Potential of Implementing the Modern System of Attendance Control Called Smart Time

Abstract

Development of the modern technology is one of the major characteristics of the social life in the 21st century. Needless to say, business also experiences the influence of technological progress and implements the advances of the latter for the increase of efficiency in business operations. One of the most important advantages that modern technology presents to the business companies is the option to optimize the business performance and achieve better results through making smaller inputs into the business. As employees constitute the basis of any business company, the systems of control over their job attendance, coming and leaving time, working hours, vacations and leaves are rather important in this respect. The current proposal examines the potential of implementing the modern system of attendance control called SMART TIME in the UAE-based company ADSSC and evaluates the possible effects of such a step upon the company.

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Abu Dhabi Sewerage Services Company Overview

Background

Abu Dhabi Sewerage Services Company (ADSSC) is a UAE-based company that deals with the issues of “wastewater collection and treatment as well as the safe and sustainable disposal of end products” (ADSSC, 2009). The interesting points about the company include its being a fully government-owned entity operated as a subsidiary of the larger Abu Dhabi-based company titled Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Authority (ADWEA). ADSSC was founded in 2005 and originally was charged with the operation of the municipal water waste issues in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain. The company has developed its mission and values among which help to the community, protection of environment and health are of crucial importance (ADSSC, 2009). The company is permanently developing and facing challenges on this way.

Current Situation

The current state of ADSSC development allows speaking of this company’s being one of the leaders of the Abu Dhabi market of sewerage services. The fact that the company is government-owned also contributes to this position and makes ADSSC a dominant sewerage operator in the city (ADSSC, 2009). Currently, ADSSC develops the modern sewerage networks in Abu Dhabi and creates the sets of sewage treatment plans for the facilities that need such guidelines in their development (ADSSC, 2009).

Today, in the municipalities of Abu Dhabi and Al Ain the company operates with two main STP, 24 package STP, over 200 pumping stations, and more than 7,000km of sewer mains, which constitute 80% and 63% of the total for the city of Abu Dhabi (ADSSC, 2009). Nevertheless, even being a dominant sewerage service provider in the city and the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, ADSSC experience some challenges in its development.

Major Challenges Observed

The major challenges that ADSSC faces at the current stage of its development are mainly social. Firs of all, the official web page of the company argues that ADSSC develops to meet the needs of the permanently growing urban population of Abu Dhabi (ADSSC, 2009). As well, ADSSC is responsible for putting into practice the new sewerage projects designed by this organization and ADWEA. In the conditions of the global economic recession, one of major challenges for ADSSC is to maintain its cost – quality balance and be able not to increase prices for its services. As well, the employment of the professional and experienced personnel is viewed by ADSSC as one of the main issues in the current conditions of professional workforce shortages (ADSSC, 2009).

Problem

Business Case

The above presented considerations reflect the basic developmental trends in the Abu Dhabi-based company ADSSC. However, the main problem that serves as the moving force for the design of the current project proposal is the outdated nature of the attendance control system used by ADSSC (ADSSC, 2009). In fact, numerous companies around the world still resort to the use of the paper records to monitor the time and attendance rates of the employees and to reflect the payroll procedures involved in their work.

However, with the permanently growing competition and the reduction of time allowed for the companies to react to the market changes, such traditional but rather time consuming practices turn into the most notable disadvantages in their performance (Hughes and Cotterell, 2009, p. 119). ADSSC is also one of the companies that still operate their time, attendance, and payroll control through the records held in hard copies and paper documents (ADSSC, 2009). The actually observed risks of keeping to the outdated time and attendance system for ADSSC make the company seek for the solution to the problem. The major threats presented by the current time and attendance control system include:

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  1. Protection threat
  2. Calculation or entrance errors
  3. Potential data inconsistency
  4. Excessive and repetitive work
  5. Additional time, effort, and funding associated with paper work
  6. Space consumption
  7. Time consumption and slow work progress

In more detail, ADSSC currently realizes that keeping its time and attendance control system and the payroll process in the paper form is a competitive disadvantage. First of all, keeping records in paper form requires the use of filing cabinets that are open to access by almost any employee of the organization. Accordingly, if the time and attendance control data, and especially payroll accounts, are revealed in public or become accessible to ADSSC competitors, the company might suffer considerable losses and face the need to reform its organizational processes (Hughes and Cotterell, 2009, p. 138). Such situation will involve additional costs for ADSSC and threatens the company by the bankruptcy perspective.

