Sumas First Nation

A Savance Workplace Case Study

Organization: Sumas First Nation

Industry: Community Service

Headquarters: Abbotsford, BC

Customer Since: 2011

Ava Heathcote


It would be very difficult to do our jobs if we didn't have the EIOBoard up all the time.

When someone in the community calls in or visit the office, the receptionist can quickly see if the person is out and when they'll return.

Staff Tracking Solution for Community Service Organization

A Savance Workplace Case Study

Since the initial installation in 2011, Sumas First Nation has found EIOBoard invaluable for serving customers.


Sumas First Nation provides community services to the Sumas First Nation tribe in British Columbia. In 2008, several First Nation tribes in Canada entered into a Framework Agreement with the government of Canada, allowing the First Nations to take jurisdiction of reserve lands and resources. Sumas First Nation owns 600 acres and governs 250 members. The community services office employs 35 people that serve the Sumas First Nation members. Services include housing assistance, health services, education, financial assistance, and economic development.


In 2011, Sumas First Nation needed a better way to manage employees. Most employees worked outside of the office most of the day, and office workers had no way to know where they were or when they would be back. The Sumas office manager initiated a search for a solution that would automatically track and manage 35 employees for the Sumas First Nation. Previously, a manual sign-in sheet was used to track each employee’s whereabouts. Sumas employees would sign the sheet indicating where they were going and when they would be back. However, it wasn’t always accurate, as employees’ tasks often changed while they were out. Sumas needed a better way to track both the time and the whereabouts of the largely mobile workforce.

“Out of 35 employees, at least 25 are in the community most of the day,” said Ava Heathcote, Accountant at Sumas First Nation. “And with two buildings, we need to see where everyone is.” Offsite employees include healthcare workers that visit homes, economic development officers, educators, and community workers. Their jobs are comprised of home medical care tasks, assistance with finding suitable homes, elderly assistance, and financial aid for buying and building homes.


Sumas First Nation needed something to keep track of the organization’s community workers, and that was both simple and effective. The solution needed to allow workers the flexibility to perform their jobs. However, it was also necessary that they were accountable to the receptionist, who could communicate their availability to those that called in or visited the office. An online search resulted in finding Savance, a company that specializes in automating and simplifying business functions. Sumas First Nation was particularly interested in¬†Savance Electronic In Out Board (EIOBoard), which provides a simple electronic method for members of staff to sign in and out of the office.


After reviewing Sumas’ needs, Savance recommended they use EIOBoard for monitoring user statuses and locations. Savance also recommended Sumas integrate the EIOBoard system with access control, using a prox card reader and punch on the outside of the door, giving Sumas a simple and effective¬†access control system¬†that would restrict access to the facility to employees only. The office manager could control access at the group level. Sumas also utilizes the combined EIOBoard/access control system for a rented building, restricting entry to renters only. Not only does this provide improved accountability, but also increased security.

Savance EIOBoard is a simple yet sophisticated software solution that allows employees to sign in and out of the office as they come and go. The software updates in real-time so that all other employees can immediately see where their co-workers are. At Sumas First Nation, employees sign in at the kiosk in the morning when they enter the building. When they leave for a meeting or an offsite visit, they can use the same kiosk to enter where they are going and when they will return. Or, they use their desktop computer to change their status. EIOBoard is available on any Internet-enabled device, which makes it convenient for both office workers and those that work from home. “What we like most about the system,” said Heathcote, “is that we’re able to check in on any desktop computer.”

In order to make the system multi-functional, Savance installed two pieces of hardware that integrate with the EIOBoard software:

  • A proximity card reader updates the employee’s in/out status and records the time a badge is swiped. This information immediately updates the EIOBoard system. The proximity card reader can be programmed to accept simple information, such as name, employee ID, etc. A
  • A touch-screen kiosk allows employees to enter more detailed information with an interactive interface. The interface allows employees to tap the screen and change their status, enter their expected return time, location, and so on. Employees can also view a list of employees and their locations right from the kiosk. It is similar to the desktop application except that it only requires a tap to quickly locate someone at a glance. “We use it mostly at the receptionist desk,” says Heathcote. “When someone in the community calls in or visit the office, the receptionist can quickly see if the person is out and when they’ll return.” The kiosk can also be customized to ask for specific information, such as the address of the community member the employee is visiting, or to automatically send a supervisor an instant message when an employee leaves the building.

Results & Benefits

Since the initial installation in 2011, Sumas First Nation has found EIOBoard invaluable for serving customers. The receptionist can quickly see whether a community employee is available and whether to direct a phone to a person’s office. “We have two buildings,” said Heathcote, “so we know when someone is available and can better help the caller.” Because the office relies on its abilities to serve community members, “It would be very difficult to do our jobs if we didn’t have the EIOBoard up all the time,” Heathcote continued. “It is up and running on our desktops at all times.”