A time clock, sometimes known as a clock card machine or punch clock or time recorder, is a device that records start and end times for hourly employees (or those on flexi-time) at a place of business.
In mechanical time clocks, this was accomplished by inserting a heavy paper card, called a time card, into a slot on the time clock. When the time card hit a contact at the rear of the slot, the machine would print day and time information (a timestamp) on the card. One or more time cards could serve as a timesheet or provide the data to fill one. This allowed a timekeeper to have an official record of the hours an employee worked to calculate the pay owed an employee.
The terms bundy clock, or just bundyhave been used in Australian English for time clocks. The term comes from brothers Willard and Harlow Bundy.
An early and influential time clock, sometimes described as the first, was invented on November 20, 1888, by Willard Le Grand Bundy,a jeweler in Auburn, New York. His patent of 1890 speaks of mechanical time recorders for workers in terms that suggest that earlier recorders already existed, but Bundy's had various improvements; for example, each worker had his own key. A year later his brother, Harlow Bundy, organized the Bundy Manufacturing Company, and began mass-producing time clocks.
In 1900, the time recording business of Bundy Manufacturing, along with two other time equipment businesses, was consolidated into the International Time Recording Company (ITR).
In 1911, ITR, Bundy Mfg., and two other companies were amalgamated (via stock acquisition), forming a fifth company, Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company (CTR), which would later change its name to IBM.
The Bundy clock (see image) was used by Birmingham City Transport to ensure that bus drivers did not depart from outlying termini before the due time; now preserved at Walsall Arboretum.
In 1909, Halbert P. Gillette explained about the state of the art around time clocks in those days:
Time clocks.—Such an appliance which may not, in general, be used in the field, but which is of immense value in the office and particularly in a shop, is the time clock. Various forms of time clocks are in common use, two types of which are illustrated. [The first] is a time card recorder, which is a clock so made that it will automatically stamp on a card inserted in a slot in the clock by the workman the time of his arrival and of his departure. The cards are made to hold a record covering the pay period and need no attention from a timekeeper or clerk until the termination of this period. The record of the men's time can then be compiled very readily by one who need not be a skilled mathematician or time clerk.
The time clock system has been developed very highly in shops for keeping track of time used in completing any job by workmen, but as this in a way is not in the realm of field cost keeping, it will not be entered into here.
Another form of time clock [...] has the numbers of the employees fixed on the outer edge of a disk or ring and a record is made by the employee who shifts a revolving arm and punches his number upon entering the office and leaving. The working up of employees' time then becomes simply a matter of computation from printed figures. These two types are made by the International Time Recording Co. of New York.
An example of this other form of time clock, made by IBM, is pictured. The face shows employee numbers which would be dialed up by employees entering and leaving the factory. The day and time of entry and exit was punched onto cards inside the box.
In 1958, IBM's Time Equipment Division was sold to the Simplex Time Recorder Company. However, in the United Kingdom ITR (a subsidiary of IBM United Kingdom Ltd.) was the subject of a management buy-out in 1963 and reverted to International Time Recorders. In 1982, International Time Recorders was acquired by Blick Industries of Swindon, England, who were themselves later absorbed by Stanley Security Systems.
The first punched-card system to be linked to a Z80 microprocessor was developed by Kronos Incorporated in the late 1970s and introduced as a product in 1979.
In the late 20th century, time clocks started to move away from the mechanical machines to computer-based, electronic time and attendance systems. The employee registers with the system by swiping a magnetic stripe card, scanning a barcode, bringing an RFID (radio-frequency identification) tag close to a reader, entering a number or using a biometric reader. These systems are much more advanced than the mechanical time clock: various reports can be generated, including on compliance with the European Working Time Directive, and a Bradford factor report. Employees can also use the system to request holidays, enter absence requests and view their worked hours. User interfaces can be personalized and offer robust self-service capabilities.
Electronic time clock machines are manufactured in many designs by companies in China and sold under various brand names in places around the world, with accompanying software to extract the data from a single time clock machine, or several machines, and process the data into reports. In most cases local suppliers offer technical support and in some cases installation services.
More recently, time clocks have started to adopt technology commonly seen in phones and tablets – called 'Smartclocks'. The "state of the art" smartclocks come with multi-touch screens, full color displays, real time monitoring for problems, wireless networking and over the air updates. Some of the smartclocks use front-facing cameras to capture employee clock-ins to deter "buddy clocking" or "buddy punching", whereby one employee fraudulently records the time of another. This problem usually requires expensive biometric devices. With the increasing popularity of cloud-based software, some of the newer time clocks are built to work seamlessly with the cloud.
A basic time clock will just stamp the date and time on a time card, similar to a parking validation machine. These will usually be activated by a button that a worker must press to stamp their card, or stamp upon full insertion. Some machines use punch hole cards instead of stamping, which can facilitate automated processing on machinery not capable of optical character recognition.
