off requests and tracking time accrued and monitors vacation and sick time accurately whether clocking is done via web browsers, phones, or traditional time clocks. Their hardware is also compatible with fobs, ID badges and other traditional security information.
The UAttend system is plug and play and customer support is well reviewed, with pricing exceptionally competitive: from around £15 per month for up to 9 employees, to £85 for 100 employees plus.
Planday is a Danish company that has had a UK office since 2014. It is primarily geared towards businesses where people are employed in shifts, and is well reviewed by users online. The employee end of the clocking in system is an app that can be installed onto smartphones and other devices. Workers are able to log their arrival from their phone at a location set by their employer.
Planday works a bit like a social networking site, making shift data visible in real time. Employees can swap shifts or vacations, so management need only approve the swap, instead of organising it. The issues with mobile applications are related more to the vulnerabilities of mobile devices, rather than the clocking systems running on them. However, time spent working around a spent battery or lost phone is minimal compared to the time that a clocking system can save employers and employees alike.
The Planday user interface is simple and intuitive. For extremely complex operations more sophisticated reporting may be required. That said, Planday can export clocking data to payroll and be used to generate other kinds of reports. Scheduling with Planday can be difficult to set up initially, but is then easily modified or duplicated afterwards. It is certainly one of the best time and attendance systems for small businesses. The price is very reasonable at £2 - £4 per user / month.
TimeTac is an Austrian company whose main aim is user-friendly clocking software, which can be applied to monitor projects, resources, holidays and supply payroll data. The dashboard for their systems are more user friendly for some employees than a mobile app and yet the data is real time and cloud based just the same. Software can also be tailored to customers’ needs and updated to adapt to business growth and development.
Although Timetac do not produce their own hardware, the company has a ‘Green IT philosophy’ meaning their products are compatible with existing IT infrastructure. One major benefit of using TimeTac is their excellent user manual with a searchable help function, meaning a system can be installed and operational in minutes. Pricing is not as competitive as it could be, but there is a free trial for 30 days. Then, Employee Time tracking will cost roughly £3 per employee, Project tracking £6 – 8 and an additional £1 - £1.50 must be added for Leave Tracking. A monthly base fee of around £12 to £15 per account comes with additional options.
The ClockRite range of employee clocking systems comes from UK company MIM Systems. They have been producing time and attendance systems for small businesses since 1997. The company offers a range of proximity fobs and cards as well as fingerprint clocking machines and facial recognition systems. ClockRite will supply and install their systems for you, then support customers in-house from their head office in Derbyshire. Prices vary depending on the clocking in systems and hardware purchased. A proximity clocking system with 25 badges is £282.00 inc. VAT. Wireless fingerprint clocking machines (for up to 25 employees) are £468.00 inc. VAT, and outdoor system cost £450.00 inc. VAT.
The ClockRite system comes with reporting functions and can export data directly to Sage or an excel spreadsheet for payroll creation. The company is growing and expanding into other job costing systems.
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9) TimePilot PC and Guard Patrol Products
The TimePilot corporation is based in the US, where it is led by inventor Douglas Marsh. TimePilot PC is an onscreen clocking system that can serve up to 2,000 employees. This is more like older systems in that there is no employee interface so workers cannot view their data, request holidays or swap shifts. Some might consider this an advantage, and certainly, the reduced staff engagement is reflected in a much cheaper product. For use on one PC, the cost is roughly £85, rising to around £160 to license up to five computers.
TimePilot also sells time clocking hardware, mostly aimed at security systems, but their clocking machines are useful for small businesses, and can be bought from UK supplier Guard Patrol Products – pricing supplied on request. Their hardware has the benefit of being portable (battery powered), making it useful for offsite projects. Data is stored in the device and uploaded to a computer via a cable. This may seem rather old fashioned, but for a small company it could work out as very cost effective.
10) Auto Time Systems (ATS)
ATS is another UK company, who break their range down into three distinct groups: the first of these is time and attendance software, then there’s the hardware to go with it, and finally access control systems. ATS offer a range of cloud-based software with mobile data options and scheduling and resources management to go with it. They source their clocking hardware from Bodet and Kelios time management systems, among others.
Hardware ranges from clocking machines that will literally punch a card, to swipe card systems, to a full range of sophisticated biometric clocking technology. A telephone technical support team operates during business hours Monday to Friday, but remote login and site visits are also available. Cost will vary according to hardware and software selected.
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