Further on, the paper records of the time and attendance control and payroll procedure involve additional internal threats for ADSSC. Thus, being held by ordinary employees these records are subjected to mechanical, intentional and unintentional mistakes, errors, and misspells, and other human factor issues. For example, there might be mistakes while calculating the figures for every single employee or while entering the figures into the paper record (Mitchell-George and Risteau, 2008, p. 17). This, in its turn, might present another problem to ADSSC, as mistakes and mechanical entrance errors might be the causes of data inconsistency. In other words, using the records held in paper, ADSSC cannot actually rely upon the data kept in those records. As well, those data cannot be timely updated and modified as it takes considerable time to operate thousands of document hard copies (Mitchell-George and Risteau, 2008, p. 19).

From the perspective of the ADSSC employees, the outdated time and attendance control system is also a disadvantage of the company. Such a system presupposes repetitive and excessive work that might be avoided if the problem were solved by ADSSC. Finally, finding a solution to the problem might allow ADSSC save funds currently directed at keeping time and attendance control and payroll systems. Updated and modern time and attendance control system might be the powerful impact for the performance improvement of ADSSC as a business entity.

Proposed Solution

The solution proposed for ADSSC in the situation discussed in the above paragraphs is the introduction of the automated system of controlling the time and attendance and keeping the payroll record of the company. The automated time and attendance control system proposed as a solution by this study is SMART TIME, the system that might allow ADSSC reduce its costs and increase profit thus improving the overall efficiency of the company’s performance.

The choice of the automated time and attendance control system is not accidental. Moreover, it is supported by the considerable scholarly research in the area of efficiency increasing business policies and software instruments. Thus, for example Mitchell-George and Risteau (2008) consider the automated time and attendance control systems (T&A) to currently be the most effective tool of boosting the organizational performance and profitability of a business company:

Companies that automate their time and attendance (T&A) systems not only achieve significant savings in their direct payroll processing costs; some achieve substantially greater savings on their total labor costs (Mitchell-George and Risteau, 2008, p. 7 – 6).

In other words, the automation in record keeping might serve not only the payroll purposes of ADSSC, but also be an effective tool of improving the overall financial performance of the company. This is achieved through the opportunity that T&As present to keep the precise record of years of the financial performance and payroll accounts of the company (Mitchell-George and Risteau, 2008, p. 7 – 7). The automated record keeping allows tracking the history of the company’s financial dynamics and protects the company from any kind of legal or ethical controversy related to the payment and working conditions.

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What is also important for ADSSC is that the mechanism of operation of the SMART TIME, as well as the majority of other time and attendance control systems, is rather simple and effective. First, the transfer of the whole organization from the traditional manually operated systems to the automated time and attendance control system involves introduction of special educational classes for the people that will be responsible for record keeping. It is a rather costly procedure, but its effects outweigh the expenses involved (Hughes and Cotterell, 2009, p. 140).

Thus, the first step in the T&A operation is the requirement, provided at the organizational level, for all employees to register their coming to the office or starting work outside the office, for remote employees, by accessing either a registration system via the Internet or by calling the specially designed calling center and report the time of starting the work (Mitchell-George and Risteau, 2008, p. 7 – 8). These registration systems might be access from the user’s PC or from the telephone. The major advantage of the systems is that the data on the time of coming to work is immediately placed to the database of the organization. There is no opportunity for non-authorized employees to access the database or affect it in any way.

