uabUniversity saves $70,000 annually, trims time and attendance processing time by 75%

Colleges and universities across the nation face ongoing budget scrutiny. They must operate efficiently to provide a quality education while managing cost.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) is the largest employer in the state of Alabama. In addition to its academic staff, the university employs thousands of hourly employees across dozens of locations in the state. Two of the university’s divisions use Attendance Enterprise to manage time and attendance for more than 1,000 hourly employees. These divisions achieved significant savings and streamlined timekeeping processes.

The Attendance Enterprise solution provides advanced features for managing labor data. It schedules employees; budgets for labor; automates timekeeping, processing and reporting; and interfaces smoothly with the university’s central payroll system. It also meets the unique security and documentation requirements of a research facility.

About the University of Alabama

Hourly UAB employees are organized into several divisions. Each division is responsible for its own time and attendance management, including the selection and maintenance of a time and attendance solution to support the type of work it performs. The payroll processes for all divisions are managed by the university’s central Oracle accounting and nance application. Each division can use its preferred time and attendance system, as long as that system can interface with Oracle or produce output that can be entered into Oracle.

Both the Facilities and the Animal Resources Divisions of the UAB searched for a time and attendance system to replace their internal, largely manual processes for scheduling, timekeeping and reporting. They selected Attendance Enterprise based on the recommendation of workforce management firm Gorrie-Regan & Associates.

Attendance Enterprise scaled easily to meet the needs of both divisions. Management relies upon the solution to track and report time and attendance for their separate – and very different – workforces.

Scalability in Action

The UAB Facilities Division is the university’s largest division, with more than 900 employees including 350 full-time hourly employees and 40 supervisors. The division is made up of several units performing a variety of functions such as facilities maintenance, planning, support services and sustainability.

Animal Resources is a relatively small division with approximately 100 employees responsible for overseeing research laboratories and other highly secure buildings where animals are housed and cared for.

Attendance Enterprise serves the needs of both the Facilities and Animal Resources operations. Supervisors use the system to record time for employees in sites that operate 24/7. Employees use Attendance Enterprise’s time clocks to securely punch in and out.

Streamlined Process

Both Facilities and Animal Resources managed their time and attendance completely with manual processes before launching Attendance Enterprise.
Supervisors built schedules by hand in Excel sheets, and employees punched in and out each day using paper time cards and punch time clocks. At the end of each weekly pay period, supervisors collected timecards, veri ed each employee’s time by manually reviewing the paper timecards, and rekeyed the information into Oracle.

Animal Resources employed a full-time HR sta person who dedicated about half her time to entering data from triple-page carbon-paper timesheets into the university’s Oracle payroll system. In the Facilities Division, supervisors were responsible for all their own data entry. Many of them oversee 30 or more employees, so this manual process was very time-consuming and cumbersome. It also opened the door for human error.

Today, Attendance Enterprise automates and streamlines virtually every step in this process. Facility supervisors easily manage scheduling by accessing the system on their PCs. Management across both UAB divisions access data on all employees to develop optimum schedules that ensure solid coverage for all shifts and locations.

Employees record time using biometric time clocks, or by swiping their university ID badges on conveniently located card readers when entering and leaving each building. Attendance Enterprise automatically captures all clock-in and clock-out times for every employee in every location. Animal Resources uses the system to monitor employee hours. The larger, more complex Facilities Division also links the data with the appropriate pay rates.

Supervisors review time and attendance records each pay period. The Facilities Division generates a batch le for each set of time and attendance records, and feeds the le into Oracle automatically.

“Attendance Enterprise allows for supervisors to better track and process employee time and attendance with a lot less manual work required than before,” says Edwin Dixon, IT Manager of the UAB Facilities Division.

Improved Scheduling

The UAB Facilities and Animal Resources divisions face two unique challenges related to scheduling.

First, the divisions both operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including holidays. The nature of their work requires that one supervisor and a few employees work onsite at all times.

Second, employees operate out of many different buildings and move among them frequently – often within the same day. Facilities Division employees cover 50 buildings and Animal Resources employees are spread across 17, including a Bio-Safety Level 3 (BSL3) research facility.

Before Attendance Enterprise, supervisors had great difficulty scheduling and tracking employee movements, especially on weekends and holidays when overall sta ng was particularly lean. Now, supervisors use advanced scheduling capabilities to view data on all employees across their divisions. With technology on their side, supervisors can better manage overall staffing.

