Zebra RFID Badges Empower Company with Real-Time Building Access Data

Manpower Inc. (NYSE: MAN) is a world leader in the employment services industry. The $21 billion company offers employers a range of services, including permanent, temporary and contract recruitment; employee assessment and selection; training; outplacement; and outsourcing and consulting.

Manpower's worldwide network of 4,500 offices in 80 countries and territories enables the company to meet the needs of its 400,000 clients per year. Manpower Inc. operates under five brands: Manpower, Manpower Professional, Elan, Jefferson Wells and Right Management.

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The Story


Started in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1948, Manpower has kept its global headquarters in its hometown. In 2007, the company moved from a suburban location to its new home base in the city's downtown. Security was top of mind when configuring the new headquarters building—especially given the downtown location. In addition to 1,300 employees working on site, many guests regularly enter the facility as well. Manpower needed to ensure that it properly accounted for all individuals in the building, whether employees or guests, while maintaining a welcoming atmosphere.

"In moving from a suburban to an urban location, we didn't want security measures to give employees or guests the impression that it was a dangerous environment," said James Stewart, risk manager at Manpower. "At the same time, post-9/11 security measures come into play and we need to know who's in the building at all times. During an emergency, we needed a way to assess who is still in the building."


Manpower engaged Dretison Technologies for a comprehensive security solution. Dretison provides radio frequency identification (RFID) products and services to public and private organisations. At its previous building, Manpower had double entrance doors and employees held their badges up to a reader. That literally opened the door at times to "tailgaters" coming in after authorised employees without having to show badges.

For the new location, RFID technology gave Manpower the opportunity to enhance security—while decreasing the visible aspects of the security solution. Dretison implemented a complete security solution that included the Zebra® P330i™ colour card printer. With the P330i, Manpower can easily create badges with digitally encoded, error-free data in an RFID tag, and then wirelessly transmit that data to an RFID reader. The reader simply recognizes the tag on each person entering the facility, allowing reception and security personnel to identify and assist those without identification.

Dretison installed an invisible mix of readers and security cameras in the building's entrance. The badges and readers are then tied to Dretison's AccuGuardian™ software solutions. With that, data read from the badges is transmitted to a database for analysis, giving security staff real-time insight into building access.

Authorised Manpower staff easily print badges for new employees or deactivate badges for employees leaving the company. Currently, they have 1,300 employee badges, as well as 100 guest badges. Guest badges are numbered and reissued repeatedly as guests come and go.

The company doesn't need double doors and employees don't have to stop and hold up badges to readers. The sensitivity of the Zebra badges lets them simply enter as long as the badges are on them somewhere. That eliminates the potential for "tailgate" entries. The security team receives alerts on screen, or via pages or text, alerting them of unauthorized people in the building and the door the person entered.

Security staff can also see the person on the video cameras, and may identify that it's a known employee.

"We're empowering security with technology that doesn't make them run all over, so they can respond more efficiently," Stewart said. Beyond front access, coded badges control access to areas such as the parking garage, and enable only authorised employees to enter more sensitive areas such as the server room, legal library or rooms with document storage.

Additionally, Manpower extended its investment in RFID technology by tracking many of its office assets, such as mobile desks, monitors and even file folders. By tagging each asset, they always have an account of where assets are located and if any have been removed from the building.

We're empowering security with technology that doesn't make them run all over, so they can respond more efficiently.

James Stewart, Risk Manager,


The security solution at Manpower headquarters enables more convenient and faster entry for employees, without the problems of past readers.

Previously, at times authorised employees could not enter when readers failed to recognize them—making for frustrated employees.

Now, everyone simply enters the facility and guests are immediately identified. Receptionists, called ambassadors, no longer have to be the frontline security enforcers every moment of the day.

"Our ambassadors have a new role," Stewart said. "They can step away for a moment to take care of something else and the entrance is still monitored remotely."

Detailed muster reporting not only provides a record of guests, but it gives management rich data about attendance and hours the building is occupied. Most importantly, Manpower knows it is well-prepared for emergencies.

"We had a real fire soon after we moved in," Stewart said. "The RFID system works so much better for muster reporting. We immediately knew who was still in the building and did a good job of evacuating."

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