There are also variations based on manufacture and machine used, and whether the user wants to record weekly or monthly recordings. The time cards usually have the workdays, "time in", and "time out" areas marked on them so that employees can "punch in" or "punch out" in the correct place. The employee may be responsible for lining up the correct area of the card to be punched or stamped. Some time clocks feature a bell or signal relay to alert employees as to a certain time or break.[ citation needed ]
Fraudulent operation of time clocks can include overstamping, where one time is stamped over another, and buddy-punching, where one employee records time for another. In extreme cases, employees can use buddy-punching to skip entire days of work or accumulate additional overtime.
Self-calculating machines are similar to basic time clocks. Nevertheless, at the end of each period the total time recorded is added up allowing for quicker processing by human resources or payroll. These machines sometimes have other functions such as automatic stamping, dual-colour printing, and automated column shift.[ citation needed ]
Software based time and attendance systems are similar to paper-based systems, but they rely on computers and check-in terminals. They are backed up with software that can be integrated with the human resources department and in some cases payroll software. These types of systems are becoming more popular but due to high initial costs, they are usually only adopted by large businesses of over 30 employees. Despite this they can save a business a lot of money every year by cutting down errors and reducing administration time. [ citation needed ]
With the mass market proliferation of mobile devices (smart phones, handheld devices), new types of self-calculating time tracking systems have been invented which allow a mobile workforce – such as painting companies or construction companies - to track employees 'on' and 'off' hours. This is generally accomplished through either a mobile application, or an IVR based phone call in system. Using a mobile device allows enterprises to better validate that their employees or suppliers are physically 'clocking in' at a specific location using the GPS functionality of a mobile phone for extra validation.
Biometric time clocks are a feature of more advanced time and attendance systems. Rather than using a key, code or chip to identify the user, they rely on a unique attribute of the user, such as a hand print, finger print, finger vein, palm vein, facial recognition, iris or retina. The user will have their attribute scanned into the system. Biometric readers are often used in conjunction with an access control system, granting the user access to a building, and at the same time clocking them in recording the time and date. These systems also attempt to cut down on fraud such as "buddy clocking." When combined with an access control system they can help prevent other types of fraud such as 'ghost employees', where additional identities are added to payroll but do not exist.
Herman Hollerith was a German-American statistician, inventor, and businessman who developed an electromechanical tabulating machine for punched cards to assist in summarizing information and, later, in accounting. His invention of the punched card tabulating machine, patented in 1884, marks the beginning of the era of mechanized binary code and semiautomatic data processing systems, and his concept dominated that landscape for nearly a century.
A punched card is a piece of card stock that stores digital data using punched holes. Punched cards were once common in data processing and the control of automated machines.
A sound card is an internal expansion card that provides input and output of audio signals to and from a computer under the control of computer programs. The term sound card is also applied to external audio interfaces used for professional audio applications.
Computer operating systems (OSes) provide a set of functions needed and used by most application programs on a computer, and the links needed to control and synchronize computer hardware. On the first computers, with no operating system, every program needed the full hardware specification to run correctly and perform standard tasks, and its own drivers for peripheral devices like printers and punched paper card readers. The growing complexity of hardware and application programs eventually made operating systems a necessity for everyday use.
A smart card (SC), chip card, or integrated circuit card is a physical electronic authentication device, used to control access to a resource. It is typically a plastic credit card-sized card with an embedded integrated circuit (IC) chip. Many smart cards include a pattern of metal contacts to electrically connect to the internal chip. Others are contactless, and some are both. Smart cards can provide personal identification, authentication, data storage, and application processing. Applications include identification, financial, public transit, computer security, schools, and healthcare. Smart cards may provide strong security authentication for single sign-on (SSO) within organizations. Numerous nations have deployed smart cards throughout their populations.
The point of sale (POS) or point of purchase (POP) is the time and place at which a retail transaction is completed. At the point of sale, the merchant calculates the amount owed by the customer, indicates that amount, may prepare an invoice for the customer, and indicates the options for the customer to make payment. It is also the point at which a customer makes a payment to the merchant in exchange for goods or after provision of a service. After receiving payment, the merchant may issue a receipt for the transaction, which is usually printed but can also be dispensed with or sent electronically.
Electronic data processing (EDP) can refer to the use of automated methods to process commercial data. Typically, this uses relatively simple, repetitive activities to process large volumes of similar information. For example: stock updates applied to an inventory, banking transactions applied to account and customer master files, booking and ticketing transactions to an airline's reservation system, billing for utility services. The modifier "electronic" or "automatic" was used with "data processing" (DP), especially c. 1960, to distinguish human clerical data processing from that done by computer.