Meeting Requirements of BSL-3 Facilities

Animal Resources employees will likely use hand scanners to sign in and out of a highly secure BSL-3 research facility that will soon become active on campus. The use of hand scanners allows for documented compliance with “personnel suitability” elements of the USDA Security Policies and Procedures for BSL-3 facilities.

BSL3 facilities require a high level of security and close monitoring of employees working inside them at all times. Only employees with particular credentials are allowed in or out, in order to ensure containment of pathogens.

According to Animal Resources Division Financial Officer Tim Crutchfield, Attendance Enterprise’s hand scanners will enable them to support the recordkeeping required for this facility.

Visibility Into Attendance Issues

Facilities and Animal Resources supervisors have more visibility into attendance issues with Attendance Enterprise. They can ensure that employees are working out of the appropriate facilities, monitor tardiness and absenteeism, and con rm start and end times for all employees they supervise – right from their desktop computers.

They can easily identify time and attendance issues, based on data that is 100 percent accurate and objective. If an employee is chronically late, that situation is quickly flagged and the supervisor can address it immediately.

“There’s no way for attendance issues to slip by supervisors when the data is right at their fingertips,” says Dixon.

Time and Cost Savings

The UAB Facilities and the Animal Resources divisions measurably bene t from the use of Attendance Enterprise.

Attendance Enterprise and the biometric hand scanners prevent employees from “buddy punching,” or clocking each other in and out, a practice that had been impossible to prevent with the previous manual time clocks. Today, employees are required to use their own ID badges to sign in and out. They must wear their badges at all times, so they can’t lend them to each other for buddy-punching. This prevents potentially costly abuses that can slow productivity for the entire organization.

This indirect savings, along with overall efficiency and productivity improvements, drive real, measurable, bottom-line bene ts for both UAB divisions.

Dixon notes that Attendance Enterprise has trimmed his division’s time and attendance processing times by about 75 percent.
According to Crutch eld, the Animal Resources Division has saved costs equal to salary and bene ts for one and one-half employees annually. It has also trimmed processing times in half.

Improved Decision-Making

The UAB supervisor teams are pleased to have the time and labor data to make better attendance-related decisions – decisions that help them run their operations more effectively.

“After we launched Attendance Enterprise, supervisors were able to begin focusing more of their attention on their ‘people manager’ responsibilities, rather than spending so much of their time tracking attendance,” explains Clay Boyce, Facilities Division Information Systems Specialist 3. “Given that the supervisors oversee 1,000 UAB employees, the improvements to their efficiency and productivity are extremely far-reaching.”

A Look Ahead

The UAB Facilities and Animal Resources divisions strongly recommend Attendance Enterprise to other educational institutions that want to optimize the efficiency of their time and attendance management.

The management teams also recommend Gorrie-Regan & Associates, the workforce management rm that introduced them to Attendance Enterprise and now services it. The teams are very satis ed with the ongoing customer service provided by Gorrie-Regan & Associates. Crutch eld notes that the workforce management rm is always quick to respond to any service issues.

As they look forward to the university’s continued growth, the UAB divisions remain aware of Attendance Enterprise’s ability to seamlessly manage many pay rates and integrate easily with other workforce management systems. They have peace of mind in knowing that these and many other additional system capabilities are available to help meet future challenges or opportunities.

Attendance Enterprise provides the flexibility and scalability to meet the needs of two diverse divisions and more than 1,000 employees of this large university. The time and attendance solution has eliminated the labor expense of inefficient manual time clocks, paper time cards and the manual steps required to interface with the UAB’s central payroll system. Attendance Enterprise helps university researchers comply with the documentation requirements of highly secure USDA-regulated facilities, while providing scheduling and reporting capabilities that enable supervisors to better manage their teams.

George’s Inc.

George’s Inc., a leading poultry processing company, eliminated manual time keeping calculations, improved control of employee punching, put an end to manually rekeying information intogeorges payroll, and improved the precision of reporting and compliance with industry, state, and federal requirements.

Food processors are under increased pressure to deliver quality products efficiently while rigorously complying with USDA mandates for food safety and still satisfying customer demand for quality and availability. Attendance Enterprise, a comprehensive time and attendance tool, helped transform George’s once arduous labor management and payroll process into a model for operational efficiencies, updated regulatory compliance and reporting, and information transparency.

About George’s Inc.

George’s Inc. is a fully integrated poultry processing company with operations in Arkansas, Missouri, and Virginia. Established in the late 1920’s, George’s is a fourth generation, family-owned business with worldwide sales. Its mission is to satisfy customers with consistent quality poultry products and service by providing an optimum product mix, efficient production, humane animal treatment, and employee development in a safe and supportive work environment. George’s employs over 5,000 workers in seven locations, running three shifts.

