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Dreading Daylight Saving Time Changes?

This time of year can be a headache for any business, but few of us think about how much time we spend on time during the other 364 days of the year: Inconsistent and imprecise time displays can cause thousands of lost minutes and dollars.

Are you looking forward to losing 60 minutes of productivity for Daylight Saving Time on March 9? How about the time it will take your maintenance team to adjust all of the clocks in your facility?

This time of year can be a headache for any business, but few of us think about how much time we spend on time during the other 364 days of the year: Inconsistent and imprecise time displays can cause thousands of lost minutes and dollars, not to mention the maintenance time required to change clock batteries, ensure that equipment clocks are synchronized with wall clocks, or employee tardiness because a clock doesn’t show the same time as the others.

Synchronized time happens when all of the clocks in a facility – wired, wireless, digital or analog – display the same precise time. For a manufacturer, this can make or break whether you meet time-specific regulations for food checks, ensure that all employees start, stop and break from shifts at the right time, or that reports for regulators are accurately recorded.

How it works

With a wired clock system, a master clock is wired to each clock in a building and controls the displayed time to ensure synchronization. Another option is a wireless system, in which clocks retrieve a time signal from GPS satellites, cell phone towers or the internet. A signal is sent to each wireless clock using a radio frequency. In some cases, timekeeping providers have system options that can synchronize both wired and wireless clocks within the same facility.

Whether wired or wireless clocks (or a combination of both), a synchronized timekeeping system will automatically update for daylight saving time and may come with a multi-year battery life, saving your maintenance staff a significant amount of time adjusting and repairing clocks.

Why synchronize?

Consider this scenario: If a worker is paid $18 per hour and takes an extra four minutes off per day because the nearest clock displays the wrong time, you lose $9.60 per week. Multiply that by 50 weeks and 50 employees, and suddenly you may be losing $24,000 a year thanks to your clocks. Here are other benefits of synchronizing the time in your facility:

Decreases liability: Provides legal documentation of an occurrence, event accuracy throughout your facility and reduces defects due to time inaccuracy.     

Audio or visual signals: Synchronized timekeeping systems can include warning signals, bells, strobes, buzzers and other methods of alerting employees to critical events or shift changes.

Lower maintenance costs: A master controller can communicate the scheduled on/off time to other systems within your facility, like HVAC, shift bells, security or lighting. This provides another level of automation and relieves your maintenance team of manual synchronization or the twice-yearly headache of Daylight Saving Time changes.

Clocks in action

Synchronized time can be a benefit in any environment where accurate timekeeping is important. This is especially true for food manufacturers.

One of the largest food processing plants in the world is meticulous about complying with federal, state and corporate food safety regulations. As cans move from the production to filling to seaming to cooking areas, the company’s recordkeeping has to be precise.

The manufacturer mounted a master clock in its test lab to control all of the digital clocks throughout the facility. This means every record now reflects the correct time. Even the cooking equipment has an internal clock that is synchronized to the wall clocks and the employee time clock. In a business where time controls safety, regulatory compliance and profit, synchronizing time was a missing component of more efficient operations.

Spend less time on time

The change to and from Daylight Saving Time prompts many of us to consider the time we spend maintaining our timekeeping system, or the fact that our clocks never display the same time. But in reality, unsynchronized time can be hurting your operations at any time of the year. With all of your devices showing the same time, it can help ensure that the rest of your facility is running like clockwork.

Dieter Pape is president of American Time, a manufacturer of integrated time solutions for organizations around the world. More information can be found at

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