I was delighted to be asked to pen an article for CEO Today Magazine. The piece is called “Do more with less: 5 Steps to Capitalize on the Resources You Already Have“. It’s a familiar topic around here as we speak to hundreds of organizations who use TimeControl to identify time that is being spent on tasks that is unproductive. If you’re interested in reading the article, you can find it at: https://www.ceotodaymagazine.com/2019/05/do-more-with-less-5-steps-to-capitalize-on-the-resources-you-already-have/.
We’re delighted to tell you that we have just finished collaborating with WHP Engineering on a greate case study describing how this UK-based engineering company has implemented TimeControl to improve operational efficiency in the organization.
WHP Engineering specializes in precision engineered solutions for the biotechnology, pharmaceutical and other clean process manufacturing industries. It has grown more than 135% since 2017.
WHP has deployed TimeControl in part due to its integration with both Oracle Primavera and Sage and are delighted with the results.
“The fact that I can see what projects people are spending their hours on and what they’re delivering for those hours is crucial,” explained John Wheeler, WHP’s Engineering Manager. “If we hadn’t made the change to TimeControl, we certainly wouldn’t have the level of key business metrics that we’re getting now.”
Our TimeControl.com website hosts a section that will be of interest to anyone considering a new timesheet. The TimeControl Buyer’s Guide contains numerous resources that are the culmination of experience from our HMS timesheet deployment experts.
This area of the website provides information that both helps prospective timesheet buyers determine what kind of timesheet they might require and then shows how TimeControl can respond to those requirements. The information isn’t specific to just TimeControl so no matter what kind of timesheet you’re looking for, this section of our site may be useful.
The Timesheet Buyer’s Guide includes a number of tools that may be of interest to those considering a new timesheet system including:
- Webcasts of how to determine what type of timesheet might be required,
- A white paper analyzing the choice of buying a commercial off the shelf timesheet system vs. subscribing to a timesheet in the cloud vs. writing your own customized timesheet
- A downloadable evaluation checklist spreadsheet of the most commonly requested timesheet features with options for weighting features and scoring multiple timesheet systems,
- A Return on Investment Calculator spreadsheet which shows the financial impact of automating your timesheet system and;
- Numerous links to other resources.
The HMS Timesheet Buyer’s Guide is available at: TimeControl.com/why-timecontrol/buyers-guide. Access to the Buyer’s Guide is free.
We are delighted to announce that we have completed testing the integration of TimeControl with Microsoft Project 2019 for the Desktop. This continues an unbroken integration of TimeControl with every version of Microsoft Project since 1995. Yep – 1995 when the Dow was at 5117 and you could get a new car for $15,000. Ebay got started that year and a new revolution – the DVD was announced. It’s not a trivial thing to say that the relationship between HMS and Microsoft is one of the oldest technical alliances in the software industry.
We believe that the integration between TimeControl and Microsoft Project is essential. Many software companies focus solely on integrating with Microsoft’s Project Server. We have that integration also but there are millions of licenses of Project Desktop in the market and delivering an integrated centralized timesheet that can link to them is how TimeControl is best known.
We’re proud that TimeControl has had the longest standing integration with Microsoft Project of any tool in any category in the industry.”
The integration between TimeControl and Microsoft Project has evolved over the 24 years it has existed. The link currently supports Microsoft Project, Microsoft Project Online, Microsoft Project Server and many other Microsoft products like SharePoint and Excel.
Integrating TimeControl with Microsoft Project gives a single source of timesheet entry for multiple purposes. TimeControl’s auditable, multi-purpose design means the timesheet can be used not only for updating Microsoft Project with hours, costs, material and equipment consumption and task progress but also for updating Payroll, HR, Billing, Job costing, R&D tax audit tracking, Defense Contract Audit Agency Compliance and much more.
The TimeControl website contains numerous resources to support organizations who wish to explore how the link between TimeControl and Microsoft Project can help make them more effective.
- For information on the link between TimeControl and Microsoft Project, visit: TimeControl.com/use-cases/microsoft-project-on-desktop.
- For information on the link between TimeControl and Microsoft Project Server, visit: TimeControl.com/use-cases/ms-project-server.
- For information on the link between TimeControl and Microsoft Project Online, visit: TimeControl.com/use-cases/ms-project-online.
For more information on which Microsoft technologies can be advantageous when using TimeControl, visit the Microsoft TimeControl portal. It includes numerous free resources including white papers, webcasts, PowerPoint presentations and more. The Portal can be found at: Microsoft.TimeControl.com.