PaperTime Cards and Highlighters

Like many manufacturers, George’s used electronic time clocks and paper time cards. Employees selected their time card from a rack and punched at the clock. The commonly used practice in the late 1990s and early 2000s was to print the employee name and Social Security Number on the time card. With greater sensitivity to identity theft, this practice needed to change.

Each employee punched several times a day for breaks and lunch. There was no way to prevent employees from punching in early for a shift, forgetting to punch in or out for breaks, or from “losing” their time card if they arrived late. Buddy punching, where one employee knowingly punches the time card of another, also meant that employee worked time could be misrepresented. Late employees had to find the Human Resources (HR) representative to report their punch time and then it was communicated back to the supervisor.

The large number of employees punching at shift change created bottlenecks. Clocks were located in the break rooms, hallways, and by the doors. Employees punched in and then donned their uniform or safety gear before getting to their work area. At the end of the shift the process was repeated in reverse. There were no standards or time limits for donning and doffing uniforms or walk time so employees punch time varied greatly and needed to be verified by the supervisors.

“Clocking in and out was chaos,” said Tom Ashby, Further Processing Supervisor. “We needed better visibility of information, including how much time it actually took to change and get to the work area before starting the job.”

Schedules and Tracking Paid Time Off

Employee schedules were printed and posted on the wall. Attendance bonuses were paid based on an employee working his or her schedule. Employees punched in and out when they worked their schedule but the payroll clerk used the line leader’s time card as the master card for the employee’s punches.

Prior to today’s regulatory requirements, the master card process was popular in food manufacturing where production can switch from one product line to another during a shift. Rather than each employee stopping and punching separately, the line leader’s punch served as the punch time for all the employees on a production line. The payroll clerk adjusted the employee time cards to match the line leader’s punches and paid to that time. However, if an employee punched out before the line leader, the time card was highlighted and the employee would not receive an attendance bonus if one was applicable.

Sanitation department employees had schedules which guaranteed 8 hours daily or 40 hour per week as long as their work was approved by their Supervisor and USDA. Food safety regulations require standards for cleanliness. If these standards are not met, production stops. Every minute that production is down, costs rise and losses add up quickly. The payroll clerk had to know what was going on operationally and how to pay the Sanitation departments accordingly. This was challenging.

Leave time was also tracked on paper. A leave was requested by filling out a form and turning it into the HR department. HR would notify the supervisor so schedule adjustments could be made and workers found to fill in. Leave had to be taken in full day increments. Leave time was then manually entered into the payroll system.


Understanding the true cost of labor is important to manufacturers, especially in trying economic times. Lean manufacturing means doing more with less. It requires an understanding of equipment, supplies and labor.

George’s management was challenged by their old, manual methods. Their access to departmental costs was limited. If an employee transferred from one department or line to another, the transfer was handwritten on the time card so that the appropriate department could be changed with the labor costs.

“We needed to find a way to pay our employees more accurately using automation rather than humans calculating the time,” said Glen Balch, Vice President Corporate HR. “Labor costs were touched by many departments and we just didn’t have a clear picture of our true costs.”

The information needed to comply with governmental reporting requirements was pulled out of the payroll system. Worker’s compensation reports required a greater level of precision than provided by the system. This meant more manual calculations and rework.

Management was also frustrated with their inability to tie labor costs to production and minimize costly overtime. They needed tools for using piece rates that corresponded to actual labor dollars.

Processing Payroll

The payroll clerk at each of George’s locations compiled each of the time cards every day, manually applying the company’s pay rules to the calculations. It took three to four hours each day to tabulate hours and flag any issues with the time cards. Payroll clerks used colored highlighters on the time cards to indicate different issues that then needed follow up with the supervisor or the employee.

Every Monday, the payroll clerks keyed in the time card data and tabulated employee hours into the payroll system. This cumbersome and error-prone process took about four hours each week, per location. Time cards for each pay period were kept onsite for a month so that if any inaccuracies were reported, they could be readily verified, adjustments made and manual checks cut. The time cards were then moved to o site storage.

A Better Way

George’s knew that to remain competitive and comply with changing food processing regulations, its time tracking and labor management practices needed to change. Increased regulation meant more strenuous protection of employee personal information and greater precision in reporting. It also meant the obsolescence of long-used practices such as the master card for production line scheduling.

