Greater London Demolition, one of the South East’s leading demolition contractors, has taken significant steps to safeguard its workforce on remote sites by scaling up its biometric workforce management system from Vanquish Integrated People Solutions.
The demolition and waste recycling contractor, based in Enfield, has actively used a biometric system installed by Vanquish-IPS for the past five years to track driver shift patterns at its Waste Recycling Centre.
Having enjoyed first-hand experience of its benefits, the company decided to roll out new terminals to accommodate its remote workers on their demolition projects so they can manage the entire workforce in a single system.
Due to the transient nature of the construction industry, Greater London Demolition’s workforce fluctuates according to the peaks and troughs of the business.
It employs a core team of 30 permanent workers but also has a bank of temporary staff and sub-contractors it calls upon according to business demands.
For many years, the company relied on paper-based manual timesheets to account for workers on remote sites and verify their working hours, but this was proving time consuming and cumbersome.
Workers and sub-contractors were required to complete and hand-in their timesheets to the Site Manager, whose responsibility it was to sign them off for payroll and invoicing purposes.
Jonathan Hanley, Operations Director at Greater London Demolition says: “As a safety focused demolition contractor we take our health and safety responsibilities extremely seriously and have a duty of care to safeguard our workforce.”
“Over time it became clear that relying on manual timesheets was an insufficient way of managing our remote frontline workers. While staff were asked to complete and return their timesheets to the site manager during Toolbox Talks, all too often Site Managers would spend days, even weeks, chasing individuals for their timesheets.
“As a result, the data was out of date by the time they received some timesheets so we had no way of identifying who was on site at any one point, only a historical version of events. Should a worker leave the site early, for whatever reason, we had no way of accounting for their movements. In the event of an emergency this could have catastrophic consequences.”
Self-contained biometric system
Following a consultation with Vanquish Integrated People Solutions, Greater London Demolition decided to extend their automated workforce management system, which utilises biometric recognition readers to positively authenticate worker identity and attendance, to accommodate its site workers.
The terminals use field-proven hand geometry technology to create a template of the shape and size of an individual’s palm and then use the template to verify worker identity.
Deploying the system to project sites has streamlined the clocking process for workers. Instead of having to complete a timesheet, workers simply enter a PIN number and place their hand on the reader’s platen. Each transaction is recorded and sent to a central hub, where the workers are placed on the roll call for that particular site.
Site Managers can access the data from a secure password protected web portal anytime, anywhere so they can check who is on site at any one time, check the duration of each stay and manage concurrent projects.
“Escalating our system to manage remote workers means we can efficiently control all movements on site and ensure that everybody is qualified to be there. The start of a new project is notoriously labour-intensive with as many as 30 workers involved in the strip out process, before our fleet of heavy machinery such as High Reach excavators move in to deconstruct the buildings.
“A typical project can last for as long as 32 weeks. With so many comings and goings during that time it’s important that we can account for everybody on site. Vanquish allows us to do just that whilst providing definitive answers and facts at the click of a button.”
The system is fully self-contained standalone solution with little or no network connectivity required. The terminals are powered by batteries and harness the latest wireless technologies, including GPRS and GPS modems and Wi-Fi, to transfer data. Subsequently, Greater London Demolition has the flexibility to move the terminals to new sites as contracts are won and completed.
Hanley adds: “Vanquish is now an intrinsic part of how we operate. As part of the induction process, workers and sub-contractors are required to register with our system in order to carry out work on our sites.”
In addition to enhancing health and safety, Hanley says the collation of accurate and reliable data has also streamlined the payroll and invoice process.
“Vanquish has helped to speed up in-house admin processes by removing delays and discrepancies in their entirety, and providing facts rather than question marks about our workforce and sub-contractor performance.
“If a scaffolding sub-contractor, for instance, sends in an invoice for supplying a team of ten staff, we can quickly check that the invoice correlates with the attendance data so there is no confusion or discrepancy.
“Likewise, when it comes to processing payroll, the Accounts and Finance team no longer have to chase or wait for site managers to email over timesheets and duplicate the data. Accurate data relating to hours worked on site and overtime is readily available so they can process payments in seconds.
Hanley says the company’s decision to expand its workforce management system has delivered enterprise-wide benefits to the business.
“Everyone in the business, from senior management to accounts to frontline staff, has embraced the Vanquish system. It’s made our company more efficient and has brought benefits to all areas of the business, not only improving our health and safety compliance, but also saving us time and money.
“It’s great to come across a software solution which delivers an immediate return on investment and allows the benefits to be realised by construction companies of all sizes and not just main contractors.”
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