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Time and attendance technology for FM & Construction

Turn the conversation around to digital transformation within your business. If we look at similar types of sectors, that employ temporary and dispersed workforces, it’s very easy to see how Ezitracker can serve them. Take the construction industry as an example...

Recently, Christian Berenger, head of workforce management at Ezitracker (part of the ERP division within The Access Group) was interviewed to discover how the business supports digital transformation in the construction and facilities management sector.

Ezitracker is a workforce attendance, time, and management organisation that has a key foothold within the facilities management sector to deliver end-to-end workforce management technology by monitoring and tracking the attendance of our clients’ workforces out in the field on a real-time basis.

Our integrated workforce management system also includes scheduling, payroll and invoice reporting so you can allocate employees, assign pay rates, produce payroll extracts, and report results quickly. Workforce management technology is an umbrella term for the devices, apps, software, and systems that help a business manage staff scheduling, task monitoring, track and monitor time and attendance and provide management information.

Our clients tend to have very large and dispersed workforces, often working at very remote locations with agile working parameters.

“CONVENTIONAL TIME AND ATTENDANCE METHODS OF CLOCKING-IN AND CLOCKING-OUT ARE INEFFICIENT AND DON’T ALWAYS WORK DUE TO THE TRANSIENT NATURE OF THE WORK THAT OUR CUSTOMERS DO, AND HOW THEY OPERATE. WE OFFER A VERY FLEXIBLE ROSTERING AND SCHEDULING SOLUTION, WHICH CAPTURES DETAILED DATA AS IT HAPPENS.”

The system produces timesheets and rosters, which is where we can start to generate budgets and drill that down to an ‘hours and minutes’ perspective, or a ‘pounds and pence’ – there’s little room for error and lots of scope for contract profitability for the customer.

One of the major benefits of being part of a larger ERP organisation – The Access Group – is that our solutions are now being fed through the wider Access business, allowing us to provide our clients with a real ‘ping-to-pay’ solution, – pinging right through to payroll and the whole approval process in between.

The integration within Access has broadened our spectrum with regards to digital talent acquisition, HR, CRM, and time attendance. We are being top and tailed with numerous other great solutions with time and attendance sitting bang in the middle.

This year has been difficult for many, what are the key challenges you’ve faced?

Acquisition aside, if we’re looking at this from a business perspective, we are still as a country experiencing degrees of restrictions and working challenges because of the pandemic.

The lockdown periods meant the cleaning industry, suddenly became catapulted to the forefront of the safety agenda, gaining keyworker status early on and often referred to as the ‘fifth emergency service’.

Some of our clients are still facing challenging environments, however, because of the way that our commercial model works within Ezitracker, based on active usage, means we don’t have a fixed license fee. The prevalence of cloud-based technologies such as time and attendance workforce management software has made it significantly easier for service providers to manage teams of staff across multiple sites throughout Covid..

There’s no doubt that new disruptive technologies are driving greater automation in this sector. By integrating automation, and embracing cloud-based information intelligence, efficiency and productivity measuring and monitoring can get a whole lot easier.

“OUR MONTHLY CHARGE IS BASED UPON THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE WHO HAVE USED THE SYSTEM WITHIN THAT MONTH. THAT’S GREAT IN A ‘BOOM’ SCENARIO BECAUSE WE’RE EXPERIENCING LOTS MORE USAGE, AND OUR CLIENT’S REVENUE IS GOING UP AND SO IS OURS. THEN COVID HITS, AND USAGE DROPS, WHICH IS GOOD IN SOME RESPECTS BECAUSE OUR CLIENTS KNOW THAT THEY WON’T RECEIVE A FIXED-LICENSE CHARGE FROM US EACH MONTH.”

As usage depletes, so does our actual charging. This has enabled us to keep and retain the vast majority of our clients throughout the pandemic. Albeit, our clients have seen a decrease in revenue, and we have also seen a degradation in our revenue, however, we have held on to our client base and essentially we’ve shared their pain.

That was challenging because every business wants to see year-on-year growth, but we’ve obviously been through unprecedented times over the last 2 years, but we are still here, we are still growing as an organisation, and will continue to provide a viable commercial model that shares risk with our client-base.

I’m quite thankful that we’ve been able to support our clients in that way.

How is the facilities management sector embracing digital transformation?

Historically, the FM sector has been paper-based and was considered behind in its utilisation of digital processes. When we look at new clients, I sometimes pull my hair out when I see paper timesheets! Those organisations (since Covid) have had to accelerate their digital growth in super quick time periods, so products like Ezitracker need to be seamless when it comes to integrating.

To give you an example, we will always see a timesheet that will always say “9-5, 9-5, 9-5, and so on”. It’s never “8:57- 5:03”. People are automatically rounding up those times, for a simplistic timesheet.

WHAT WE BRING TO THE TABLE IN TERMS OF DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION, IS ACCURACY – WE CAPTURE THINGS TO THE SECOND. MOST PEOPLE DON’T ROUND THINGS UP TO THE SECOND THEY WILL ROUND UP TO THE MINUTE, BUT WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE VARIANCES OF “8:57-5:03” FOR EXAMPLE, THAT 5 MINUTES OR 6 MINUTES PER DAY, TIMES 4,000 EMPLOYEES AND 240 WORKING DAYS PER ANNUM, ADDS UP TO A HUGE NUMBER.