Once again we’re proud to publish a letter from one of our clients. In this case it is our UK-based friends at Hyde Part Solutions. We’ve known the HPS for years so when they went looking for a timesheet, we were delighted to work with them. The letter from Richard Jebb, the HPS Chief Technology Officer explains how the flexibility of TimeControl was a deciding factor. HPS has been growing at a rapid pace the last couple of years and we wish them continued success. You can read the letter in its entirety at TimeControl.com/why-timecontrol/testimonials/hydepark.
Our thanks to Richard and the whole HPS team for their kind letter!
We’re delighted to tell you that TimeControl 7.4.1 is now available for download. This version updates TimeControl, TimeControl Industrial, TimeControl Online and the free TimeControl Mobile App. TimeControl and TimeControl Industrial clients with a current support and maintenance agreement can download the new version immediately at TimeControl.com/support/updates. HMS is preparing for the upgrade of TimeControl Online which will happen automatically in the next 2-3 weeks. TimeControl Online customers will be notified a week in advance of the update.
There are many new features to be excited about. Here are some of the highlights:
TimeControl now supports multiple methods of displaying a hierarchy of charge codes. TimeControl has long been recognized for supporting hierarchical charge structures but the new functionality takes this to a new level. Field hierarchy permits hierarchy to be built from multiple user defined fields in the Charge Table and you can create multiple breakdowns then switch them on the fly when you’re searching for charge codes in the timesheet!
Numerous new API methods
We have made extensive additions to the TimeControl API making it even easier to integrate TimeControl as part of an overall corporate environment.
Mobile Debit/Credit Adjustments
The TimeControl Mobile App now allows Debit/Credit update Adjustments. This allows supervisors and administrators to open a Posted timesheet and apply adjustments to that timesheet and release those adjustments to Posting.
Mobile Posted Expenses and Attachments
The TimeControl Mobile App now includes the ability to view the expenses that are attached to a posted timesheet in the past as well as any attachments that might have been associated to the timesheet or expenses.
We have made major changes to the Assignments Table. Assignments can now be made as part of a person’s full time availability so one person could be put on two tasks simultaneously at 50% of their availability each. You can also now have the assignment start and finish be dates other than the charge start and stop so assignments that were meant to occur only during part of the charge can be defined that way.
Administrator configuration enhancements
We have taken numerous elements of the TimeControl configuration and moved them from the TimeControl.INI file into the Administrator System Preferences and User Profiles functions. This will make a huge difference for TimeControl Online environments where some of these features had to be managed at the server level.
New User Profile Features
There are numerous new settings in User Profiles that allows TimeControl’s configuration to be tailored to the person or group with that User Profile setting. These changes include all-new Super-User reject and Modify rights . You can also change how the Timesheet List appears, allowing only a certain number of weeks in the past or future to display. A new Highlight feature helps when adding a timesheet by highlighting the current week or the last missing week for a new timesheet.
Control Period Create Times
When creating timesheets, TimeControl allows the number of periods in the past and the future to be constrained to avoid accidentally creating a timesheet in the wrong period or in a period when Finance is not expecting it.
We’ve made it possible to control who is allowed to copy hours when creating a new timesheet using the Copy Timesheet function and activated the ability to copy hours.
There’s so much more. We’ve done a lot of work on high volume capacity, improved performance, added more revision auditing, and improved usability across the application.
Find out more at TimeControl.com/features/latest
We have the privilege of having some pretty awesome clients. For those who have visited the HMS Software offices in person, you know the corridors are covered in testimonial letters written by clients over the years and we are very proud of each and every one of them. This month we received what is, for us, a first. Marie-Lyne Vachon, the Financial Controller at our Quebec-based client R2.ca sent us a beautiful testimonial letter in French. You’d think with HMS having our headquarters in Quebec Canada and with virtually all our staff being bilingual, this would happen more often but it has not. We’ve taken the liberty of translating the letter so you can read the original letter in French or the translated letter in English. From all of us at HMS to our users at R2.ca and Marie-Lyne we say a hearty thank you!
We don’t do enough French blog posts due to our large profile of clients outside of Quebec and Canada but for this letter we can’t resist!
