PBS Coals Inc.
PBS Coals, Inc. operates coal mining and processing facilities throughout Somerset County, Pennsylvania. Founded in 1963, PBS is the fourth largest coal producer in Pennsylvania. PBS supplies high quality coal to the electric power industry regionally and to the steel industry throughout the world. With 5 surface mines, 5 deep mines and 2 coal preparation plants, PBS produces 3.3 million metric tons raw coal annually—with 55 percent coking coal and 45 percent steam coal. Its two coal preparation plants have a 1,100 raw tons per hour processing capability. Its coal is sold to utility companies located throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. Today, it is owned by Corsa Coal. They require time clocks in extreme environments.
PBS Coals came to Acumen Data Systems with an outdated and inefficient time and attendance system. More challenging was the harsh environment of modern coal mining operations. Mostly outdoors, the operational conditions were severe—whether extraction deep in the earth or loading, transferring and conveying to the surface or sorting and shipment at the terminal above ground.
From coal dust to airborne particulates to machine smoke, PBS needed a time clock that could withstand the harshest of outdoor and indoor environments. Employees needed a fail-safe way to go on and off the clock from multiple locations in environments that had continuous and variable threats—from humidity to temperature to lighting to actual human interactions with the technology.
“ACUMEN DATA SYSTEMS WAS THE ONLY COMPANY THAT MENTIONED AN SAP STANDARD INTERFACE FOR TIME DATA EXCHANGE. WE WERE DEVELOPING BUSINESS LOGIC FOR DATA EXCHANGE BETWEEN VERY COMPLEX
SYSTEMS…AND ACUMEN HELPED US SORT IT ALL OUT.”
-HUMAN CAPITAL MANAGEMENT CONSULTANT VITALY POTSELUEV
The second challenge was that the company needed a time and attendance, scheduling, and labor management system that could merge with flawless synchronicity to an existing enterprise resource planning SAP environment. “Acumen was the only company who mentioned an SAP standard interface for time data exchange,” explains SAP and Human Capital Management Consultant Vitaly Potseluev. “We were developing business logic for data exchange between very complex systems. We were defining what to send, how often, what to do in exceptional cases and Acumen helped us sort it all out. We needed to optimize key processes from administration to time management to authorizations and reporting.”
PBS Coals’ vertically integrated operations—starting from raw material mining right through to the manufacturing of high value-added products—made it an ideal candidate for Acumen’s PutDATA solution—a Web-Service data replication software for real-time data replication and transfer. PBS Coals needed order, job and job type functionality that was robust and could communicate through multiple channels. They needed to implement parts and modules to their existing ERP enterprise software system that allowed inputs from manufacturing and could handle forecasting from inventory control models to measurements to job-specific data, all linked to employees.
Next we hooked PBS Coals with the Acumen GT550—a state of the art proximity and swipe clocking solution— reliable and affordable. Fingerprint biometric scanning plus video capture technology. 10-inch precision resistive touch screen LCD TFT color, 1025 x 600 resolution with LED backlight and a 2 megapixel color camera with video.
With deep mines and prep plants and hundreds of employees, PBS Coals needed a clock solution for its employees that worked in rugged environmental extremes. They came to Acumen Data Systems also looking for a software solution to bring them into the 21st century of integration—to bring their SAP ERP and employee time and attendance and scheduling into a seamless flow—to get the right hand and the left hand working together.
“WITH DEEP MINES AND PREP PLANTS AND HUNDREDS OF EMPLOYEES, PBS COALS NEEDED A CLOCK SOLUTION FOR ITS
EMPLOYEES THAT WORKED IN RUGGED ENVIRONMENTAL EXTREMES.”
First, the clock solution. PBS Coals selected the Acumen GT550—one of the most reliable and technologically advanced clocks on the market. It is extremely affordable and features fingerprint biometric scanning.
Offering quick and easy customization and plug-and- play convenience for fast implementation, the GT550 time clock boasts some of the coolest features that PBS Coals had a hard time finding anywhere else.
Because it’s video enabled, the company had the opportunity to set the time clock to take a picture upon every punch. This eliminates so-called “buddy punching” by setting the employee number and PIN with a photograph. Some employees were nervous about their fingerprints being stored and the security implications.
But the GT550 uses a technology wholly separate than the one used by law enforcement or the government.
“We explained that no fingerprints are stored inside the system or could be transferred anywhere else,” Potseluev explains. “The fingerprint is only a number of digits – a mathematic code representing the number of points on a finger. It’s a very unique system that can’t
“…NO FINGERPRINTS ARE STORED INSIDE THE SYSTEM…THE FINGERPRINT IS ONLY A NUMBER OF DIGITS—A MATHEMATICAL
CODE REPRESENTING THE NUMBER OF POINTS ON A FINGER.”
Employees liked the fact that they could capture their own images in addition to their fingerprints. They were secure in the knowledge that their times in and out, their breaks, and their clocking in at different tasks were all being accurately measured for the company’s books and most importantly, for their paychecks.
With the GT550, employees now email audio and video to supervisors to request days off, to provide a reason for being late, or to clock in or out if the employee hasn’t been enrolled yet.
Next for PBS Coals was their software solution. A synchronized package of Acumen Data System’s off- the-shelf products: LaborVIEW for employee time and attendance, ShiftVIEW for employee/manager scheduling, and PutDATA for seamless communications.
LaborVIEW is Acumen’s best-selling time and attendance software solution that provides PBS the ability to effectively know who is doing what, when, and why. It effectively eliminates the guesswork and redundant data entry. Best of all, ShiftVIEW integrated with LaborVIEW helps PBS with their peace of mind— ensuring mine safety protocols. That’s because when specific employees with specific certifications are tied to specific jobs and tasks, you reduce the likelihood of errors.
Next, Acumen integrated its proprietary software for employee scheduling—ShiftVIEW. The solution allowed PBS Coals to manage complicated shifts with flexibility—reducing administrative costs and increasing profitability. Best of all, PBS enjoyed the automation.
No more time-consuming manual entry.
“FOR DATA COMMUNICATION, ACUMEN TAILORED ITS WEB- SERVICE DATA REPLICATION SOFTWARE—PUTDATA—FOR
REAL-TIME REPLICATION FROM ERP SYSTEMS TO ITS LABORVIEW DATABASE.” PUTDATA ALLOWS THE SERVER TO HAVE REAL-TIME DATA FROM THE ERP ASSOCIATED WITH THE SHOP ORDER, INVENTORY, LOCATIONS AND SHOP FLOOR AND MUCH MORE.
For data communication, Acumen tailored its Web- Service data replication software—PutDATA—for real- time replication from ERP systems to its LaborVIEW database. PutDATA allows the server to have real-time data from the ERP associated with Shop Order, Inventory, Locations and Shop Floor and much more. Automated reading and writing to and from LaborVIEW, ShiftVIEW, and the ERP takes place via the PutDATA software. It reads the data, transports it, and then populates the LaborVIEW database. Best of all, a seamless, two-way exchange between the LaborVIEW server and the ERP system.
Then PutDATA supports HR PDC, CATS and PP PDC and multiple interfaces. PBS Coals used the HR PDC and CATS. From employee data like ID numbers, clock in/outs, orders, tasks, codes—key information for human resources, production planning, maintenance or any other key departments or modules that need to read the data to make informed management choices.
The complete Acumen Data Systems solution—tailored for PBS Coals—provided the freedom for advanced decision-making—whether scheduling, job production, inventory control, order fulfillment—you name it—which helped bring greater efficiency, profitability and safety to the renowned mining company for the 21st century.