The company recognized that many of its processes were sound but in other areas, new procedures, resources, and practices were needed. George’s performed a time study and needs analysis identifying areas for improvements. They then turned to the experts at Gorrie-Regan & Associates (Birmingham, AL), a premier provider of the time and attendance and labor management product, Attendance Enterprise from InfoTronics Inc.

Attendance Enterprise provides advanced features for managing labor data— calculating pay rules, scheduling employees, budgeting labor, automating bene t accruals, tracking attendance-based merit points and more. George’s appreciated the ease of installation and rapid implementation of Attendance Enterprise.

Overall Improvements

The skilled staff at Gorrie-Regan & Associates worked with George’s management, HR, and payroll team to design as solution that would streamline their time keeping processes and integrate seamlessly with their payroll system.

New I.T. 2100 and I.T. 3100 time clocks were installed in the facilities. Employee ID badges with pictures are now used to either swipe at the clock or wave in the proximity of the clock. Social Security Numbers are no longer used, thus protecting employee privacy. Buddy punching has been reduced since employees must now use their photo ID badges. There are no more lost paper time cards.

Attendance Enterprise automatically calculates the employee’s time cards. Exceptions to schedules like tardies or leaving early are easily identified. The system uses punch restrictions so that employee’s cannot punch in more than 5 minutes before their shift. This restriction varies by department. It also incorporates the standard time needed for donning and doffing and walk time as identified by George’s time study and required by regulation. The master card system is no longer used for matching line leader schedules.

If an employee forgets to punch, the supervisors can correct missed punches in seconds and add a reason code for the missed punch. Time cards are updated automatically without any manual calculations. Payroll clerks no longer spend hours every day adding up time cards and accuracy has improved with pay rules being enforced universally across all locations.

“The reallocation of the resources from payroll and HR processing to other critical tasks has been a huge improvement,” said Balch.
George’s uses the Incidents and Points module of Attendance Enterprise to assist with employee performance management. The old system of giving attendance bonuses is gone. In its place, employees earn merit points for desirable attendance habits and receive demerits for things like unexcused absences or long lunches. If too many negative points are accrued, warning letters are automatically generated by Attendance Enterprise documenting these infractions.

Attendance Enterprise integrates seamlessly with the payroll system. Once all time cards are approved, payroll is processed with a click of a button. Archived time cards for past pay periods are always available should information be needed for a wage and hour inquiry. What was once a tedious manual process that took several payroll clerks hours to complete has been reduced significantly allowing these resources to focus on other business-related activities.

Regulatory requirements are being met and Department of Labor and worker compensation reports are easy to generate. Information is exported to Crystal Report Writer allowing the data to be sorted and formatted to the required standard. Tracking attendance data to the minute allows George’s to report with greater precision and confidence. Employee leave time is tracked in Attendance Enterprise so that reporting bene t balances is fast and easy. In addition, management now has the labor and production reports it needs to understand costs and operate efficiently and transparently across the organization.

An Improved Bottom Line

All told, George’s Inc. has reduced the administrative cost of tracking employee time and attendance by automating its employee attendance tracking and scheduling with Attendance Enterprise. George’s has eliminated error-prone manual processes, reduced overtime and improved labor reporting and analysis. Reducing labor costs, often the most significant part of a company’s expenses, has allowed George’s Inc. to improve its processes and profitability.

Davidson Hotels & Resorts

davidson-hotelsDavidson Hotels & Resorts, a nationwide, independent hotel management company, is consolidating time and labor management software to a centralized corporate database to speed the transition time for acquired hotels, standardize reporting tools, ease employee training, and implement consistent, company-wide policies. Davidson Hotels & Resorts has expanded its use of industry- leading Attendance Enterprise software and leveraged its 20-year relationship with time and attendance solution provider Gorrie-Regan & Associates.

About Davidson Hotels & Resorts

Davidson Hotels & Resorts is an award-winning, full-service hospitality management company comprised of 54 existing hotels and resorts; more than 120 restaurants, bars and lounges; and nearly 1.5 million square feet of meeting space across the United States. Amassing one of the purest full-service hotel portfolios in the industry, Davidson, along with its lifestyle and luxury operating vertical, Pivot Hotels & Resorts, specializes in independent and branded assets in the upper-upscale to luxury segments. A trusted partner and preferred operator for Hilton, Hyatt, Kimpton, Marriott, and Margaritaville, Davidson offers a unique entrepreneurial management style and owners’ mentality that provides the individualized personal service of a small company, enhanced by the breadth and depth of skill and experience of a larger company. For more information, visit Follow us on Instagram: @davidsonhotelsresorts and Twitter: @Davidson_Hotels. Like us on Facebook: @DavidsonHotelsandResorts. Connect with us on LinkedIn: @Davidson_Hotels_and_Resorts.