Starting at the end of the nineteenth century, well before the advent of electronic computers, data processing was performed using electromechanical machines collectively referred to as unit record equipment, electric accounting machines (EAM) or tabulating machines. Unit record machines came to be as ubiquitous in industry and government in the first two-thirds of the twentieth century as computers became in the last third. They allowed large volume, sophisticated data-processing tasks to be accomplished before electronic computers were invented and while they were still in their infancy. This data processing was accomplished by processing punched cards through various unit record machines in a carefully choreographed progression. This progression, or flow, from machine to machine was often planned and documented with detailed flowcharts that used standardized symbols for documents and the various machine functions. All but the earliest machines had high-speed mechanical feeders to process cards at rates from around 100 to 2,000 per minute, sensing punched holes with mechanical, electrical, or, later, optical sensors. The operation of many machines was directed by the use of a removable plugboard, control panel, or connection box. Initially all machines were manual or electromechanical. The first use of an electronic component was in 1937 when a photocell was used in a Social Security bill-feed machine. Electronic components were used on other machines beginning in the late 1940s.
Hauppauge Computer Works is a US manufacturer and marketer of electronic video hardware for personal computers. Although it is most widely known for its WinTV line of TV tuner cards for PCs, Hauppauge also produces personal video recorders, digital video editors, digital media players, hybrid video recorders and digital television products for both Windows and Mac. The company is named after the hamlet of Hauppauge, New York, in which it is based.
A timesheet is a method for recording the amount of a worker's time spent on each job. Traditionally a sheet of paper with the data arranged in tabular format, a timesheet is now often a digital document or spreadsheet. The time cards stamped by time clocks can serve as a timesheet or provide the data to fill one. These, too, are now often digital. Timesheets came into use in the 19th century as time books. To record time in a more granular fashion, time-tracking software may be used.
Time and attendance systems (T&A) are used to track and monitor when employees start and stop work. A time and attendance system enables an employer to monitor their employees working hours and late arrivals, early departures, time taken on breaks and absenteeism. It also helps to control labor costs by reducing over-payments, which are often caused by paying employees for time that are not working, and eliminates transcription error, interpretation error and intentional error. T&A systems can also be used to ensure compliance with labor regulations regarding proof of attendance.
Employee scheduling software automates the process of creating and maintaining a schedule. Automating the scheduling of employees increases productivity and allows organizations with hourly workforces to re-allocate resources to non-scheduling activities. Such software will usually track vacation time, sick time, compensation time, and alert when there are conflicts. As scheduling data is accumulated over time, it may be extracted for payroll or to analyze past activity. Although employee scheduling software may or may not make optimization decisions, it does manage and coordinate the tasks. Today's employee scheduling software often includes mobile applications. Mobile scheduling further increased scheduling productivity and eliminated inefficient scheduling steps. It may also include functionality including applicant tracking and on-boarding, time and attendance, and automatic limits on overtime. Such functionality can help organizations with issues like employee retention, compliance with labor laws, and other workforce management challenges.
The Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company (CTR) was a holding company of manufacturers of record-keeping and measuring systems subsequently known as IBM.
International Business Machines (IBM) is a multinational corporation specializing in computer technology and information technology consulting. Headquartered in Armonk, New York, United States, the company traces its roots to the amalgamation of various enterprises dedicated to automating routine business transactions, notably pioneering punched card-based data tabulating machines and time clocks. In 1911, these entities were unified under the umbrella of the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company (CTR).
The Bundy Manufacturing Company was a 19th-century American manufacturer of timekeeping devices that went through a series of mergers, eventually becoming part of International Business Machines and Simplex Time Recorder Company. It was the first time-recording company in the world to produce time clocks, colloquially known as 'Bundys'. The company was founded by the Bundy Brothers.
nettime solutions is an American software company based in Scottsdale, Arizona. The company produces time and attendance software for businesses. The software is developed to help companies keep track of labor management data in real time. The software is intended to help compliance with local, state, and federal labor laws. In 2010, the company's software as a service handled over $3 billion in payroll.
TCP Software is a cloud-based time and attendance workforce management system founded in 1988 to serve the time tracking needs in the restaurant industry. Developed as a DOS application, the system developed into a Windows application, and transferred to be a web application. The software is available under a SaaS and serves 30,000 customers, overseeing millions of customers on the public and private scale.
A time book is a mostly outdated accounting record, that registered the hours worked by employees in a certain organization in a certain period. These records usually contain names of employees, type of work, hours worked, and sometimes wages paid.
A biometric device is a security identification and authentication device. Such devices use automated methods of verifying or recognising the identity of a living person based on a physiological or behavioral characteristic. These characteristics include fingerprints, facial images, iris and voice recognition.