Q. I just opened TimePilot Central, and the program is telling me there’s an update available. Do you have any tips to make the update go smoothly?
A. Yes: Before you start the update, close TimePilot Central. Re-start it after the update is finished. The changes introduced by the update won’t be available until you re-start the software.
Please note: We're constantly trying to perfect the TimePilot software, and every customer's installation is different. Many of these updates are intended to address problems experienced by individual customers or small groups of customers. They won't damage your installation, but if your TimePilot is performing as expected and is providing all the features you want, there is no need to update your software.
don't you make a biometric (fingerprint) system?
A. To put it bluntly, we think fingerprint-based systems are more trouble that they are worth. When they work, they’re fine, but they have far more problems than iButton-based systems. A considerable percentage of people don’t have fingerprints that are distinct enough to be read by the scanners. Other problems: If a person has lotion on their hands, it can smear the glass; and there’s the question of sanitation (do you really want to touch something that was just touched by a sick colleague?). Bottom line: No system is perfect, but we believe iButton-based systems offer the best combination of security and trouble-free use.
Q. Our company is about to open a second location. Can we add another Vetro clock and install the TimePilot Central software at a second building and have them communicate with our original location over our network?
A. Yes, you can have as many clocks as you like and load our software on as many PCs as you want as long as the computers are on the same network and sending their clock-ins and clock-outs to the same database. You can also mix and match TimePilot timeclocks; for instance, if the ruggedized, weatherproof Vetro system or TimePilot PC is a better match for your second location, you can use that there.
Q. My employees do not work a regular schedule. Do I need to set up a shift schedule?
A. No, but you'll need to assign those employees the "No Shift" option when you're setting them up in the system (TimePilot Central > Setup > Profile Setup).
Q. How do I check my iButtons to make sure they're working correctly?
A. iButtons have a very long lifespan and are extremely durable. Though they may resemble a watch battery, they contain no power source to run down. They're guaranteed for 10 years, but we've found they usually last far beyond that time. However, like any other product, there is a chance (miniscule in our experience) one could be flawed. Here's how to test your iButtons:
- Tap the iButton to a timeclock that's receiving power. The station does not need to be connected to a computer, nor does the iButton have to be set up on the system.
- If the timeclock emits a sound or any text appears on the LCD screen, the iButton is working correctly.
Q. What’s new at TimePilot?
A. As a reward for reading all the way down to this point, here’s some inside information: TimePilot is coming out with a new product in a few weeks that we think will surprise the industry and give our customers a whole new way of tracking their employees’ time. The next newsletter will have all the details, but keep checking our web site, www.TimePilot.com, for the announcement.
What month is it? Listopad means "October" in Croatian and "November" in Czech. At their closest, the two countries are only about 150 miles apart.
A moment more than a minute: A moment was a medieval unit of time equal to 1 minute and 30 seconds.
TimePilot newsletter No. 15
Whether you're a current or future TimePilot customer, we're glad to see you.
Every month we'll offer news about TimePilot products, tips on how to use them more efficiently, some of the "cool stuff" our employees have come across and a special deal available only to those who receive this newsletter!
In this issue:
- TimePilot Tips: Update suggestions; new product coming (you read it here first!).
- TimePilot Best Practices: All about extraction.
- Cool Stuff: Prezi.
- The Deal: 20% off all iButtons.
TimePilot Best Practices
All About Extraction
The word “Extraction” can mean many different things. If you’re a dentist, it means pulling a tooth; if you’re a soldier, it means removing someone from a hostile area. And if you’re a TimePilot user, it means something totally different, but equally important.
As employees clock in and out of your system, their clock-ins and clock-outs accumulate in TimePilot’s Current Transactions database on your PC or server. They build up fast: If you have 15 employees, all of whom clock in or out four times a day (“in” to start work, “out” for lunch, “in” after lunch and “out” at the end of the day), that’s 60 transactions a day, 300 a week, 1,200 a month, more than 14,000 a year.
Too many transactions in the database slow down the TimePilot software, as well as making it extremely unwieldy for supervisors to use. (Would you want to scroll through a thousand transactions to see when an employee clocked in nine months ago?)
That’s why we strongly recommend extracting your transactions at the end of your pay period. When you do this, you remove the transactions that occurred between two times and dates (usually the start and the end of your pay period) from Current Transactions and place those transactions in a separate database. From there, you can run reports, make corrections to individual transactions, etc.
To visualize the concept, imagine the database is a huge pot. Every day, the TimePilot timeclocks dump more clock-ins and clock-outs into the pot. Now it’s the end of a two-week pay period, so you want to remove just clock-ins and clock-outs for the last two weeks from the pot. With the TimePilot Central software, you “extract” just those transactions and move them to a separate, smaller pot. In the smaller pot, it’s much easier to see what you have and it keeps the big pot from eventually overflowing.
There are other benefits to extracting your transactions, too:
- It keeps all the transactions for one pay period in one place.
- Along with the saved transactions, it also saves all the software settings—overtime policy, shifts, employee profiles, etc.—that were in effect at the moment you extracted the period. This is important because if you later make changes to your company's work policies while working in Current Transactions, those changes will not affect any extracted periods. For instance, the software will prevent you from deleting an employee until that employee's transactions have been extracted from Current Transactions. If the software didn't do this, and you deleted an employee, you'd have "orphan" transactions—transactions without an owner.
- It enables you to save those transactions to a CD or backup drive.
Extracting a pay period is a simple process. Here’s how:
- Start TimePilot Central
- Click the “Periods” menu, then “Begin Extraction…”
- Choose the company and the start and end dates and times in the pop-up box and then click “Begin Extraction.”
Questions and answers
Q. How do I view an extracted pay period?
A. Start TimePilot Central, click the “Periods” menu, then click “Open Past Time Period…” Choose your period (they’re listed by date) and click OK.
Q. How do I know whether I’ve opened my Current Transactions or an extracted pay period?
A. If you’re in Current Transactions, you’ll see a green bar across the top of the transactions in TimePilot Central; if you’re in an extracted pay period the bar will be yellow. Also, the title bar at the top of the TimePilot Central screen will contain the words "Current Transactions" or the dates of the extracted pay period.
Q. I extracted a pay period, but I got the dates wrong. What can I do?
A. You can return the extracted transactions to the database and re-extract with the correct dates. It’s called a “reverse extraction” and, using the concept mentioned above, it’s like dumping all the D’s back into the soup pot and starting over. To perform a reverse extraction, open the incorrect extracted pay period in TimePilot Central, then click the “Administrative” menu and choose “Reverse Extraction.”
This month’s special offer
to TimePilot newsletter readers:
20% off all iButtons!
This deal applies to all our packs of iButtons (5, 10, 30, 50, 100 or 200) in any color. Discounts range from $7.90 (for a 5-pack) to $143 (for a 200-pack).
(Save up to $143 over list price)
To learn more about the deal, click here, visit www.TimePilot.com/newsletter/newsletter4.htm or call us at 1-630-879-6400.