Growth and Acquisition

Davidson Hotels was founded in 1974, growing from a single hotel to a large national property management rm. It has focused on building and maintaining an upscale/luxury segment portfolio and adding new management contracts at a deliberate pace.

Growing along with the company has been its use of its Attendance time-tracking software from InfoTronics, Inc. Davidson began using Attendance for Windows in the early 1990s. New challenges in data management, software and network security, and the company’s growth necessitated upgrading to Attendance Enterprise. Davidson turned to the experts at Gorrie-Regan & Associates, resellers and implementation specialists of Attendance Enterprise.

Today, Davidson Hotels & Resorts has a sophisticated IT data warehouse that allows it to review key performance indicators for each individual hotel property and to roll up the information for a portfolio view of all hotels within the brand. This includes human resources information systems, internal business forecasting and budgeting, and timekeeping and payroll.

“Attendance Enterprise feeds actual time up to the data warehouse software that helps us evaluate the ratio of labor
to our business revenue,” said Randall Bridges, Director of Applications at Davidson Hotels & Resorts. “We use factors from all areas of our business, for example, restaurant, group sales, housekeeping, spas, and so on. That way we know the level of labor we need to schedule based on business conditions.”

Managing Employee Labor

Attendance Enterprise is used to track all 7,000 employees at Davidson Hotels & Resorts. It tracks exempt, non-exempt, and salaried employees, although not all employees are required to punch a clock. At each location, approximately 20 supervisors or managers schedule employees. When an employee works a predictable schedule, Schedule Patterns are used to automatically populate schedules and save administrative time while scheduling.

Employees use a biometric time clock to punch. The employee places a hand on the surface of the time clock and enters an ID number. The time clock matches the geometric shape of the hand to an existing hand template stored in the clock to identify the employee and punch In or Out. Biometric time clocks help prevent buddy punching, where one employee knowingly punches for another. This reduces time theft.

Supervisors or managers review the employee’s actual worked time on his/her online time card. If there is a missed punch or other adjustment, supervisors make the adjustment in Attendance Enterprise which creates an audit trail. In addition, historical attendance reports are available for any pay period in the system to aid in employee performance reviews.

Centralizing Systems for Increased Efficiency

The system creates an employee pro le for each employee hired by Davidson. It is not unusual for hospitality industry employees to move from one hotel to another and the data warehouse allows the employee pro le to move with the employee. Each of the nearly 50 hotels manages its employees’ schedules, time tracking and pay, using an independent Attendance Enterprise implementation. Davidson’s IT staff is in the process of migrating the properties to a central Attendance Enterprise database.

“The drawback of having 50 different instances of Attendance Enterprise is upgrading and relinking to the database as we grow,” said Bridges. “We have an initiative right now to centralize and standardize our Attendance Enterprise installations to mitigate these problems.”

Bringing on a newly acquired hotel property and all its employees used to be cumbersome and time-consuming. This interrupted business, prolonged transition, and impacted customer service. Centralizing the database has streamlined the process, reducing it to a couple of hours.

“We are transitioning two properties into Davidson next month,” said Bridges. “In the past, it would take about a week to bring up an individual time system and now it is a simple import of employee information and installation of new clocks.”

Davidson hopes to have the majority of the hotels transitioned to the centralized database in 2012 and the remainder in 2013.

Standardizing Processes and Reports

Attendance Enterprise has also helped Davidson enforce pay policies. For example, it makes sure that its employees are taking the lunch time they have earned. Time clocks are set up to enforce 30-minute lunches. If an employee punches Out for lunch, the clock does not allow an In punch until 30 minutes have elapsed.

The centralized Attendance Enterprise system will automate the tracking of employee Paid Time Off (PTO). Currently, employees request time o and PTO manually, on paper from their supervisor. The supervisor enters the approved time off for the employee in Attendance Enterprise so that it can accurately be tracked. The consolidation of all Davidson sites will bring the added capability of employees requesting their own time o online. Supervisors will also approve or deny time-off requests right in Attendance Enterprise. This will standardize and automate PTO and unpaid leave across all properties.

Reporting is another area of greater transparency and data access. Bridges and his team have created a standard set of reports and tools for the hotels. In the past, if an employee left employment at one hotel brand, their employment was terminated and all historical information stayed with that hotel. One hotel could not see another hotel’s data. Now, employee historical information is available regardless of an employee’s move from one hotel brand to another; competitive brand data is still kept separate and secure.