Thus, the problem of paying excessive wages for the time employees did not actually work can be eliminated. So can the problem of unpaid overtime work for employees as having the automatically and digitally recorded data on the number of working hours daily the employers cannot charge employees with excessive work loads (Mitchell-George and Risteau, 2008, p. 7 – 7). Drawing from this, ADSSC can considerably benefit from implementing the automated time and attendance control systems to monitor the time its employees start and finish work, come to the office and leave it. As well ADSSC’s payroll management process will be considerably improved in relation of its efficiency.

Proposed Project Overview

Scope

The above presented consideration related to the proposed implementation of the automated time and attendance control system SMAT TIME by the UAE-based company ADSSC allow having at least some understanding of the scope of the proposed project as a whole. Thus, the project discussed in this proposal is intended to be a comprehensive one. The introduction of the SMART TIME system will embrace the whole ADSSC Company and will involve the modification of all the attendance control and payroll related spheres of its activities. Training of the personnel responsible for the SMART TIME operation will also be included in the scope of the proposed project. Finally, the project will also include the techniques for measuring the preliminary SMART TIME performance results and assessing the project efficiency. Such a comprehensive character of the project will allow considering all the surrounding factors and monitoring their effect upon SMART TIME introduction.

In more detail, the automated time and attendance control system will be applied to the whole organization, which means that every employee will have to face the need to operate SMART TIME in the sense of proper registering at the work place at the beginning of the working day and at its end. As well, the SMART TIME operators have to get special education and preparation for the proper work with the system. As well, the special personnel, formed of both ADSSC employees and outside observers, should be trained to assess the efficiency of SMART TIME by the scale involving the comparison of the company’s prior performance with the performance after SMART TIME implementation. Thus, the project scope includes all the aspects of SMART TIME use ranging from the software installation to the assessment of first performance results.

Key Stakeholders

The project’s being comprehensive in the scope means that its very implementation and results are intended to affect the key stakeholders of ADSSC in various ways. The major stakeholders of the company under analysis include its investors, board of directors, senior management, the employees of the organization, its direct customers, and the community as such. Every stakeholder group will face the need to adjust top the changes in ADSSC time and attendance control systems, as well as the company will have to attempt to make the transition to the automated control and record keeping as less painful and inconvenient for its stakeholders as possible (Mitchell-George and Risteau, 2008, p. 7 – 8).

In more detail, ADSSC’s investors, i. e. the government of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi will be the stakeholder group to face the SMART TIME effects first. The government will experience these effects in the need to increase funding and support the SMART TIME project by the financial and human resources. The way to cover the government expenses in the case is for ADSSC to start operating more effectively after the automated record keeping software is introduced. The Board of Directors and the Senior Management are the stakeholder group that will face the need to implement the proposed project in the organization. SMART TIME success greatly depends on the performance of these stakeholder groups and will affect their further career development in ADSSC.

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The employees of the organization will be the objects of the automated record keeping innovation and will be the stakeholder group that is to experience the SMART TIME effects to the greatest extent in the form of potential inconveniences at the primary stages of the system implementation and further improvement of their performance results. The customers of ADSSC and the community in Abu Dhabi will also be affected by the proposed project in the sense of the level of services obtained form ADSSC before and after SMART TIME is implemented. Needless to say, initial stages of the project implementation might cause inconveniences to the company’s customers and the community, but the goal of the project is to provide the community with the better level of services than ADSSC could provide without the automated time and attendance control system.

Project Objectives

Drawing from the above said, the objectives and goals of the proposed project can be observed. The set of the objectives for SMART TIME introduction into the organizational process include the following items:

Solve the organizational problem of ADSSC connected with the outdated system of time and attendance control in the company: Achievement of this objective is intended to be the result of the SMART TIME automated control system implementation. As the paper record keeping is considered to be outdated and is rather time, effort, and resource consuming, the electronic and automated time and attendance control system will allow ADSSC get to the higher level of cost effective performance and funds saving.

Improve the effectiveness of the financial performance of ADSSC: As the automated time and attendance control systems are considered to be effective not only in facilitating time control and payroll effectiveness but in the overall financial progress of the company (Mitchell-George and Risteau, 2008, p. 7 – 6), the proposed project assumes that SMART TIME might facilitate the overall ADSSC’s development and includes achieving this positive effect in the list of the project objectives.