Nous avons le privilège d’avoir des clients assez impressionnants. Pour ceux qui ont visité les bureaux de HMS Software en personne, vous savez que les couloirs sont couverts par des lettres de témoignage écrites par des clients au fil des ans et nous sommes très fiers de chacun d’entre eux. Ce mois-ci, nous avons reçu ce qui est, pour nous, une première. Marie-Lyne Vachon, contrôleur financier chez notre client québécois R2.ca, nous a envoyé une belle lettre de témoignage en français. Vous penseriez que si HMS avait son siège social au Québec, au Canada, et que presque tout notre personnel était bilingue, cela se produirait plus souvent, mais ce n’est pas le cas. Nous avons pris la liberté de traduire la lettre afin que vous puissiez lire la lettre originale en français ou la lettre traduite en anglais. De tous les employés de HMS à nos utilisateurs de R2.ca et de Marie-Lyne, nous disons un grand merci!
The first timekeeping systems were surely built around the idea of a punch clock. These clocks would be placed near the entrance to a building and hourly workers would be required to insert a card into the clock to have it stamped with the current time. The start and stop of the day would be used to calculate the hours present and thus the hours to be paid.
As technology advanced, so did the entire idea of timesheets. TimeControl has been around quite some time but even in 1984 when HMS created its first custom timesheet, there were already many clock-based timestamp systems on the market. In fact, the very first timesheet HMS ever created was for Philips Information Systems in Canada and that timesheet included functionality to integrate with the building’s security access system.
When TimeControl became a commercial product in 1994, the lessons learned in the many customized timesheets were woven into it and the concept of integrating with external clock attendance systems remains. But, by 1994 the number of companies in the time clock business was huge and we picked a different direction for TimeControl. Our timesheet would be project-management based, we decided and yet flexible enough to be used for many purposes. Still, just like that first timesheet we built, we expected to have some demand for integration with clock systems.
Clock systems now come in many flavors. Some are biometric based, using hand prints, finger prints or retina scans to ensure that the person clocking in or out is the correct person. Some systems are based on using an employee identification card which is swiped or held in proximity to a reader. And, yes, I’m sure there are still old punch systems with the card and the analog clock.
The purpose of these systems can vary. The original attendance for payroll is the most popular but other systems such as the one we originally used for Philips was for building security. Other applications might be for workforce management such as a hospital or safety such as access to a hazardous area such as a mine or heavy industry facility. We have seen such systems used in fabrication to identify when a new process is being kicked off by using a barcode scanner or an identity card swipe at a workstation.
Whatever the purpose, the end result of those systems records the person who activated the clock, the clock identification and the time. This data ends up in a database and the application software that typically comes with the clock gives some ability to manage what to do with the clock’s time. There are several typical needs of such systems. Let’s take a look at them before we look at how they would relate to TimeControl.
First there are a number of different times to keep track of:
Actual clock time
This is the time associated to the person when it was accessed. By using the clock’s identity, we can usually determine whether this was a clock access on the way in or the way out of the facility.
The actual clock time is almost meaningless if we don’t have a schedule time to compare it to. This was the time that the person accessing the clock was expected to access the clock either in or out
This is heavily dependent on the organization’s rules. If someone accessed the clock at 7:55am and their schedule was to start at 8:00am, then the calculated time is probably 8:00am. But what if they’re 10 minutes late? What if they’re an hour late? The rules for how to calculate the time is based on whatever the rules are for arriving at times outside of the expectation.
Perhaps the person arrived at 6:55am and they were expected at 8:00am. The system then calculates an 8:00am start. But, the person arrived an hour early at the request of their supervisor who now needs to adjust the 8:00am calculated time back to 7:00am.
Regardless of what the rules are, there is always a resolved time; the official start or stop of a period of work.
Whew! That was a lot of time. Let’s turn our attention now to TimeControl.
In the current TimeControl we use a Start/Stop panel in the timesheet to allow the recording of multiple starts and stops of each day for each employee. This means that each employee can have numerous starts and stops of work and TimeControl will calculate the totals of those hours.
This does not replace the standard grid where employees are expected to enter what they did with their day but it does allow organizations to compare what was done with how much time the employee spent. It is even possible to create validation rules to identify when the timesheet does not match the hours spent. There can be many reasons for this of course. For example, the person might have worked outside the office. So these types of validation rules are most commonly warnings rather than errors.
While there is a facility to enter these times manually, the most common way this panel of information is used is to be integrated with one or several external clock systems. TimeControl can easily link to the clock application’s database using either a direct data connection, scheduled import or the TimeControl API to move data from the clock system into this panel of the timesheet. In this case, the panel is made read-only.
