Hi everyone, I'm just after a few ideas for how we may be able to sort out our ID card system.
We use Easytrace Cashless Backoffice which ties in with out Equitrac printing system and our ADT door control system. Every student and member of staff has an ID card and is capable of both 'follow-me' printing and the ability to load cash on their card for use on tills in our canteen. Because our executives want every student to display an ID card, if they forget their ID card they are issued with a temporary card which copies their card details (printing credits, monetary balance etc). This temporary card is either returned when their original is found or a new one is printed for them, for which there is a cost of £1 per card plus additional charges for clips (there is one free card per school year).
Now, as you can imagine, students don't want to pay so they are keeping the temporary cards or losing them. We're now at the stage where a temporary card is only issued if students want to add money for meals. Our catering staff (who are not employed by us) are capable of searching for a student on backoffice but they don't as it makes big queues at the tills!
We've has this system for almost 3 years and it's getting pretty bloomin' stupid to keep printing these temporary cards. I'm just intrigued as to how everyone else does it with either this or similar systems.
We're trying to deal with this here. My suggestion has been to make it a time limit on the temporary card (ie. say 2 weeks), then once that time is hit, their account is automatically reduced by £1 and a new card printed. ie. make the new card compulsory if they fail to pay in a reasonable time.
There's no simple solution to this - your only other option is to make it a timed card, ie. after X days the temporary card will stop working, and then they won't get fed unless they sort themselves out.
I forgot to add, the temporary cards, if issued to a student are set to last for one day if they don't have their card, either lost or forgotten. We print cards within one day so a new one is ready for them the next day but it's down to the student to come to collect - and reluctantly pay! - and also down to class management too, so it's twice as annoying!!!
Use a carrot and stick approach. Give them a discount (say 50p?) if they replace straight away and therefore don't require a temporary card. If they use the temporary card and don't replace it then disable the temporary card after a set time period and optionally automatically bill them from their credit for a new permanent card. Always give them the option of paying from their credit, the easier it is for them to get a new card then the more likely it is they will do it.
I've just been chatting about this with our catering manager. One thing that came up is the time taken to print cards - which made me think about the whole situation.
How about making the card printing a 'there and then' thing. So, a student goes to kitchen and says 'i've got no card' and they're sent to the reception desk and they print a new one there and then, deducting the account by £1 at that moment, while their food is put to one side?
Any reason you can't just take the £1 straight off their catering balance, and let them keep the "temp" card as their new one? Surely that then ensures they've got the card, and paid for it before they can use it?
Thanks for the ideas - reception do not print their cards, we do them in IT support, but as they're linked in with our access control we have to print and then code to the door. We don't have the time or manpower to do them straightaway at present. I like the idea of taking the money off straightaway but don't know whether the superior powers would like that, plus we have students who are on free meals etc.
Normal ID cards have name, house and ID photo on, the temporary cards are a stock of bright pink cards with the words 'temporary' on them so we can't let them keep these!
Are Biometrics an option? We use Easytrace with biometric readers instead of cards - it uses Biostore so I'm sure it would still link to everything else and they are less likely to lose their fingers :P
Just make sure you get permission from parents first - cards can be issued to the small minority that dont get permission.