Ease of training is also important. Now, reports are created and added to everyone’s toolkit. Standard reports mean that data is consistent and can be easily evaluated.

“We have a controlled rollout of tools and reports and are able to implement policies company-wide,” said Bridges.

Continuous Improvement

Davidson Hotels has used Attendance Enterprise software for almost 20 years. Through a close relationship with Gorrie-Regan & Associates, Davidson Hotels gets the most out of their time tracking system. Company growth, increased reporting requirements, and the need to control costs associated with labor continue to drive their quest for operational efficiency and company-wide transparency. Davidson Hotels has reduced the administrative cost of tracking employee time and attendance by automating its employee attendance tracking and reporting with Attendance Enterprise.

About Gorrie-Regan

For more than 50 years, Gorrie-Regan & Associates has been at the forefront of technology in time and attendance, payroll, parking control, and business security systems. Known throughout Alabama and the South, Gorrie-Regan & Associates has served the needs of more than 5,000 customers. Customer support, service, and respect are guiding principles that drive their business and relationships with customers and vendors. Gorrie-Regan & Associates is consistently recognized for sales and service excellence by the manufacturers it represents. InfoTronics, Inc., creator of Attendance Enterprise has recognized Gorrie-Regan & Associates as the number one organization in its distribution network for eight straight years. Every day, customers turn to Gorrie-Regan & Associates for solutions to their workforce management concerns.

About InfoTronics

InfoTronics, Inc. is a technology company with more than 30 years of expertise in developing employee time and attendance solutions that provide businesses of all sizes a cost-effective, easily deployed workforce management system. Attendance Enterprise is the flagship product and provides advanced features for managing labor data—calculating pay rules, scheduling employees, budgeting labor, automating bene t accruals, tracking attendance-based merit points—while meeting the scalability, reliability and security requirements of large organizations. An extensive North American dealer network has helped more than 20,000 organizations use InfoTronics products to reduce labor expenses and improve decision making.

Jacksonville State University

jacksonville-state-gorrie-reganJacksonville State University (JSU) prides itself on providing a residence life experience that fosters community and growth for each student. They offer several different options for their 1600 students to make JSU their home away from home and provide an environment where students can live and learn.

To achieve this positive environment, the JSU Residence Life Department insisted their residence halls impart a safe and secure atmosphere for students. A 25 person task force was created to review the current security procedures and protocols in place, identify weaknesses and make recommendations on where to improve. Recommendations were made and as a result, JSU chose installing integrator Gorrie-Regan who teamed up with AMAG Technology to install a Symmetry Enterprise Security Management System (SMS) integrated with hand geometry biometric readers at the perimeter doors in its ten residence halls. Students are now required to key in their ID number and place their hand on the biometric reader to gain access into their residence hall.

“During our research phase, we found that hand geometry readers provide an enhanced level of security,” said JSU, Director of Housing & Residence Life, Kevin Hoult. “Students must enter their student identification number into the keypad and then scan their hand to gain access to their hall. Anyone can get another student’s ID card and use it. Students know their own ID number and of course, always have their hand with them. The 1:1 verification makes the process faster in processing time and also more reliable and more secure by reducing false positives and false negatives.”

Hoult felt protecting the perimeter doors was a cost efficient option, as opposed to adding readers to every individual student’s room door. It was not financially feasible to implement access control on each and every room door.

JSU’s philosophy is that students should feel a sense of security where they live. The Symmetry SMS and physical access control system are promoted throughout the recruitment process and has become an attractive security feature of the campus.

“We want our students to feel like this is their home away from home,” said Hoult. “The Symmetry system and access control system are received very positively to make sure our students are safe.”

Symmetry integrates with JSU’s Banner enrollment software. A student’s name and information are automatically exported from the Banner system into the AMAG Symmetry SMS. Once in the Symmetry Software, the hand geometry enrollment is done directly in the AMAG software via a software integration that has been developed by AMAG and used at many sites that utilize hand geometry readers. It allows for fast and easy enrollment. The Symmetry SMS instantly and automatically sends the hand geometry digital representation of the data to the intelligent, distributed AMAG panels in the field that are specially designed to store these hand geometry templates. Each panel can store up to 50,000 hand geometry templates. This additionally enhances the speed of the transaction as no server communication is needed for access and additionally the students do not need to present a card with the template stored on it. Students receive instructions on how to use the Symmetry system and follow security rules.