The data that is most commonly moved is the official date only with the remaining dates being kept in the original clock system for auditing purposes.
The advantage of integrating data from external clock systems includes having all the timesheet data in one place. It’s extremely uncommon for such systems to have the extensive task, project and rate data that TimeControl includes but by integrating the clock’s start and stop data, the TimeControl reporting set becomes even richer and the source of the most detailed data is all in one place.
Integrating with a clock system means thinking through the process and flow and it’s not for everyone. If you think there is a benefit for you to integrate your external clock system with TimeControl, then talk to someone on the TimeControl technical staff and we’ll do our best to help.
Our technical alliance relationship with Primavera started back in 1997 when TimeControl 3 was about to enter the market. HMS and Primavera had known each other well since the mid 1980s but as competitors selling project management software. Now we had an opportunity to collaborate together as partners instead of adversaries and the president’s of HMS and Primavera struck the deal in a short phone call.
We’ve never looked back.
TimeControl 3 was released that year with a bi-directional integration with Primavera P3 and HMS has maintained the integration with Primavera since that time.
In 2008 Oracle would purchase Primavera but for HMS that only served to draw the two firms closer. HMS already had a partnership with Oracle to enable integration of TimeControl with Oracle Financials and to support the Oracle database.
Now Oracle and HMS have extended their relationship and the relationship has never been stronger. There are so many technical facets to the two firms working together that we’ve had to create a portal to keep track of them all. The TimeControl integration now works in two ways, direct from database-to-datebase or through the Oracle-Primavera Web Services link. The link works with multiple versions of Primavera including Primavera Professional and Primavera EPPM.
There are more Oracle products of course. TimeControl has been configured to work with many different Oracle tools including Oracle EBS, PeopleSoft, JD Edwards and, MySQL.
Some of the many TimeControl’s value-added benefits when linking with Oracle-Primavera include:
- Support for Multiple rates per employee
- Automated business rule validations
- Automated workflow
- Auditable timesheet records suitable for Finance, HR, Invoicing or Payroll
- Missing timesheet notification
- Simultaneous support for multiple versions of Primavera
- The free TimeControl Mobile App for smartphones and tablets supporting both iOS and Android
- matrix timesheet approvals with HMS’s unique Matrix Approval Process for Labor Actuals™
- With TimeControl Industrial, the Crew Timesheet and Materials and Equipment field data collection
HMS is proud of our long standing relationship with Oracle and particularly with the Oracle-Primavera teams. We look forward to a productive year working together as a Gold Partner.
For more information about TimeControl and how it links to Oracle technologies, visit the TimeControl Oracle Solution Portal at: http://www.timecontrol.com/use-cases/oracle-portalor contact HMS at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’re very excited to release this latest update to TimeControl. TimeControl 7.3 comes with some significant new features and many enhancements. This version is available in TimeControl, TimeControl Industrial and shortly in TimeControl Online.
Here’s some of what to expect:
Do your expenses in the free TimeControl Mobile App
The TimeControl Mobile App is a free App designed to work on both Android and iOS (Apple) devices. This version of the TimeControl Mobile App allows you to add expense items to any line in your timesheet. Each timesheet line item allows you to add an unlimited number of expense items and each item is associated to both the charge item and a non-labor resource type. You can also attach multiple receipts as photos or files to each expense item. The TimeControl Mobile App is available at no cost on the Apple Store for iOS devices and Google Play for Android devices.
Use your camera to add attachments to timesheets or expenses
The TimeControl Mobile App now lets you attach multiple items to your timesheet. TimeControl lets you use your device to select photos, videos, to take a picture from your camera or even access files that are available to your device on Google Docs, Dropbox, iCloud or OneDrive.
Schedule reports to be created automatically and sent via
TimeControl reports can now be delivered by email on a schedule. Choose from sending an email on a schedule of your choice with a PDF attachment or just sending a direct link to an encrypted server-stored file.
And much, much more…
There is so much more. We’ve made huge improvements in filtering, added new auditing functionality and reporting for time-off banks, added single-sign-on support to the mobile app, added new dashboards and reports, added budget controls for the Charge and Project tables, enhanced the link to Microsoft Project Online and enhanced performance.
If you are a TimeControl Online subscriber, your systems will be updated over the next couple of weeks. If you are using TimeControl on-premise and have a current support contract, you can access this latest update at: TimeControl.com/support/updates.
For more information on TimeControl 7.3, go to TimeControl.com/features/latest.