News Archive

Access Roll Call

by msecadm4921

Access control product manufacturer Paxton reports that its Net2 system has supplied food producer Bigham’s with a flexible solution. It controls access and records timekeeping for more than 200 staff working in kitchen, office and storage areas throughout two buildings in Park Royal, London.

The security system ensures that only authorised people can gain access to each area. It takes just moments to issue a new staff member with a card tailored to their role or – equally importantly – to cancel the card if someone leaves.

Installer Photech (UK) Limited has fitted 16 doors with the Net2 access control system and has also installed five sets of readers which are used by staff to clock in and out at the ends of their shifts.

Photech is based in Chinnor in Oxfordshire and also has an office in Park Royal, close to Bigham’s. The privately-owned company was founded in 1998 and operates manned guarding and electronic security divisions. It was already proving Bigham’s with guarding services. Impetus for fitting Net2 came from the opening of a second factory about 1.5km from the original.

Bigham’s has been growing at more than 35 per cent a year and its success was recently marked with the title of ‘outstanding small business of the year’ in the prestigious IGD awards. The company combines fresh ingredients into meal kits which can be cooked in no more than 10 minutes using nothing more complicated than a frying pan or wok. Charlie Bigham founded the company in 1996 after being inspired by his travels abroad. There are seven ranges suited to different types of occasions and tastes, including everyday kitchen classics and dishes from all over the world.

Operations to produce the newly-expanded range of recipes are now split between the two buildings. New menus are prepared in test kitchens and there are also office areas for administration staff, a canteen, storerooms and the main production facilities. The new access control system encompasses the original site as well as the new building.

What they say

"The Paxton system did everything that Bigham’s wanted it to do. In particular, it had to be capable of monitoring time and attendance,” says Photech managing director Kevin Moores. Getting this right was a priority as the clocking in system is used to control and log the time worked by more than 200 people. The access control system records the times when they swipe in and swipe out at the beginning and end of their shifts and this is tied in with the wages system.

"It is proving very effective – it used to be a very time consuming task to gather the data at the end of every month," says Bigham’s founder Charlie Bigham. "We have been very happy with how the system works."

Photech reports that it had used Paxton equipment before. “We found it to be very simple to install and program as well as being very simple for users to operate," says Kevin Moores. This ease of operation was essential, it is reported, as frequent changes are needed, in particular to accommodate changes in temporary staffing. Photech has a put together a demonstration case containing the Paxton control equipment and the swipe units. “We set up a demonstration so that Bigham’s could try it out for a week – they found it to be very good,” he adds. “It was plugged into a computer, and staff members at Bigham’s were able to try it out and confirm that it was producing the reports that they wanted.”

The system covers from administrative and IT areas to the test kitchens where new recipes are perfected and the production areas where the range is prepared and packaged ready for sale. There are five levels of access. Everyone has access to the main entrances. Once inside, entry through internal doors is closely restricted depending on the person’s role.

‘Clocking in’ takes place in five areas covering the places where office, production and packing teams work. There is a pair of readers in each location, sited separately from the readers that control the doors. People touch the ‘clocking in’ or ‘out’ reader as appropriate when they are ready to start work – which may not be immediately after they have arrived. Cards are worn on a chain around the neck, making it easy, installers report, to swipe within the required 150mm or so of the reader.

Access control systems covering both buildings are connected via broadband ADSL and connected centrally to the company’s main server. “It runs as an unmanned unit except when reports are needed or new cards need to be added,” says Kevin Moores. The system is managed from the desk of the company’s main administrator who can make the necessary personnel updates as required.

New access cards are supplied by Photech when the supply runs low and it takes just moments for Bigham’s to add or update the status of an individual card. If someone leaves, they can be deleted from the system if they have failed to hand their card back. “No-one can get in without an authorised card, so security isn’t compromised,” says Kevin Moores. Small deposits are now being charged by Bigham’s to prevent the wastage of temporary staff leaving with the card.

Photech has integrated the access control with Bigham’s fire system. The Net2 system incorporates roll-call functionality, with people’s whereabouts registered as they enter particular areas. If there were to be a fire, the fire panel would tell the computer to open all the doors. The roll call is carried out in the designated area outdoors, drawing on a printed list of information from the Net2 system about who had been in the building. “Having the list would speed up the process of checking who has still not arrived at the roll call area," says Kevin Moores.

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