One of the most challenging jobs in the world is that of IT manager for a manufacturing company. Managing the security, access and workflow of information and data for a large company is hard enough. Doing so for such an immensely diverse workforce as that at a manufacturing company can prove to be the impossible task.
IT managers at manufacturing companies must create a network that is safe, secure, reliable and fast. They must deploy a solution that gives specific access to a wide variety of employee levels. And they must design a system that is easy to use for their diverse workforce that often consists of white collar executives and blue collar factory workers.
As any manufacturing executive will tell you, things need to work seamlessly for the operation to be successful. The technology infrastructure of the company needs to run almost in the background, with very few barriers to access and as few frustrating points as possible.
Executives at the top of the chain need to have access to data, information and systems that may contain private and confidential information. Factory workers, meanwhile, need access to only certain levels within the system, such as the ability to clock in and out of work or the ability to run reports or complete tasks that are essential for their position.
In the days of old – for the purposes of this example, only a few years ago – the way to provide the correct access while ensuring a high level of security was through user-specific passwords. But, as any IT professional will tell you, passwords aren’t very secure nowadays. Not only are they an easier technology to hack, but they are also susceptible to breaches due to a user sharing their password with another person or writing the password down and keeping it in a common place for others to see.
This can provide quite the conundrum to IT managers at manufacturing companies.
One of the best solutions to this challenge today is biometric workforce management technology – a safe, secure and seamless way to ensure proper access with little to no hands-on management.
What is Biometric Workforce Management Technology?
Biometric technology has been around for quite some time, but until recently, it hadn’t made its way into mainstream society. For years, the most common place people might be familiar with biometric technology is fingerprinting technology used by police. Fingerprints can be recorded and entered into a national database, and then searched and cross-referenced through this database to see if an offender has, for example, committed another crime in another jurisdiction.
Fingerprint technology made its way into everyday life a few years ago when smartphone manufacturers began using it as a way for people to unlock their phones. This technology would allow a user to record their fingerprint in the phone, replacing the need to enter a passcode or PIN. The latest generations of iPhones took that a step further, integrating facial recognition technology to replace the fingerprint technology.
Biometric technology is much more secure than entering a password, passcode or PIN because it can’t be hacked. Passwords, passcodes and PINs can easily be stolen, hacked or shared and then used by an unauthorized person to access an account.
Biometric technology, meanwhile, is specific to each person. Humans have unique fingerprints and faces, which can’t be stolen or replicated. Hackers can gain access to a system and steal stored password information, but they cannot steal someone’s fingerprints or face.
IT managers have the ability to set access levels for each user in the company, as before, but now employees will either scan their fingerprints or their face to gain access to the system.
Biometric Workforce Management Technology Saves Time
One of the biggest benefits of biometric workforce management technology for manufacturing companies is the amount of time it saves. The technology can easily be integrated into a number of tasks an employee needs to complete on a daily basis.
The simplest example of this are clocking in and out of work. Biometric technology can work directly with mobile technology and apps, allowing employees to scan their fingerprints or faces into a time management app so they can clock in and out of work on the go from their phones, for example. This would replace the need for factory employees to huddle around a time management computer terminal or record their time on a written timesheet.
This digital system of time management can then be integrated seamlessly with the manufacturing company’s payroll, saving time and significantly reducing human error in the HR department.
Biometric Workforce Management Technology Increases Security
At the same time, biometric technology can substantially increase security. Many manufacturing companies have various parts of buildings or work sites that have restricted access. Managing that access can be a challenge.
With biometric technology, fingerprint and/or facial recognition scanners can be set up at entryways to secure parts of buildings, which would then grant access only to people who have the appropriate clearance. This makes the process of granting the right access much easier and, most importantly, much more secure.
No longer do manufacturing companies have to worry about security breaches related to someone stealing or misplacing a worker’s entry badge, or hacking a worker’s entry PIN. The biometric technology in this case will ensure that only the appropriate employees are granted access to the parts of the facility they need to access.
Biometric workforce management technology is an essential tool for manufacturing companies in the 21st century. Transitioning away from password and/or PIN number access to fingerprint/facial recognition technology is the wave of the future. It can save a significant amount of time and money while at the same time increasing the safety and security of a manufacturing company’s vast network and facilities.