This is when we start to experience high commercial labour cost savings within an organisation. What Ezitracker does, and has the capability of doing, is looking at the working parameters and shift patterns, and applying rounding rules.  For example, we can apply rules where if you clock in late, it will automatically round down if you leave early. That’s where we see the biggest cost-savings for our clients.

When I consider digital transformation, it is about embracing technology and driving that forward to save not only money but time too.

Of course, we always try to apply a return-on-investment calculation to what that looks like- eg. “How many minutes can we save per day, per individual” and apply assumptions around minimum wage for example, which a lot of our clients operate on, as we work in a very cost-sensitive market space.

If we can save four to five minutes per individual, per week, times 4,000 – 5,000 people, the return on investment is very quick. We generally see anything between 5-9% savings on a payroll, from the effective adoption of Ezitracker. The hidden savings, however, are the efficiencies that you can bring into your back office.

The whole approval and timesheet process is all automated, so your payroll users and managers are spending less time arbitrating that process throughout the organisation.

“OUR MOST RECENT NOTABLE SUCCESS WAS WITH AN ORGANISATION THAT HAS 9,000 EMPLOYEES. THEIR PAYROLL PROCESS PRIOR TO IMPLEMENTING OUR FULL SUITE WAS A BACK-OFFICE PAYROLL TEAM OF SIX PEOPLE, SPENDING 3 DAYS PREPARING A PAYROLL. WE HAVE TAKEN THAT PROCESS DOWN TO ONE PERSON, AND FOUR HOURS”.

This is the sort of transformation that we can bring in digitalising that process. It’s game-changing because those other people are being deployed into other areas within that business which positively impacts their bottom line. You can’t just say “from a financial perspective, we are saving you X”, there’s that hidden cost-saving. “How can you use your people more efficiently?”

We try to bring in an exhaustive return on investment calculation, factoring all of those elements in, because we try to get into that conversation quickly and say, “It’s not about how much Ezitracker costs, it’s about how much Ezitracker is going to save you”.

It’s about turning the conversation around to digital transformation within your business that will save you. It actually says on our website, if you embrace digital transformation, it will save you 10x return on investment as a minimum. That’s how bold we can be.

Is there a reporting system that you go by?

Our reporting system within Ezitracker is focused on timesheets, costs, and exports. We have a suite of modules within Ezitracker. Ezitracker is the business, and we modulate the platforms.

at the journey begins with onboarding, because we see a lot of our clients recruiting people and onboarding on the field. In facilities management, it is very rare to actually have an interview process as we would know it. You generally arrive at the clients’ site, and you have some level of induction, some level of questioning, and then you’re hired.

This is where our app Ezionboard comes into play where we capture all of the relevant information, via a mobile phone, in real-time, and we feed that information into our HR system, which is called ‘EziHR’. EziHR is an operational mini-HR system where users can validate, do DBS checks, capture images and validate the information, all in a GDPR compliant way.

Once employees are validated to work within EziHR, they can be rostered on EziPlanner! They then can be rostered on to work and can clock in and clock out with Ezimobile. They can use EziAudit to do onsite performance checks, managers can use Ezibudget to do all their timesheet arbitration, and from Ezibudget it goes to Ezipay.

If you could change one thing about the FM industry, what would it be?

People think that all industries work in exactly the same way, but obviously they don’t. Every client we work with has its own working practices, and its own unique ways of working. That is challenging because we have to create a digital solution that is very agile and allows us to configure it to how the client works.

It’s not always the right thing to do, we try to consult and work with our clients to say “actually, we know you work this way, but have you considered working this way because it will give you more visibility, it will drive efficiency”. A uniformity of how to work across the FM industry would be nice, but in reality that’s just not ever going to happen, so we must remain flexible.

The FM industry sometimes feels a little in the dark ages still, where it is still perfectly okay to see paper timesheets and have excel spreadsheets flying around doing lots of formula. If you use our system correctly, it will automate everything for you.

The biggest challenge, and the one thing I would change would be people’s acceptance to embrace technology within FM, it’s reminding people that, this is not a big brother tool, it’s quite the opposite.

EZITRACKER HIGHLIGHTS THE GOOD, BAD, AND UGLY IN YOUR WORKFORCE. EVERYONE KNOWS WHO THAT PROBLEM EMPLOYEE IS, BUT DO YOU KNOW WHO YOUR REALLY GOOD EMPLOYEES ARE, DO YOU HAVE THE RIGHT PROCESSES IN PLACE TO RETAIN THIS TALENT?

What does the future hold for Ezitracker?

Now that we’re part of The Access Group, we have got lots more opportunities. Because of the nature of how our tech-led agile time and attendance solution works, we can now start to look at other industries that work in similar ways.

At the moment, we are very much focused on facilities management and contract cleaning, but if we look at similar types of sectors, that employ temporary and dispersed workforces, it’s very easy to see how Ezitracker can serve them. Take the construction industry as an example, they too operate in remote locations; so mobile apps, GPRS biometrics, and real-time data capture on construction sites are obviously very advantageous.

It’s very exciting for us now in terms of the sectors that we’re getting exposed to and working with, understanding what the market opportunity is and what product gaps we might need to fill.

Want to understand more about Ezitracker and how it can help your business?

Find out more about the software here or reach out to one of our experts who’ll be happy to discuss your needs.