What is a material resource in MS Project?

There are actually three types of resources in MS Project

  1. Work resource — human resource, or equipment rented by the hour
  2. Material resource — consumable materials used on the job
  3. Cost resource — misc. expenses used on the job

Building a Microsoft Project with resources is much more than just human resources. It’s more than just Jim and Bob assigned to tasks. There are other types of resources that all have costs impacting the project.

The video below shows all three resource types. Scroll down and watch.

Work resources

Work resources are usually human beings. They have a standard rate for each hour of work. But Work resources could also be machines that cost you a certain amount to use for each hour. A trackhoe that costs you $10,000 per hour is a work resource. You assign it to a task for a specified number of hours. When the task is finished, you own $10,000 times the number of hours. Ouch!

Material resources

Material resources are normally consumables. You use up these materials on the job. The video describes buckets of nails as an example. You use a certain number of buckets for each task. When the task is done, you have cost the project the number of buckets times the cost for each bucket.

Cost resources

Cost resources are miscellaneous expenses your project incurs. Add these to your project so you know the total cost, including all the items used.

It turns out that all these MS Project costs come down to Standard Time during synchronization. Not only do your tasks come down, but so do all the resources and their costs. Of course you can send actual work back up to MSP from your employee timesheet, which lets you compare estimates with actuals. But this video describes resource costs.

Have a look at the video below.

Strategies for serial numbers when barcoding

I don’t know how to get those pesky serial numbers to show up while barcoding! I need to track time to serial numbers on my widgets, but how? Where do the serial numbers show up in your time tracking app? Are they projects or tasks? How do I even start?

Start by watching the video! (scroll down)

Then, consider creating projects for serial numbers you’ll be scanning many times over a long period of time. Or, consider creating tasks for serial numbers you’ll only scan for a few days or weeks. It all depends on what the serial numbers and barcode labels represent.

In the end, you’ll get the same employee hours in the timesheet, and time logs in your reports. You’ll see how many hours each employee spends on your projects and tasks. You’ll see how much time was spent on each product. On each kind of work. On each step of the manufacturing process. All that information makes your process more efficient, and cost effective.

Here’s the basic process you will follow:

  1. Scan an employee name
  2. Scan a task name (representing a serial number on one of your widgets)
  3. The timer will start
  4. Perform the task
  5. Scan username again
  6. Scan the word STOP

That basic exchange collects a lot of information:

  1. How long the employee worked
  2. How long the project took to manufacture, assemble, box, and ship
  3. How long each serial number took
  4. How many times you touched the product
  5. Who touched the product
  6. When they touched the product
  7. How much time you’re spending on each kind of work

Microsoft Project Syncs with Timesheet

Microsoft Project can automatically sync with Standard Time®. You set it and forget it!

Watch this video for the description of a little console app that syncs MPP files with your timesheet. You specify the input settings in a batch file or scheduler. The console app will run when instructed to do so. And when it does, it syncs the tasks and actual work with your timesheet.

The timesheet it works with is Standard Time. You’ll see the MS Project tasks down on your timesheet, and you’ll see employee hours up in the Task Usage view in MS Project. That sync will occur as many times each day as you want. Just put it on a scheduler and let it run.

Find the scheduler here:

  1. Open the Control Panel
  2. Open System and Security
  3. Open Administrative Tools
  4. Open Schedule Tasks

 

Define Gantt Chart

A Gantt chart shows you task bars, task links, milestones and summaries. Pretty good for an invention from 1910! Quickie video below.

Define Gantt Chart: A chart where the X axis is time, and the Y axis contains task start and finish dates plotted horizontally on the time axis.

Actually, there is no Y axis. As stated above, there are just bars representing start and finish dates from scheduled tasks. Each task in the Gantt chart has a beginning and an ending dates. Those dates can be made into horizontal bars. The task start date is the left edge of the bar. The task finish date is the right edge of the bar. Each task potentially has different start and finish dates.

The Gantt chart itself has start and finish dates. It is small “window” into the full project schedule that has dates stretching from the beginning of the project until the end. So, you begin with the dates of a full project schedule, then look at a small part of that schedule using the Gantt chart, and inside it are individual tasks with even small increments of time, during which you’ll perform small jobs.

The Gantt chart scrolls inside the full project schedule dates. Tasks are visible in the Gantt chart “window” in the larger schedule.

It turns out that the timesheet app named Standard Time® also has a Gantt chart. You are able to view and manage tasks in ST. Those tasks show up on the timesheet where employee enter hours. The hours they enter into the timesheet go into the “Actual work” column in ST. You can compare actual work to estimations. Plus, you see percent complete.

You can download the ST timesheet and Gantt chart here.

