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SMC to Implement New Electronic Timekeeping Management System

LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- New and improved is not just for headache medicine and space vehicles. It's a new method for civilian employees here to input their time and attendance that will cure the headaches of the old system and improve efficiency. 

Time is money and the new system, eMTS or Electronic Management Tracking System, is completely web based and will eliminate the need for paper time sheets and save a lot of money in doing so. 

"Our Headquarters' sponsorship of eMTS actually originated from an AFSO21 initiative proposed by SMC almost two years ago," said Col. Delane Aguilar, SMC Director for Financial Management and Comptroller. "We envisioned that some form of electronic, automated timekeeping tool would save time and money, improve timekeeping accuracy, and provide more easily auditable time and attendance records for our civilian workforce." 

Among other positive features are its reduction of input errors and the ability to access it remotely, not to mention its easy use. Easy use also pertains to easy to learn and civilians here can expect to see the training this Spring. 

"To facilitate a smoother, more successful implementation at SMC, we really need commanders' and leadership's support in ensuring their people are encouraged to and given time to attend training," he said. 

Training will take place two weeks prior to the pay period the systems begins and is scheduled to start here March 29, 2010. It consists of an 8-minute, computer-based training [CBT] video for employees, supervisors (certifiers) and timekeepers to view prior to hands-on training, which will be conducted in a classroom setting of approximately 20 people. 

Once training is complete, there will be a Civilian Pay Customer Service Representative, identified through the base's Financial Services Flight, who will be the lead for scheduling training and data collection. 

The system is scheduled to begin here starting April 25, 2010 (pay period 10).

After reviewing several time and attendance products, SAF/FM selected the web-based electronic Management Tracking System, eMTS, and Maj. Gen. Thomas F. Deppe, former AFSPC vice commander, approved funding for implementation throughout the command.

The new tracking system isn't permanent, but it is an initial step toward a solution for a long-time problem, especially in an environment of seemingly constant demands of 'doing more with less.

"eMTS will be utilized to help bridge the gap between manual and electronic systems until the Air Force deploys the Defense Enterprise Accounting & Management System [DEAMS] sometime in the next few years," said Jim Lobban, deputy, AFSPC Finance Services Division. "Until then, eMTS is helping to fill that crucial need now."

"This new process automates civilian time cards, as well as eliminates the paper trail," said Rob Morgan, eMTS Project Manager, located at Gunter Annex, Ala. "eMTS will allow every civilian employee to annotate their own time, at their own desktop, through a web-based interface." This interface allows eMTS to pass auditable time and attendance information to various government financial accounting systems such as the Defense Civilian Payroll System [DCPS]. 

"We're taking huge strides in moving from the cumbersome, redundant manual process that's in place now to an easier, more effective and smarter process through the automated system," he said. 

"We bring a team out and we conduct the training," he said. "It's not a hard system to learn...it's actually very easy." 

AFSPC isn't the only command in the Air Force to realize the benefits of using this system, but it is the only command that's going to command-wide implementation. "Right now, the normal [manual] process is labor intensive, it's cumbersome, and it takes a lot of time and a lot of paper. eMTS is a way to make that process highly-efficient. Besides saving time, you're now saving resources as well," Morgan said.

Not only will eMTS save time and resources, there will be monetary savings. "AFSPC will see a $1 million cost avoidance as redundant data entry processes are eliminated," Lobban said. "It just makes sense. There will be three great things this system brings to AFSPC. First, it's going to eliminate redundant manual data entry, which isn't standardized, is prone to data entry errors, puts privacy act information at risk, and is extremely time consuming. Second, it's going to ensure the supervisors are actually validating the information and have it readily accessible to auditors. And lastly, it's going to give supervisors the opportunity to certify the information whether they are at work, at home, on leave, or TDY as long as they have CAC [Common Access Card] access." 

All AFSPC wing commanders have been notified of pending eMTS implementation and for the few units already using the system, there has been nothing but good reviews.

"Everybody loves it," he said.