“Symmetry operates over the network and can push out templates from a central location to the residence hall door and AMAG intelligent network control panels,” said installing integrator, Gorrie-Regan Director of Sales, Scott Wilson. “We installed a new network to provide ample room for the system to grow.”

An intercom is located at the perimeter door of each hall. A student can use the intercom to notify the main desk if he or she needs assistance entering the hall. The front desk staff can communicate and view the student on the monitor, as well as determine if they should grant access to the student.

Parents also like the security system. On occasion, the Residence Life Department receives a call from a parent claiming they have not heard from their son or daughter. The Residence Life Department refers to these calls as “wellness checks.” The Symmetry system activity report and the faster ‘last 25 transactions’ under the cardholder record are checked to see when the last time a son or daughter used the system. If they have been entering or leaving the building, the transactions are logged into the system. The Department then notifies the student to call home. If there hasn’t been any activity, the Department can investigate further and notify the parents.

So Easy, Students Operate It

Symmetry workstations sit in the main Residence Life Department, Residence Life Coordinator’s residence (a live-on- campus position), in the JSU Police Department, as well as in each residence hall by the front desk. The front desk student staff are trained on the system and have the authorization to allow someone to enter the building. Pelco’s Digital Sentry Camera system is installed separately, but on the same workstation, so students can monitor all entrances. Each level of staff, including the residence assistants (RA’s) have different access levels to help manage the security system.

“If there is an alarm within the system, all of the Symmetry workstations are notified visually and audibly,” said Gorrie-Regan’s Wilson. “The student employee at the front desk evaluates the alarms and submits a report on the incident. If the alarm requires assistance, the university police are contacted. In most cases, a door is held open for too long and the alarm is quickly acknowledged.”

“We want to continue to learn everything we can about Symmetry,” said JSU’s Hoult. “We’ve started a safety campaign and AMAG’s Symmetry is a big part of that plan.”

JRM Engineering worked closely with JSU to complete the project design, evaluation and installation oversight processes. The entire installation took 8 months and finished ahead of schedule due to Gorrie-Regan’s dedicated installation team and extensive experience installing AMAG systems.

“JRM Engineering assisted Kevin in pulling his security vision together,” said JRM Engineering President, Jay Morgan. “We’d specify the Symmetry SMS again and work with Gorrie-Regan. Gorrie-Regan is a quality company and we had a great experience working with them.”


The Symmetry SMS has become a helpful tool for the JSU Police Department. Symmetry can help police locate students or verify their location at a given time. Police have often used it to verify an alibi during judicial situations.

“We’ve used video footage from the Pelco system to review incidents, and then compared the time and ran an audit report in the AMAG Symmetry SMS to see who entered the building to narrow down our search,” said JSU Assistant Director for Student Development and Educational Programming, Brooke Bell. “Symmetry’s history report has helped JSU PD many times and we’ve been very pleased.”

Added Symmetry Benefits

The Symmetry Visitor Management feature allows JSU to enroll contractors to gain electronic records of their presence on campus and when necessary, for temporary access using their driver’s licenses to give them access to the building. Cards automatically expire on the date scheduled in the system.

The Symmetry Threat Level Manager module locks down entire buildings at one time over a holiday break and over summer, saving maintenance staff time.

Why JSU Chose Gorrie-Regan

For 50 years Gorrie-Regan has demonstrated a level of service that is unmatched. The number one reason prospective clients choose Gorrie-Regan is on the recommendation of its existing clients. The reasons they retain their clients include their level of expertise, professionalism and immediate, responsive customer service that they provide to their clients on a daily basis. Gorrie-Regan offered JSU a complete security solution and provided the demonstrated experience that no other integrator demonstrated their ability and commitment to provide.


JSU will soon enter student photos into the Symmetry SMS to coincide with the students’ records such that when a student presents their hand to a hand geometry reader for access, the activity screen will display their picture under the live access transactions screen. This will add another layer of security to the system.
Gorrie-Regan will implement Symmetry in a new 400 bed apartment complex along with several more cameras. Overall, JSU would like to install more cameras in all parking lots and on all building exteriors.

“Symmetry is a state-of-the-art security system, and we like the enhanced security it provides over a traditional card swipe system,” said Hoult. “It’s an easy, user-friendly system to learn and use.”

DCH Regional Medical Center

DCH Regional Medical Center is a 583-bed Regional Medical Center in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. It operates specialty units for pediatrics, orthopedics, cancer and cardiology, and the region’s most advanced trauma center and intensive care units, as well as a Bloodless Medicine and Surgery program.

