Collecting Barcode Info for Manufacturing

The basics of time tracking for manufacturing are time and materials. But did you know that you can collect more? This video shows how. Scroll down to watch.

You’re probably already collecting time for employees on the shop floor for manufacturing and assembly. You scan a username and project, and that starts the timer. So you’re getting the basics. That’s good. Of course you can also scan a project task or category to gather a little more information that can be reported on later. Everything you collect is intelligence.

But there is also a technique for collecting user-defined items. The video describes scanning a building name, an assembly line, a product line, and details about your product. These are details Standard Time could never imagine. But you can set up the software to require these special scans. Employees must scan your special requirements before the timer will start. That means you’re guaranteed to get them.

Think about all the special things you might like to collect, right where the work is done. Now give the software a try. You’ll get some awesome time tracking metrics you may have never thought possible.

Barcoding Time and Materials for Manufacturing

If you’re barcoding both time and materials for manufacturing, take a look at this video.

You’re going to see how you can track both time and expenses with a barcode scanner. First you’ll scan the project and task to start the timer. Next, you can scan expense templates that represent the materials or supplies being consumed on the job.

Expense templates are used to represent all the fields you want per-populated in each expense record. They have a name you can scan. That names shows up in the timesheet, with the quantities next to it. Just scan once for each item being consumed. The quantity will update each time. Then look in the Expenses tab to see all the records you are accumulating.

Scroll down for the video.

Now that you have both time and expenses for the manufacturing process, you know exactly:

  1. How much time you’re spending for each employee
  2. How much time goes into each product
  3. Where that time breaks down into tasks
  4. How much each project costs
  5. How much of that project is time
  6. How much of that project is materials

MS Project Materials and Costs

Do you want the actual end-users of your MS Project plans to have input?

After all, what’s a project plan without input and adjustments from the boots on the ground? It’s static and lifeless. The project manager creates the plan, and minutes later it’s out of date. Why? Because the project manager doesn’t know the actual conditions on the ground. Only the actual employees know that. So you need their input.

This video describes getting input in the form of materials and costs that are synchronized with MS Project. Get a look below!

Walmart Nextbook for Barcoding

Run your shop floor or any manufacturing with this inexpensive tablet from Wal-Mart and a barcode scanner from Amazon. (Scroll down for video)

For about $200 you can have a wireless barcode station on the shop floor. Scan every job, and you will know the follow information about your operation:

  1. How much time each employee works on shop floor jobs
  2. How much time each product takes to manufacture, assemble, and ship
  3. How long each step of the process takes
  4. How many jobs you did in a week, month, quarter, or year
  5. Your average time per job
  6. Your average completion time
  7. Your worst job time
  8. Your best job time

This is how you eek out percentage points in efficiency. You trim one small thing at a time. And you keep trimming until your operation is as efficient as possible.

Double the Value of Your Timesheet

Information collected in your timesheet can double the value you get from it. Especially if you are only using the basics of client billing or employee payroll. Those things are great, but they are only half what you can get.

Check this video out.

Lingering behind your timesheet is a wealth of new information. It’s behind the “Project Tasks” tab. Your timesheet is feeding information to project tasks every time you enter hours or start a timer. And the information that is collected is completely free.

That is to say… completely free of managing computations like costs, percent complete, and budgets. For example: as soon as you receive an email notification that your project has reached 90% of its budget, you’ll understand “free.” You didn’t have to do anything to get that; it just happened for free.

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.