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Case Study

An Elegant Hardware and Software Solution for Time Tracking

Why Houston County School District chose Frontline’s Time and Attendance and Touchpoint SmartClocks.

Houston County School District Hero Image

District Background

The Problem: Tracking Employee Time Required Excessive Manual Effort

Houston County School District spans several cities in central Georgia. With thousands of employees who clock in and out each day, district leaders saw the need for a more consistent way to track time across schools and departments. Bus drivers used one program, the technology staff used an app with a third-party company, custodians and food services employees clocked in with old punch clocks, and paraprofessionals submitted Excel spreadsheets. Entering all that time into the district’s payroll system was a herculean task.

Houston County recently began running payroll twice a month instead of monthly, and Brian Trent, Director of Technology Services, shared that this change added to the urgency to find a new solution: “When you have more than half of the district’s staff having to use a manual punch clock, that’s a lot of time and manual entry that people have to do. We knew if we were going to do paychecks twice a month, that workload [was] going to get even greater.”

Ensuring that employee leave matched up with time worked was also a benefit of the change. “We needed it to integrate better with our Absence Management, which was with Frontline,” Brian shared.

“When you have more than half of the district’s staff having to use a manual punch clock, that’s a lot of time and manual entry that people have to do. We knew if we were going to do paychecks twice a month, that workload is going to get even greater.”

Brian Trent
– Director of Technology Services

The Solution: Time and Attendance and Touchpoint SmartClocks

Houston County Schools chose Frontline’s Time and Attendance for time tracking across the district, because it works hand in glove with Absence Management. When Brian explained that he wanted employees to clock in and out securely using their current proximity cards they use to enter the buildings, Frontline recommended Touchpoint, one of Frontline’s recommended hardware providers, with SmartClocks designed specifically for Time and Attendance.

“We reached out to Touchpoint and from the get-go,” said Brian. “They were an amazing company to work with. Their values, you could tell, were set right, and they were extremely helpful.”

“Once we started working with the company, I could tell that we were going to have the support that we needed.”

Brian Trent
– Director of Technology Services


Houston County began testing the system with Touchpoint’s Free Pilot SmartClock that each customer receives when they purchase Time and Attendance through Frontline. This testing process helped the district work out their recordkeeping with their existing proximity cards. “Once that was ironed out, it’s been a very simple, easy process,” stated Brian. The district purchased approximately one hundred clocks — two for each school.

The clocks were delivered promptly as Touchpoint wroked quickly to ensure Brian and his team had their new SmartClocks in a timely fashion, so they had enough time for installation prior to going live with Time and Attendance. Describing the setup, Brian commented, “I have one data cable [connected] to the device, and there are three screws to keep it on the wall, [which made it] so very clean.” Although the clocks have wireless capability, Brian chose to run a hard line to each clock because it provides a better way to ensure the SmartClock has a more secure and stable internet connection.

Throughout implementation, Brian’s department worked with the Touchpoint team to configure the clocks and integrate with Time and Attendance. “They told me how to get it connected to Frontline. They worked with me in the Frontline application itself because they were familiar with both sides of it and really took the guesswork out of everything,” Brian said. “It was almost a turnkey feel for the whole project.”

“They configured all the addresses to begin with, so I didn’t have to go in there and individually put the URLs that were going to be assigned to each one of the locations. They took care of all that for me. Basically, when we plugged in the unit, it was ready to go.”

Brian Trent
– Director of Technology Services

Using Touchpoint

Remote Management

Frontline and Touchpoint have brought a significant shift in how employee time is tracked. Touchpoint’s software enables Brian’s team to manage the clocks remotely, but he says even that doesn’t occupy much time. “I haven’t had to deal with it that much. When I really have to think hard to see what my problems are, that’s always a good sign for me,” he explained. “It falls off my radar because it just works.”

Consistency Across Locations

“As a district, we are about to have 47 locations,” Brian said, noting that Frontline and Touchpoint make it possible for employees to clock in or out regardless of which building they are in. “We may have maintenance that goes from one building to the next, and it doesn’t matter where they are in the campus or the district, they can clock in and out using the clocks, and it’s just a very consistent feel for them as well.”

Offsite Clock Ins

One use Houston County has discovered is using the SmartClocks to track attendance for off-site professional development. The Transportation Department consists of nearly 300 people who cannot all fit into their training room, so the district rents space in a local conference center. “We bring three or four Touchpoint SmartClocks out there, and they clock right in as they walk in the door.”

Brian recently shared this with Touchpoint and the rep asked him if they were using stands designed for the clocks. When Brian said that they simply have staff members hold the clocks by the door, the rep asked him how many clocks they use for their off-site clock ins. Two days later, a box arrived with five stands for them to use for off-site clock ins.

Ongoing Support

That level of personalized support is typical at Touchpoint. “They’ll check in with me every so often, making sure that there are no needs that need to be addressed.” Brian appreciates the friendly customer service and the speed and care with which his questions are resolved. It gives him confidence that the clocks will continue to be supported into the future, and that he will not need to stockpile parts or piecemeal repairs.

“Just going above and beyond. It’s really nice to have companies that still value their customers to the point where they look out and do little things to try to make sure that they stay in touch and keep you happy as well.”

Brian Trent
– Director of Technology Services

A Smoother Payroll Process

Administrators no longer spend hours tallying up employee time from timesheets in multiple formats. “They needed some way to be able to process this quickly and more effectively, in a digital sense, than what we had done before. I have heard positive results from that, also from the school level itself. You don’t have multiple different forms that you have to tabulate,” Brian stated.

The fact that Time and Attendance integrates with Absence Management means that leave balances are correct in the system and payroll is more accurate. “I was an assistant principal for a while, so I would have to check the punch cards for my custodians. I’d have to check the Excel sheets that were printed out for my paraprofessionals, and it’s all paper…. Having it all in one platform, that it all comes together and then it ties in with Absence Management, you’re not having to go from screen to screen.”

“If you’re using Frontline products for other stuff like Absence Management… there was so much benefit for it tying in with that piece that it was a no-brainer.”

Brian Trent
– Director of Technology Services

The Right Choice

Brian knows that Houston County could have chosen a different solution to track time, but it would have meant investing time and resources into cobbling something together and figuring out how to connect the pieces. He’s glad they chose Frontline and Touchpoint. “Having the whole thing be turnkey, and the way they designed it is very user friendly. You’ve got one small tablet and then they mount the proximity card reader on the side of it. They thought of everything.”

“We were just happy that [Frontline] had the partnership with Touchpoint to make that process even smoother.”