IN a recent interview with Richard Burton, CEO of Eco Time Technology, it became evident that the Time and Attendance Specialist Company, known to many corporates, fought long and hard to be where they are today.
Join us on this walk though memory lane as we question the man behind the steer and gain some deeper insight into what it is that makes this company tick ... (tock):
Q | How did Eco Time Technology start?
A | We are part of a family-owned Group, called the Maynards Group, started by Charles Percieval Maynard, back in 1922. The Head Office of our business is still based in Cape Town, with branches in the other major centres around South Africa. The Maynards group started out specialising in typewriters and stationary. The company grew and evolved over the years to selling a range of office products and business machines. In the late fifties, a company was added to the Group selling mechanical time recorders. These clocking machines stamped the employee’s ‘In and Out’ clocking times onto a weekly card; this is how factories manually calculated the time worked in those days.
Back then, time and attendance was a mechanical process and this addition to the group was a natural fit.
Q | How did your technology change since then?
A | In the early 1990s the computerisation of most processes had become feasible. The market was starting to show an interest in upgrading their mechanical Time clocks, as computerised time and attendance technology became available. We could see that our business had to evolve to remain competitive and to be able to offer our client’s an upgrade path in the future.
We initially took on an agency for an existing computerised product that provided us with the latest bar coded card technology with DOS based s oftware. We became a supplier of their product, but it was evident that the product needed to evolve and we were required to invest in its development. I was instrumental in the formation of Eco Time Technology in 1993, as a subsidiary within the Maynards Group. We acquired ownership of the product and related technology and with this the responsibility for the continued development of the hardware and software. This was a challenging time for the business and a steep, personal learning-curve.
In the ensuing five years, a significant ongoing investment into the Eco Time product range delivered very gradual progress. In 1998 Eco time closed its programming division and outsourced the further development of its products locally to CapeSoft. This signified the birth of the CapeClock Hardware (with Proximity Cards) and TNA 2000 Windows based software, both of which were released in 1999.
Eco Time Technology had opened its Gauteng branch in 1993, and in 2001 the Kwazulu Natal branch was formed. In 2002 we joined the Proudly South African campaign. In the same year we procured an order from the Post Office (SAPO) in Gauteng for 171 Batons, to monitor the collection of mail from their post boxes. In 2003 fingerprint technology was introduced into the Eco Time product range.
In 2006 Eco Time imported its first batch of Actatek Fingerprint (web-enabled) clocks. These were sold under the ”BioPunch” trademark. Additionally the BioLock stand-alone access control system was introduced by Eco Time.
2007 saw the release of TNA5 and the accompanying suite of time management software. This encompassed time & attendance, rostering, advanced leave cycles, access control and the labour costing modules.
In 2008, we launched the Eco Shop to invite prospective clients to buy online. Additionally, the CapeSoft Time Clock range of hardware was launched.
The ‘’SmartClock’’ brand was introduced in 2009. SmartClock represents a CSTimeclock with onboard TNA software; the SmartClock is connected to a PC via the client’s network and the clock’s software does the processing itself.
In 2009 Eco launched its new website and introduced its new Eco Time logo and a fresh approach to its branding.
In 2010 the Fingerprint CSTimeclock was launched, followed by the release of the TNA Version 6 suite of software in January 2011.
Q | Have there been any recent new developments and what products are planned for the future?
A | Eco Time remains intent on keeping up with the times; we have just introduced another exciting development - 3G. GPRS clocking for industries that require remote connectivity. Clients can now enjoy this solution by either connecting it to our flagship time & attendance software, or by utilising its easy to use feature packed web interface.
The CSTime suite of software will be officially released from January 2014, and offered under license to our clients. This will co-incide with our promotion of the integration of Eco Time’s software with IMPRO Hardware, which will open the way for existing IMPRO hardware users to gain access to the benefits of Eco Time’s software.
We are excited about our future in the time and attendance management industry, and we look forward to the next 20 years!