When the security team learned their current Casi Rusco™ Secure Perfect security management system would no longer be supported, and there was no clear upgrade path, they did not know what to do.

In response, DCH Regional Medical Center, Assistant Director of Engineering Services, Shane Sanders contacted their systems integrator, Gorrie-Regan for a solution. Gorrie-Regan’s Vice President, Scott Wilson suggested AMAG Technology’s new Symmetry™ SR-Series Controller solution. The Symmetry SR series is a retrofit solution that allows customers to upgrade legacy systems without needing to completely rip out the existing system. It saves money, limits downtime and provides a solution that can grow with the hospital.

“We were having trouble getting support from our old manufacturer, and Gorrie-Regan proposed AMAG’s Symmetry SR system,” said Sanders. “Our initial security budget was rejected because it was too high. We researched the Symmetry system and were satisfied; it fit our budget and needs.”

The Symmetry SR Controller provided an upgrade path for their outdated system. DCH Hospital was able to reuse their 40 existing magnetic stripe card readers and their existing wiring infrastructure, saving thousands of dollars.

“We swapped out the old Casi Micro 5 boards and retrofitted the existing enclosures with the SR Controller boards,” said Gorrie-Regan’s Scott Wilson.

They also replaced Casi’s edge devices with AMAG’s EN-1DBC Power over Ethernet controller and installed a few Symmetry M2150 Intelligent Controllers.

DCH Medical Center was able to maintain their existing user database, which eliminated the need to re-enter users. In addition, they found that when they had to enter users into their database, it was much easier to do so with their new Symmetry SR System.

“The Symmetry SR system is working well and the security staff finds it easy to use; they like it a lot,” said Sanders.

The security staff especially likes the graphical maps interface in the Symmetry software. To grant on the spot access, a security officer can click on the appropriate door graphic and grant access.

The medical center also installed a Viking intercom system that is tied to Symmetry via alarm points. When a doctor presses the intercom, it rings a security staff phone number and the security staff opens the door. The reader at that door has an alarm input to Symmetry so a false open isn’t reported back to Symmetry.

“The user friendliness of the system drew me to AMAG,” said Sanders. “The system is easier to learn; in fact Gorrie-Regan’s installer and I trained staff on the fly on how to input data, and the ability to run reports is clear-cut.”

A full security staff mans the Control Center on the second floor. They carefully monitor the pharmacies, emergency room, women’s center, pediatrics, the medical intensive care unit and trauma surgical floors. They monitor all external entrances and automatically lock down everything at night except for the ER and main visitor entrance. All employees and contractors are required to wear a badge.

DCH Medical Center uses OnSSI’s video system and has 255 cameras positioned inside and outside the building to monitor activity. While the system isn’t directly integrated with the Symmetry system at this time, interfaced inputs and outputs are used to call up video on the monitors, prompting quick action from security guards when necessary.

A fingerprint biometric reader sits at the physician’s lounge door and provides doctors an easy way to enter the room. Cards are not needed and doctors enjoy the convenience of not needing a card to enter.

Another benefit of the Symmetry system over their previous system is that Symmetry allows the security staff to group employees into smaller access groups. For example, the doctors and nurses working in the women’s center are the only staff allowed access in that area. The smaller groups help streamline the process and Symmetry makes it easier to manage their groups.

New readers were installed in the operating room and pediatrics. The readers are programmed to only need a handswipe between 5 a.m. and 5 p.m. to enter. After 5 p.m., the reader switches to card and hand swipe to enter.

Panic buttons are located in the emergency room, pharmacy and cash office, and are directly tied to the OnSSI video system. When a panic button is pressed, an alarm sounds and the video switches to full screen on the monitor for easy viewing.


Gorrie-Regan offers a full range of parking, building and employee security solutions utilizing state-of-the-art systems tailored to a company’s specific needs. Each security system is expertly engineered, expertly installed and backed by the best service and response team in the industry.

“We have a long history with Gorrie-Regan and we trusted their recommendation to install Symmetry Professional with the retrofit SR controllers,” said Sanders. “They have steered us down the right path and I can’t thank them enough. Sticking with a vendor we know and trust is very important to us.”


As DCH Regional Medical Center grows and adds more doors, they will continue to install AMAG readers. As the budget allows, they also plan to switch over the remaining readers and Northport Hospital to the Symmetry System. The Symmetry SR Retrofit solution provides an affordable upgrade path for them to do just that.