From the Kane County (IL) Chronicle, 6/8/08
By JONATHAN BILYK — firstname.lastname@example.org
BATAVIA — Doug Marsh had already created a better way for small offices and shops to keep track of their payroll.
With his latest product offering, however, Marsh believes he and his team have found a way to help business owners whose work sites may be a little less stationary.
Since breaking away from his father's company, Spectrum Company International, in 2001, Marsh's company, Batavia-based TimePilot, has designed and marketed its line of electronic punch clocks.
The product has been designed from the start around the iButton, a computer chip encased in a metal disc at the end of a plastic tab.
The iButton can be attached to an employee's keychain and then used to punch the employee in or out with just a touch to the clock.
To date, the concept has proven a success, as TimePilot's products have landed on retail shelves at office supply and warehouse stores in the U.S. and Canada.
"Customers have told us that the time they spent on processing payroll information has been cut from days to minutes," Marsh said.
But Marsh and his associates said they have received calls from the start from a group of business owners who felt left out:
Contractors and others in the building trades.
"We were constantly receiving comments from customers telling us that they loved our products, but they needed something portable, that didn't need to be attached to a PC," Sheree Womack, TimePilot's national sales manager, said.
So about two years ago, TimePilot set about responding to those requests.
And about a month ago, they began selling the TimePilot Extreme.
The product features an onboard computer that can store punch information from employees using iButtons on any job site.
The computer is housed in a zinc-coated steel casing that is fully portable and can withstand many rigors of a construction site and a host of weather conditions.
The punch information can be downloaded to a thumb drive designed for use with the punch clock. And download privileges are restricted to users with a special management iButton.
"They have to touch the management iButton to the clock, or you can't download anything," Marsh said.
While the casing is made in China and the probes to detect the iButtons are made in Poland, much of the product is made in the Fox Valley.
TimePilot has partnered with Lace Technologies in St. Charles to make the circuit board for the punch clock, and with Diamond Coat in Batavia to provide the black enamel coating for the clock casing.
The product has already met with great success, Marsh and Womack said.
They noted that a number of units have already been sold to Canadian customers and other units have been sold to American contractors and even a company that moves barges on the Mississippi River.
"Our main advertising right now is online," Mike Hanlon, design director for TimePilot, said. "So we're excited to see the business we've already gotten."
Womack said the product will soon be exhibited at trade shows and advertisements placed in trade magazines.
"We've gotten so many calls already," Marsh said. "Our customers are just so thrilled to finally have a product that gives them a good way to keep track of their employees' time."