How to use MSP Add-in to Sync Time

Always wanted to know how to sync to Microsoft Project? This video tells how. Scroll down.

It involves the use of an add-in you install into MSP. The add-in synchronizes project tasks with Standard Time® It then synchronizes timesheet hours from ST to MSP. That makes a nice round-trip sync between MSP and ST.

What is Standard Time? It’s an employee timesheet app that includes project management, expense tracking, and PTO. Integration with Microsoft Project is not required. ST has it’s own native projects and tasks. But if you already have your own MSP files or you are connecting to Project Web Access, you can bring those project tasks into ST for display in the timesheet.

Let us know what you think of the video by commenting on YouTube.

Define PMO Office, Project Management Office

PMO = Project Management Office. That’s all we know.

Well… not exactly. 🙂

We also know which project management tool is best for the PMO. That’s Standard Time®. And we know how to manage projects and tasks. In fact, here’s a video that shows

Ten tools for the PMO office

And in case you were wondering… we also know that it’s not pronounced “PMO Office.” The extra “Office” at the end is redundant because the acronym “PMO” has the word Office in it. So if you said “PMO Office” you would really be saying “Project Management Office Office.” That’s dumb.

Watch the video, and then watch the “ten tools” video above. Comment on each one to let us know what you think.  Talk to you soon!

Create Project Tasks from Barcode Labels

Do you use project tasks in Standard Time® to track your manufacturing hours? Good, lot’s of people do. And do you scan those tasks to start a timer? Excellent, you’re in good company. Are you starting to wonder if there is a way to automate the process of creating project tasks from barcode labels?

Bingo!

Now you’re onto something. That’s the exact topic of this video. How to create project tasks directly from barcode labels that you’ve printed somewhere else.

Here’s the thing: you’ve got barcode labels you want to scan for manufacturing purposes. Those labels were pre-printed somewhere else. (You didn’t print them.) But you want project tasks in ST so you can track time to them. Your only solution is to manually type in each task. That’s okay, because you’re getting a lot of automation from the from the scanning once the tasks are created. But still, you’re wondering… could these tasks be automatically created?

They sure can!

Just scan barcode labels and the tasks are automatically created. Once created, you can scan the labels again (at different workstations) to start timers during manufacturing.

Watch the video and let us know your thoughts.

Barcode Labels Report

Here’s a quick “report” that prints barcode labels for a selected project and all its tasks. Comment on the video below, and let us know what you think!

We use the word report in quotes because its not really a report. Instead, it’s the barcode labels for any given project. That’s not really a report, right?

But you may find this useful if you’re tracking time in manufacturing or assembly. Start by scanning your employee name. Then scan the project name followed by the task. A timer will start to record your employee jobs.

Scan the word STOP to stop the timer. Now you have time logs with start and stop times. Lots of them! You’ll see scans come into the system in real-time. Now you can use them for all your wonderful reasons. Here are some to consider:

  1. Learn how much time each employee works
  2. Learn how long projects actually take to produce (rather than guessing)
  3. Get actual time for each task of a project
  4. Find out how long each product takes to manufacture and ship
  5. Compare manufacturing time to admin time (what percentage is each)

Print Barcode Labels From MS Word

Learn how to print barcode labels from MS Word. Did you know your MS Word can print barcode labels? Yep, and really easy. This tutorial shows how.

Of course, we hope you’ll realize the potential for tracking employee time with barcode scanners, and this is just one of the little steps you’ll take. Consider these steps for tracking time with barcode labels:

  1. Print employee names on barcode labels
  2. Print projects and tasks, also on barcode labels
  3. Create those employees and projects in ST
  4. Press F4 to open the barcode window
  5. Scan a username
  6. Scan a project name
  7. Scan a task
  8. The timer starts!
  9. Go about your work
  10. Scan your username again (after a few hours of work)
  11. Scan the word *STOP*
  12. The timer stops!
  13. Now you have a lot of cool information you never had before.
  14. Check it out!

RFID Time Tracking for Mfg

Start and stop a timer with any RFID reader for manufacturing and assembly. This video will give you an idea of what kinds of RFID tags are available. They come in all shapes and sizes so you should be able to find one that fits your process and budget.  Scroll down below the video for more.

 

All you have to do is pass a reader over an RFID tag to start a timer in ST. Then pass the reader over it again to stop the timer. ST will collect time stamps you can use for reporting.

You’ll know how long every product took to manufacture, how long employees spent on products… and when the product started and ended its life-cycle through the shop.

RFID readers connect to the USB port of any computer. They are simple to use. Just plug them in and begin passing RFID tags over them. ST will create time logs for every scan.