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Derwent Pencil

It was in 1832 that the first local pencil factory was started, progressing from the cottage industry that evolved following the discovery of Borrowdale Graphite. Originally owned by A. Wren, it was taken over by Hogarth & Hayes in 1875, and became the Cumberland Pencil Company in 1916.

Now part of ACCO UK, the Cumberland Pencil Company (Cumberland) is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of high quality pencils.

Based in Keswick, the company has a museum on site offering members of the public the opportunity to journey through the history of pencil making and the story of Cumberland’s world famous Derwent pencils.

In 2002 the decision was taken to install a computerised time and attendance system and following a review of the products available the Mitrefinch TMS system was chosen.

Derwent Pencil Logo

Cumberland’s Della Parkins explains: “We were using an old basic system which only allowed clocking in and out data to be recorded. It did nothing with this data – it simply presented a list of times.

“We carried out our own analysis of the data which took a considerable amount of time. What we needed was a full system which would record the data, analyse this and present a wealth of timely management information, and Mitrefinch’s TMS system certainly fits the bill!”

Cumberland has 100 staff, including factory workers, office employees and museum staff, who are all covered by the TMS system. Four clocking terminals are located throughout the Keswick site and manage the clockings of 18 different shift patterns.

Workers can clock on at any terminal but find that they most commonly use the terminal nearest to their working environment.

Della says: “The majority of our staff are based in the factory where we use two clocks. These clocks are based at different points within the factory so cater for different departments and avoid a crush of people trying to clock out at the end of a shift.”

Cumberland produces its own clocking cards featuring the company logo and employee name for permanent and temporary workers.
Della adds: “We are happy for staff to carry their clocking cards with them but find that the majority prefer to store these in a clock card filing rack next to the clock. This is very similar to the manual clock card punching systems of old with an ‘in’ and ‘out’ slot next to each name. Staff in that clock’s department simply take their card from the ‘out’ side, swipe in and then put it in the ‘in’ side. This also allows supervisors to see an instant register of those currently on site at any time.”

In addition to the two clocks in the factory Cumberland has one clock in the reception area of the office building for the admin staff and one in the museum.

The clock within the museum is used by few people but was deemed necessary as the museum is open at weekends while the other buildings are closed.

Della explains: “We did consider the museum staff clocking in at the reception terminal but without access at the weekends it would mean that the data captured would be incomplete.”

Cumberland has found the reporting function within TMS a valuable tool for creating management information.
A weekly working hours report is generated which highlights absences and anomalies. To complement this a full anomalies report is generated. Supervisors can then authorise absences, explain anomalies and authorise overtime pay.

Della concludes: “We have found TMS to be an easy to use system which has a lot to offer. We recently attended the annual User Group Meeting and found new ways of using the system to help fulfill our requirements. One of these was specifically recording hours to help us comply with the Working Time Regulations, this system does this automatically for us, even for the most complex shift patterns!”

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