Clocking In at BMW

New time management system at luxury car manufacturer provides flexibility to track changing shift patterns, RFID badges

Miami Lakes, FL — May 6, 2003 — Kaba Benzing, a subsidiary of $690 million Kaba Holding AG and a provider of time and labor management systems, this week announced that BMW extended the use of its SAP time management component by collecting employee time and labor data with Kaba Benzing's B-COMM for SAP R/3 time and labor management system and 9380 terminals.

The more than 4,700-employee BMW Spartanburg plant produces 750 vehicles daily, including 390 BMW X5 sports activity vehicles and 360 Z4 roadsters. To do so, the plant is open six days per week and uses flexible working hour models.

"Based on forecasts of high demand for the new sports activity vehicle, we needed to ramp up production of the X5 quickly," explained Wayne Pressley, BMW section manager. "That meant we needed to change shift patterns and our old time management system could not handle that. Our first Kaba Benzing terminals were installed at the body shop in March of 2001.

"We had also made the switch to the SAP system and needed to have our time clocks and time data collection interface with SAP," Pressley continued. "We wanted to minimize implementation problems by selecting a certified SAP partner, and Kaba Benzing interfaces with more than 700 SAP installations around the world. The Kaba Benzing America team was able to quickly create a custom application to support our unique needs; we were live in just 60 days after our first meeting."

B-COMM for SAP R/3 links Kaba Benzing terminals and other hardware data devices to SAP R/3, releases 3.1 to 4.6. It automates and validates the collection of employee and labor data for entry into SAP solutions. Additionally, the core of the software is SAP-certified interface software that enables data exchange between the individual SAP applications and the data collection devices. This interface is kept current with all new SAP technical developments. All data maintenance takes place in the SAP solution, according to the provider.

"B-COMM is a reliable interface between the terminals and data collection server to our SAP system," says Pressley. "The terminals can store punches if the system goes down, ensuring that we always have accurate information. We transfer data from the data collection server to the SAP server every 30 minutes, posting the data to time management."

At installation, the body shop had to be up and running first. Since BMW employees had been using radio frequency identification device (RFID)-based ID badges, Kaba Benzing initially provided them with touch screen terminals and went to work creating the proximity credential reader. Within six months, all employees were able to clock in with their RFID badges, according to the provider. BMW also had Kaba Benzing create a special transaction to cover instances in which an employee forgets his or her ID badge. As a result, employees can simply clock in using the touch screen, which Pressley said is much easier than creating a special time card for one day only.

Today, four of the color, touch screen 9380 time and labor terminals are placed at the main entrance of the 1.5 million square foot main production building where the majority of employees enter. They are also implemented at other entrances and at the training and development center, maintenance shop and additional buildings. The goal, in all cases, is to place the terminals as close to the employee's individual production center as possible.

"As our plant expands, we will add more terminals," Pressley stated. "After all, this is the system that collects our people's work hours to determine their pay."

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