PARRAMATTA, Australia -- Woolworths Ltd. here has rolled out to 435 stores a new technology that electronically captures the characteristics of employees' fingerprints for labor management applications.
The identification verification units are currently being used for time-and-attendance purposes in Woolworths Supermarkets and as a security device to control access to the company's data processing center.
Australia's largest supermarket retailer pilot tested the system in one store last fall and completed store installation in March. Based on test results, Woolworths projects $13,000 could be saved annually in each store through increased employee accountability and reduced administrative costs, according to a source familiar with the situation.
The units, which cost about $3,600 apiece, scan an individual's finger and record its features as a digitized image. The information is stored in Woolworths' data base and used to verify when workers "clock in" for accurate payroll accounting purposes.
Because verification is based on an individual's fingerprint, rather than conventional time cards, workers are prevented from "clocking in" for a coworker who is tardy or leaves work before he is scheduled.
The identification system, called Fingerscan, from Fujitsu Australia, North Ryde, New South Wales, will add labor management functionality this summer when Woolworths' rollout of labor scheduling and sales forecasting software is to be completed. The labor management software was written by Information Marketing Businesses, Cambridge, Mass.