- Number of registered screens: 16
- Forms: 4
- Internal processing sheets: 16
- Started in June 2009
- Actual performance started in February 2010
- Period break-down: (3 months for development, 2 months for testing and adjustment, 3 months for area by area deployment at stores)
Circumstances of the system development
The attendance management of about 1500 staff members in 220 shops nationwide was conventionally conducted by punching time cards with the time recorder when employees arrived and left the company. Shop managers then transferred the attendance records to the OCR sheets manually by looking at the time cards, and then sent the sheets by mail to the HQ General Affairs Dept. every month. At the HQ General Affairs Dept., the sheets were scanned by OCR to generate the attendance data for all staff members every month.
Since OCR sheet records were written manually, writing mistakes and reading errors of the figures occurred. Then, three staff members who were in charge of salary calculation needed to check the attendance data to find mistakes and correct errors, and it took about two weeks to finalize the monthly attendance data every month. Since this attendance data is the base data for calculating salaries, it must be accurate, and must be finalized before the transfer date of the salary, which was a very stressful task under time restrictions.
To reduce this administrative burden on the shop side, and to cope with future changes in the attendance system, it became very important to examine how to make attendance management. At first, an idea was proposed to install a new model time recorder which allows data collection by telecommunication through an inter-company network, but we found that it would be very costly to install new time recorders at each of the 220 shops, so we hesitated to implement the idea.
Reasons we adopted dbSheetClient
Then, we found an attendance management system on Newcom's homepage, which uses Excel, and works via the Internet, so we made an inquiry, and a web solution was proposed, namely, dbSheetClient.
Since all our nationwide shops have PCs which were connected to the in-house VPN, if we built a system which operates in this PC environment, we wouldn't need to introduce new time recorders, and we would be able to introduce the attendance management system within a budget our company could afford.
The window to be used for stamping everyday was made to be displayed full screen on the PC monitor. It looks like a time recorder.
We prepared a card for each employee with their employee ID number printed as a barcode. When it is read by a barcode reader, it connects to the PC, his/her name is displayed on the screen, and by clicking the arrive/leave button, arrive/leave inputs are made. We thus adopted an interface that is easy to use for our staff.
Moreover, the shift schedule is made in the store every month. Before, the shift schedule was made using Excel at each shop, but this time, we made a unified form for all shops to input into dbSheetClient.
We could also introduce operational rules by which the shop manager could judge tardy and early leave in comparison with the staff's actual arrival/leave time in the shift schedule and/or approval of overtime hours.
During the system development, Newcom provided us with panels and forms of Excel workbooks, and then we could verify the specifications with the Excel workbook. Since we could check the screen image and forms on the Excel workbook in advance, it was easy to grasp the image of the system to be introduced, and helped us to communicate with shop staff.
Effect of installation
Since dbSheetClient is compatible with “click once,” we are very pleased that it does not require any effort to distribute the program. Since all the data and the program are controlled from the server side, we can adapt to new shops and/or personnel changes without any delay. Moreover, when the rule for overtime hours is changed, for example, you just need to change the server program and Excel workbook, then the change is reflected in all 220 shops nationwide at once, and you do not need to distribute the program to all shops for installation. This is such a great asset for us.
As far as the cost goes, it brings us great satisfaction when comparing it to the cost of introducing new time recorders, or the development cost of outsourcing to other software development companies. Moreover, the finalization task of the attendance data, which used to take about two weeks for the staff who were in charge of the salary calculation, has been reduced to 3 to 4 days by introducing this system since the attendance data can be checked daily.
I think that dbSheetClient is a very effective solution. We can use our Excel resources, keep the system introduction cost low, and establish an administrative system between the HQ and shops.
Impression after installation
As we began to operate the system in our actual environment, we can now apply the same standard of time control for employees and part time workers, which used to be conducted differently from shop to shop. Even in the middle of a month, we can adjust the working hours easily, which is highly appreciated by many. More specifically, since the result data is updated daily in the database, you can make comparisons between the plan and the result for the overtime hours in the middle of a month, and then you can adjust the overtime hours accurately towards the end of the month. Moreover, the overtime work instructions used to be written on paper, but now we can give instructions via this system, which contributes towards paperless operations.
Approach in the future
We would like to standardize operations by linking the operations of the staff members that are in charge of the salary calculation with this system and create a manual.
Next, we would like to realize an administrative system for employee evaluation. We would also like to develop an administrative system between our shops and HQ by utilizing "Excel + dbSheetClient." We have great hope in the potential of dbSheetClient to make operational improvements which are suitable for our company.