Develop the ability of ADSSC to control the performance of its employees and structure the company’s relations with the employees respectively: Achieving this objective of the proposed project will allow ADSSC to possess the specific data on the time when each of its employees starts and finishes work. This will also allow avoiding the unpaid overtime work for employees and the payment issues related to the allegedly unpaid overtime work. Finally, the project is to provide ADSSC with the better payroll control system to structure its financial operations in a better way.

Reduce the costs involved in the operation of the time and attendance control system and payroll process administration: SMART TIME can be characterized as the time and fund reducing system of record keeping. The major use of this system is in its ability to provide long time storage and instant access to the data for the authorized people and make such access impossible for all others. Therefore, the objective of this project is to reduce ADSSC costs by implementing SMART TIME in this company.

Create the competitive advantage for ADSSC through updating its time and attendance control system and preventing its confidential data from being obtained by the company’s competitors.

The peculiarity of the automated time and attendance control systems is their ability to provide data protection. If ADSSC will manage to implement SMART TIME and protect its confidential data from becoming revealed to the competitors, ADSSC will have a competitive advantage in the market.

Cost Analysis

Projected Cost-Benefit Analysis

Naturally, the restructuring of any kind involves considerable costs for the company that deals with it. Transition from the traditional to automated time and attendance control system also involves increase in the required funding and other expenses including personnel education and funding to cover the potential losses associated with the problems in the automated record keeping performance at the initial stages of its use. For ADSSC, the project of implementation of the SMART TIME solution will involve the following projected cost-benefit proportion (assumed figures are presented for both costs and benefits expected drawing from the presupposed saving of 45% of time and attendance control effort, 80% of manual payroll processing effort and 3% of total payroll) (Table 1):

Table 1. ADSSC Cost-Benefit Analysis

Activity Cost Benefit
SMART TIME introduction in all ADSSC department $50,000 $75,000
Personnel educational classes $35,000 $50,000
SMART TIME success assessment procedures $20,000 $30,000
Total $105,000 155,000

Thus, it can be observed that the implementation of the SMART TIME solution for automation of the time and attendance control in ADSSC will allow the company to have the immediate benefit of $50,000 provided the proposed project is implemented properly. Accordingly, ADSSC will have the rate of benefit equaling 47.6% compared to the costs involve in the project implementation.

Projected Cost Recovery and Revenue

As well, ADSSC will face the need to develop a plan of cost recovery and revenue after the SMART TIME system is implemented. The major source of the cost recovery for ADSSC in the proposed project is planned to be the funds saved as a result of the modification of the time and attendance control system in the company. The traditional record keeping in ADSSC involves funding the special personnel, excessive paper work, space and effort processing to maintain the records, time to process the records and access the necessary point of the latter at a specific moment of time. SMART TIME is designed to reduce time, space, effort, and funding for time and attendance control in ADSSC. Requiring only computer equipment and a specific number of people operating SMART TIME database this solution saves time, effort, and funding. Therefore, SMART TIME brings no extra benefit, but it manages to save costs and turn them into benefit for ADSSC.

Conclusions

Thus, the proposed project presents the detailed plan of implementing SMART TIME solution for updating the time and attendance control system in the UAE-based company ADSSC dealing with wastewater and sewerage in the Emirate of Dubai. The project outlines the current problematic situation with record keeping in ADSSC and presents the solution to the problem. The project also considers the benefits of the proposed solution, examines the latter’s influence on the key stakeholders of the company, and presents the cost-benefit and cost recovery and revenue analyses for ADSSC after the proposed solution is implemented.

References

ADSSC. (2009). We Provide a High Quality, Cost Effective Sewerage Services. Web. 

Hughes, B. and Cotterell, M. (2009). Software Project Management. McGraw Hill Higher Education; 5th Revised edition.

Mitchell-George, J. and Risteau, D. APA Basic Guide to Payroll 2008. Aspen Publishers Online.

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