ID Card Products Offer Plenty of Choice
Dec 1, 2001 12:00 PM
PHOTO IDENTIFICATION badges are becoming mandatory for a majority of the companies involved in hazardous materials and edible shipments. As companies scramble to put ID card programs into place, they are faced with a bewildering array of products and options.
Among the offerings are high-tech ID card systems with a variety of sophisticated security capabilities, including biometric identifiers such as fingerprints. Companies can spend anywhere from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands on an ID card system.
Determining the right system means answering some questions. How many employees will need ID badges? How soon must the ID cards be issued? How often will the cards be reissued? How long do they need to last? How will the cards be used — positive ID, access control? What type of variable information must be recorded on the cards — name, title, department, employee number? What types of security features are needed (hologram for instance)?
Minimum equipment should include the following: A computer with a database program such as FileMaker Pro and Microsoft Excel, a digital camera or scanner, and a means of producing a laminated finished product.
Companies willing to cough up the big bucks can buy systems capable of producing three- to five-part laminated cards. Options available with these cards include magnetic stripes and bar codes for facility access control, custom backgrounds, and hard-to-counterfeit embedded images.
The Internet has brought an alternative for companies that can't justify investing in their own high-tech ID badge system. The badge information resides on the customer's own computer and is transmitted securely over the Internet to the ID card provider.
A simpler approach appealed to Propane Resources, a Mission, Kansas, company that provides propane transportation services to distributors in the Midwest, East, and Southeast. The corporate objective was to get a photo ID system up and running in as little time as possible. In addition, the company has just 50 to 60 transport drivers.
“We found that we had everything we needed in-house,” says Keri Herman, marketing services manager at Propane Resources. “We had an operational photo ID badge program in place within days of the terrorist attacks. These ID cards are acceptable to our customers.”
Driver information is collected in a FileMaker Pro database running on a Macintosh computer. Herman created a layout consisting of the company logo, driver photograph, commercial driver license number, driver identification number, and an 800 telephone number. An expiration date may be added in the future.
Templated ID cards are imported into QuarkXpress, a popular desktop publishing software. Herman points out that the database files can be saved directly out of FileMaker Pro as a PDF file using Adobe Acrobat. This is probably the easiest way to handle the database files.
A JPEG photograph of each driver is added. The cards are then printed out on an inkjet or color laser printer. In a final step, they are laminated.
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