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When It Goes Right and Wrong

When It Goes Right And Wrong

We have been dealing with wand systems and now AtSite since 1999. Here are a collection of stories of our experiences. In hindsight, some of it has been a lot of fun. We hope you enjoy them.

Treat This As a Worst Case Scenario

This was a disaster for a contractor. They managed to lose a contract, then far worse, to eliminate any possibility of legal defense against costly negligence claims.

Some years ago a major shopping center decided to terminate the contract for it’s cleaning contractor due to issues nothing to do with attendance verification. They were given 30 days notice.

What then happened, on site staff and management really didn’t care about their work. We visited this site ourselves and found the bathroom areas disgusting. There were many complaints.

We found out later that slip and trip incidents exploded in quantity, a few dozen in the month. Normally they might expect between 2 and 5. This level of claim and then the cost it created was a significant burden on the company.

Then, to finish off the problem and make it a disaster, they lost all their attendance verification data they had on a PC so they had nothing to defend themselves with. In truth, it was probably very sparse as they clearly reduced the labor on site so as to maximize the remaining profit. At least if they had some data they might have been able to defend against a few claims.

When Staff Hate Their Bosses

We traveled to another state to do an install for a cleaning contractor in a major shopping center. Very seldom do we hear staff speak badly of their company.

It ended well for us, but annoyingly the contractor lost the contract quite quickly, then lost most of their other sites.

We were staggered when staff roundly criticized management to the point we were embarrassed. From our perspective, management failed to get the computer we needed installed, we were delayed by a day, but the criticism by staff indicated a depth of dislike that was unusual.

The cleaning contractor over a period of perhaps 2 years managed to lose most of their contracts. We believe it was because of crippling disenfranchisement of staff. We were caught in the middle.

Also, and no great surprise, the data they had collected was mostly lost when they didn’t take any precautions to backup site computers.

Moving From PC hard disks to WebEye in the Cloud

We have a PC based database system for attendance verification data we no longer recommend. It works extremely well, has known failure modes we can circumvent, is reliable and fast. We’ve had thousands of installs of it and we are rather proud of how well it works.

Computer Glitch = data loss
Storing mission critical data in a PC is a proven high risk activity. Data loss through malfunction, fire, theft and even from not copying the data off at the end of a contract have all happened.

The insurmountable problem is that its data resides on the hard disk inside the PC. With the best of intentions far too often the PC is not backed up and data is lost.

One site using our original iButton classic wand system lost the contract, then scrapped the PC. Over the following 5 years two claims were made that they had zero data for.

Other incidents; two different clients did not backup their data when they lost a contract and hence had nothing when a claim was made.

This is why we totally recommend WebEye. It stores your data in the cloud, with automatic backups.



Losing A Client

We had a massive disagreement with a client’s site supervisor wanting to use our system incorrectly and against out strong advice, to reduce its effectiveness in providing correct data. We raised the issue with them, got into a massive disagreement and lost them as a client. It wasn’t just this issue – it was a collection of ongoing issues.

The site manager went to some trouble to ignore every recommendation we made, almost like they were sabotaging it. Then the computers they installed on site were all second hand and all caused problems, then died.

We were pleased to lose them as a client. We were annoyed to lose the income from their business, but we lost the eventual and huge reputational loss from their activities.

Sometimes you just have to walk away.

A Happy Ending – Despite Their Best Effort – But the problem remains

We did a site visit to a hugely busy site. By 11am in the morning the malls are packed. We reviewed their attendance data and mostly it was good, with the exception of two entrances. They were terrible.

Well, we pointed that out, their attendance was so bad that in the event of litigation they would be exposed to significant risk. There were good reasons why those two entrances were terrible and it was accepted that our system was not at fault. It was an accepted staffing issue.

As unusually good luck would have it, they had a slip and trip injury at the only one good entrance. I couldn’t believe it. At only this entrance, their attendance data was excellent, truly good, and they had a great record going back months.It really is nice to have this happen, to make it all worthwhile.

We pointed out that if it had been at a different entrance it would have been a different outcome, but we were ignored.

When Doubt Creeps In

We sold a half dozen XL-Wands to a client. The XL-Data Wand is reliable, simple, extraordinarily robust but it is not waterproof and it does like to be charged properly every few weeks at least.

In about 2 weeks we got a surly phone call that they were all faulty and it was our fault.

It was a horrible time, we had only been in business for a few years and wondered if we had a huge and systematic problem.

Well, we got them back and each one was full of water. Someone on site had put them into a bucket of water.

Huge Contract Problems

We had been in business for 2 years when a huge company using our XL-Data Wand called to say that as a result of the failure of our product, they were going to lose a 7 million dollar contract and were going to sue us! We had no idea what they were talking about.

It would be difficult to imagine being more stressed. Not only would this break us financially, our reputation would be trashed.

Well, we traveled to another state, the roads were chaotic, we were stressed and found that they had not made any attempt to understand what they had.

Then, to add to that, they put a person in charge of our system who was quite happy to tell us he had no experience with PCs, and it was obvious. So. For a $7 million contract you put someone in charge who is incompetent!

This was in year 2000. They where using our PC database. That system tells you what the problem is (as does WebEye now). It said “Wand xxx has not been assigned a user” – so as a room full of people were glaring daggers at us, we coded a few of these, pressed the reprocess button, printed a report, it was snatched out of our hands by the business manager who went to show their client. Looking back on it, it was comical. Almost.

Now we use WebEye for this reason also. We can see what is happening and we can fix it for you. With the XL-Wands and the Radio Wands, we can see the data and we really can do in-depth analysis and sometimes repair. Another reason for WebEye.

No Way Would I Be So Stupid….

Those were the prophetic words of a mobile patrol security manager when we told them about XL-Wands being run over by cars. We even, arrogantly in hindsight, offered to repair the first one for free if it was repairable.

Then he said it, he really shouldn’t have, “I’ve been doing this for 20 years, no way would I be so stupid as to run over a wand.” He was a tough hombre’ and wanted to make his point.

Well, it was scripted. In a fortnight there he was with a  sad looking crushed XL-Data Wand. It was repaired, for free, no big deal. What happened was he got back to his car after a site visit, put the wand and his torch on the top of the car, got in then drove off forgetting to collect them as he’d had a phone call as he was getting into the car. He heard it hit the boot of his car, looked up when he heard it, then saw the car behind run it over.

In the end, we went from annoyingly arrogant – to be 5 minute minor heroes for fixing his wand for no cost and not having to admit it back at work. All good.

Lost and Found – We Hand gear Back

A few times we have been called by members of the public finding a data wand. We make every effort to hand it back to clients. We’ve had some great results.

Jackie in our office was ringing clients about a wand that had been handed in to the police. There was some doubt about who owned it. Well, Ralph rang to order a new wand as he had lost one. It was remarkable synchronicity – Jackie was on one phone, someone else was on another taking an order. Ralph was reunited with his wand after a visit to a police station.

We called David and told him his wand was in the hands of a disabled man. David disputed it. Then after some investigation David found his patrolling guard had not admitted losing the wand. It cost him a box of chocolates.

A government department called us to say they’d found a box of gear on a nature strip. We traced it to Norbert. We called. He was totally definite he’d not lost it. He called back and you guessed it, another box of chocolates was required (for the finder).

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