3 Ways Live Field Data Impacts Ghost Assets and Ghost Employees
By Shannon Corgan, Director of Marketing
In construction, margins are razor-thin, and losing money on projects impacts cash flow. Without live field data syncing with your payroll, ERP, and HR applications, there are many ways you’re unnecessarily increasing your project costs. Have you ever stopped to think about how live field data impacts ghost assets and ghost employees? When you add up the cost of ghost assets and ghost employees on your projects, the numbers can surprise you. The first step in the process is to understand what ghost assets and ghost employees are.
Ghost Assets and Challenges
Ghost assets, they are physical assets like equipment or tools on your books that you can’t locate. You may not locate them because they are missing or stolen. This reduces your field employee’s productivity and efficiency. They’re looking for tools and equipment in your inventory but they aren’t there. This drives up your project’s labor costs.
In addition to driving up labor costs in the field, ghost assets also impact your financial statements. You’re continuing to pay insurance premiums on assets you no longer have. You’re also not writing the assets off as a loss. If you haven’t even thought about live field data for tracking tools and equipment, don’t worry, most contractors haven’t. According to the Live Field Data Usage Report, only 21% of contractors have access to live field data for tools and equipment. 34% of contractors don’t even track tools or equipment.
What are Ghost Employees and How Does It Happen?
Ghost employees are terminated employees that are still receiving paychecks. Ghost employees surface when an employee quits, and another employee submits time for them, whether or not intentionally. Sometimes, a supervisor fills out a preprinted project time card or standard spreadsheet with the terminated employee’s name on it. Unfortunately, without automated controls in place, payroll still cuts checks for these terminated employees. Ghost employees receive paychecks after they quit their jobs. It’s likely that the supervisor or employee also forgot to turn in the termination paperwork or they lost it.
The terminated employee continues to get paid after they quit, and it’s a major issue. Ghost employees inflate labor costs and there is no output for the man-hours. This affects the budgeted man-hours for a project and makes it difficult to keep the project on budget. This could go on for months and have a significant impact on the project’s budget. Live field data impacts ghost assets and ghost employees postitively in these 3 ways:
1. Integrate Live Field Data with Back Office Systems
When you integrate time and equipment tracking with your ERP and Payroll applications, you can’t clock in terminated employees. Cloud-based mobile workforce platforms make it easy for employees or supervisors to fill out their termination paperwork in the same app as they track their labor hours and equipment. It’s easy for employees to find the termination form in the mobile app. They’re already familiar with it because they use every day to track their time.
As soon as the employee submits the digital termination form on their mobile app, it’s automatically emailed to payroll and human resources. The back-office systems update their employment status on their termination date. The time tracking app syncs with the back-office systems in real time with their updated terminated employment status. This prevents anyone from clocking in a terminated employee. This is one way that live field data impacts ghost employees. When the systems are all in sync for their employment status, no one can enter hours for a terminated employee. As a result, they don’t cut payroll checks for terminated employees.
Accurate employment statuses also prevent theft or loss of tools or equipment. Mobile workforce apps track time and equipment in the same app and prevent terminated employees from checking out equipment. Only active employees can check out tools and equipment. This keeps your equipment inventory more accurate, and the equipment is only available to active employees. Live field data impacts your business the most when you integrate it with all of your back-office business systems. It substantially reduces ghost assets and ghost employees.
2. Face Recognition Is 2nd Line of Defense Against Ghost Assets and Ghost Employees
Automated biometric face recognition is one of the most important ways live field data impacts ghost assets and ghost employees. It’s your second line of protection against terminated ghost employees with an active employment status. Automated face recognition compares each employee’s unique profile photo to the clock in photo using biometric measurements. If the photos don’t match, it flags the time record. When that time record syncs to the cloud system, it alerts the supervisor and payroll admin. It’s a good check and balance that both the supervisor and the payroll admin are notified of the mismatch.
The mismatch alert allows the supervisor or payroll admin to remove the ghost employee’s hours before payroll processing. It also reminds the supervisor to submit the termination paperwork immediately and investigate who clocked in for the ghost employee. This significantly reduces any opportunity for any employee to clock in a terminated employee.
Face recognition also helps keep your tools and equipment inventory and assignment accurate. Biometric face recognition makes sure the person clocking in is the person who has the piece of equipment. If a piece of equipment is missing, it’s easy to know who had it last. Face recognition helps reduce ghost assets with verifiable biometric documentation of who is responsible for the piece of equipment. They don’t want to be accountable for the equipment they don’t have. As a result, employees are more likely to keep asset assignments accurate. Live field data impacts the accuracy of your labor and equipment tracking.
3. Global Visibility Reduces Ghost Assets Costs
It’s much easier to track tools and equipment with a mobile app. Many times employees work in remote areas without cellular service or Wi-Fi access. With a cloud-based mobile workforce app, employees can check in and out tools and equipment as they use them to keep an accurate inventory. The app updates the equipment assignment so you know who is responsible for it. As soon as employees have service, all the data in the mobile app can sync to the cloud and it’s updated globally. Using a mobile workforce platform that tracks their time, forms, and equipment in the same app keeps everything in sync with the back-office systems. It makes it simple for employees to accurately track the tools and equipment they’re using. It keeps the equipment inventory and assignment accurate and in one central place.
If a piece of equipment is missing, it’s easy for employees to fill out a missing equipment form. The equipment manager receives the automated form, so he or she can investigate. If the equipment manager is can’t locate the piece of equipment, he or she can quickly file an insurance claim. The equipment manager can immediately notify the accounting department to write off the lost equipment. With only 21% of companies with live field data for tools and equipment, it’s common that they don’t know for months or years about missing or lost equipment. The insurance premiums continue to be paid and are escalating project costs. Live field data positively impacts ghost assets because it expedites the flow of information to the right people to reduce the negative financial impact. Live field data impacts your company substantially when you centralize all your field data all in one app and sync it with your back-office systems.
Next steps with Live Field Data
When you capture live field data all in one app, it can have a tremendous impact on solving ghost assets and ghost employee issues for your business. When you sync live field data with all your back-office applications, you have controls in place to prevent ghost assets and ghost employees from haunting your business financials. With only 21% of contractors capturing live field data for tracking tools and equipment, it’s one small step that can drive big cost savings. Contractors should harness the power of technology to put the controls and alerts in place to eliminate ghost assets and ghost employees which result in lower project costs. To learn more, schedule a custom demo of WorkMax.