The Best Manufacturing Time Clock Features for Time & Attendance Tracking

Time tracking is an essential aspect of any manufacturing company, as it allows management to monitor employee performance and ensure that operations run smoothly. Traditionally, time clocks have been used in manufacturing companies to track employee attendance, but modern technology has made it possible for companies to utilize more sophisticated systems that offer a range of features. 

Like many industries, manufacturing companies have some specific time & attendance needs, so let’s take a look at the history of traditional time clocks in manufacturing, how time clock apps can better serve manufacturing companies, and the best time clock features for manufacturing.

Types of Time Clocks for Manufacturing

Manufacturing time clocks are used to track employee time and attendance in manufacturing companies. There are several types of time clocks available in the market, but the most common ones include:

Punch Clocks
Punch clocks are mechanical devices that require employees to insert a paper time card into the clock and punch in and out of work. These types of clocks have been around for a long time and are still in use in some manufacturing companies. However, there are some key drawbacks to punch clocks, including: 

  1. Inaccurate Timekeeping: Punch time clocks are prone to errors, which can result in incorrect employee timekeeping. For example, if an employee forgets to punch in or out, the time recorded will be inaccurate.
  2. Time Theft: Traditional punch time clocks are susceptible to time clock fraud, where employees may clock in for each other or have someone else clock in for them. 
  3. Limited Reporting: Punch time clocks are limited in their reporting capabilities. The data collected by punch time clocks needs to be manually entered into a system for reporting and analysis, which can be time-consuming.
  4. Maintenance: Traditional punch time clocks require regular maintenance, including changing the ink ribbons, cleaning the time cards, and repairing any mechanical issues. This can be costly and time-consuming.
  5. Lack of Flexibility: Traditional punch time clocks do not offer flexibility in terms of location and remote work. Employees who work from home or in the field cannot use punch time clocks.

Digital Time Clocks
Digital time clocks are electronic devices that allow employees to clock in and out by entering a unique code or swiping a badge. These types of clocks are more accurate and easier to use than punch clocks.While digital time clocks offer several advantages over traditional punch time clocks, they also have some drawbacks, particularly in the manufacturing industry. Here are some of the common drawbacks to digital time clocks in manufacturing:

  1. Cost: Digital time clocks can be expensive to install and maintain. In addition to the cost of the clock itself, there may be additional expenses for software, training, and technical support.
  2. Complexity: Digital time clocks can be more complex to set up and use than traditional punch time clocks. This can result in longer learning curves and training time for employees and supervisors.
  3. Technology Reliance: Digital time clocks rely on technology, which can be problematic if there are technical glitches, network outages, or power failures. These issues can disrupt the clock's functionality, resulting in lost data or inaccurate timekeeping.
  4. Security: Digital time clocks can be susceptible to security breaches and hacking attempts. This can put employee data and confidential information at risk.
  5. Integration: Digital time clocks may not integrate well with other software or systems used in manufacturing. This can result in data inconsistencies and delays in reporting and analysis.

Biometric Time Clocks
Biometric time clocks use fingerprint or facial recognition technology to identify employees and record their attendance. These types of clocks are more secure than digital time clocks and eliminate the risk of "buddy punching" (clocking in or out for someone else).

There are several benefits of using facial recognition time clocks in manufacturing, including:

  1. Accurate Timekeeping: Facial recognition time clocks are highly accurate and eliminate the risk of "buddy punching" or fraudulent timekeeping. This can save manufacturing companies money by ensuring that employees are paid only for the hours they actually worked.
  2. Convenience: Facial recognition time clocks are easy to use and do not require employees to carry any cards or tokens. Employees simply need to look at the clock to clock in and out, which saves time and eliminates the need for physical contact.
  3. Security: Facial recognition time clocks are highly secure and eliminate the risk of identity theft or data breaches. The facial recognition technology ensures that only authorized employees can clock in and out, which protects confidential information and prevents unauthorized access.
  4. Flexibility: Facial recognition time clocks can be used in any location and are ideal for companies with multiple locations or remote workers. Employees can easily clock in and out from any location, which makes it easier to track their time and attendance.
  5. Analytics and Reporting: Facial recognition time clocks can provide detailed analytics and reporting, which can be used to monitor employee attendance and productivity. This can help manufacturing companies identify areas for improvement and optimize their workforce management processes.

Web-Based Time Clocks
Web-based time clocks allow employees to clock in and out from their computers or mobile devices. These types of clocks are useful for remote workers or employees who work from multiple locations.

Mobile Time Clocks
Mobile time clocks allow employees to clock in and out using their mobile devices. These types of clocks are ideal for employees who work in the field or on job sites.

Best Manufacturing Time Clock Features

Manufacturing time clocks are essential tools for tracking employee attendance and ensuring accurate payroll processing. The top features that manufacturing time clocks should have are:

Time and Attendance Tracking

One of the primary functions of any time tracking system is to record employee attendance. Modern systems can be configured to capture data using various methods, including biometric data, proximity cards, or web-based time clocks. The system should also be able to track absences and provide reports on employee attendance.

Facial Recognition

Facial recognition time clocks offer several benefits for manufacturing companies, including accurate timekeeping, convenience, security, flexibility, and speed. In many manufacturing environments, gloved hands and crowds at shift change create challenges for large numbers of employees to clock in and out quickly. In fact, slow clocking can cost companies massive amounts of money in payroll expense when not managed well. Facial clocking offers a fast, accurate, and touchless way to manage employee time and attendance tracking. While there are some concerns about privacy and security with facial recognition technology, many manufacturing companies are finding that these benefits outweigh the drawbacks and are choosing facial recognition time clocks as their preferred time tracking system

Job and Project Tracking

Manufacturing companies often have multiple projects running simultaneously, and it is essential to track employee time spent on each project. A time tracking system should allow employees to clock in and out of specific jobs, tasks, or projects. This feature will enable management to monitor productivity and allocate resources efficiently.

Offline Operation

With any number of causes for a lost Internet connection - including weather, remote locations, unreliable service, and more - a clock that operates as seamlessly offline as it does off is a must for most manufacturing companies. 

Integration with Payroll Systems

Manufacturing companies have complex payroll systems, and it is crucial to ensure that the time tracking system integrates seamlessly with the payroll system. The time tracking system should export data directly to the payroll system, eliminating the need for manual data entry and reducing the risk of errors.

In conclusion, time tracking is an essential aspect of any manufacturing company. A time tracking system should offer features that enable the accurate tracking of employee attendance, job and project tracking, shift scheduling, overtime tracking, mobile access, and integration with payroll systems. By selecting a time tracking system that offers these features, manufacturing companies can improve productivity, reduce errors, and streamline their operations.