FTD reduces errors with biometric time and attendance system

By  Debbie Hauss — July 27, 2006



Converting from a manual time and attendance system to an automated version will improve the bottom line for Florists Transworld Delivery (FTD) by reducing human errors substantially. Savings will be particularly significant if the system is adopted in all 20,000 FTD retail outlets in the U.S. and Canada.


We should see a 15 to 20 percent reduction in time and attendance errors, says Larry Johnson, executive vice president of Mercury technology an in-house IT system for FTD. FTD florists will be able to track employees hours, save time processing payroll and ultimately drive more revenues to the bottom line.


The new system is part of the companys point of sale (POS) package that individual retailers have the option to implement. The time and attendance software, called Timecard Monitor, was developed by Count Me In and works in conjunction with FTDs Windows-based Mercury POS system. The software was customized for FTD and is able to integrate with Quickbooks, the payroll system used by the company.


A substantial difference between the new system and the companys old pen-and-paper method is biometric identification. Finger-scan technology eliminates the need for time clocks, employee cards or pin numbers. Converting to the new system eliminates falsification, Johnson explains, such as employees clocking in for late or absent co-workers. Once we installed this system we saw our error rates decline dramatically. This practice of buddy punching, falsifying attendance for a co-worker, is estimated to cost U.S. businesses billions of dollars annually.


Affordable for Small Shops


The Timecard Monitor system is affordable even for the smallest shop, according to Johnson. We made sure our system was affordable to every one of our shops, he notes. For less than $130 per month a retailer can get into our POS system. FTD retailers operate shops with as few as five employees to as many as 75, according to Johnson.


The system was introduced to FTD florists at the companys 2005 summer convention and was well-received, says Johnson. We set up a technology shop of the future to show member florists what were planning to bring to market. With the timecard finger scan technology we were able to tell the florists that it is available right now and they were quite impressed.


As of April 2006 approximately 15 FTD shops had implemented the system, which had just completed six months of beta testing. Its one of the most tested releases weve ever had, remarks Johnson. Some retailers were so anxious to take on the system that they implemented prior to test completion. They said Thats ok, if there are bugs well work them out.


System installation typically lasts four days, including two days for installation and two days for training, according to Johnson. Biometrics is so intuitive that most retailers are very comfortable with it right away.



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