Have you ever wanted to pull your time and expense data into Excel for analysis? Now you can, with the XLST Excel Add-in. (scroll down for a video)
XLST is a new Excel add-in that pulls timesheet and project management data from your Standard Time® timesheet, and puts the results into Excel spreadsheets. It uses Excel formulas to extract timesheet data, and places the results into a single cell. In fact, the XLST functions act exactly like any other Excel function. They take “parameters” from other cells and use that data to get results.
What kinds of results can you get?
You can query the Standard Time database for all the actual work entered by employees. Or, you could query for all the expenses. Or all time off taken by employees. Or the hours available for time off.
Here is a partial list, which might spark your imagination:
Just click in an empty cell and then click the function icon near the formula line. Then choose XLST as the category. You’ll see all the functions listed above. Each one takes different parameters. Many parameters are optional, so you can quickly get results right away.
You must start by downloading Standard Time from the stdtime.com website, and then connecting it to SQL Server. XLST requires SQL Server or SQL Express. Once ST is connected to SQL, then you can download and install XLST.
Here’s a tricky new idea: Collect barcode scans on the shop floor, and upload them into your time tracking software. (scroll down for a video)
You want to track time for factory production jobs, right?
But you don’t have line-of-sight to any computer, right?
And you don’t want to lug a tablet, right?
Well, you could use an offline scanner like the Opticon OPN-2001. The OPN-2001 scanner collects barcodes offline, and allows them to be uploaded at a later time. Each scan contains a timestamp so you know exactly when each one occurred. That’s important for time tracking because a timer is started and stopped for each scan. The software needs those timestamps to get accurate time segments representing the actual work performed by employees. You get that with the OPN-2001.
Do you need an Opticon scanner? Not really. Any scanner that collects timestamps with each scan will work. But we like the little OPN-2001. It fits in the palm of your hand and goes anywhere.
It all sounds dreamy, right? Well, consider these possible issues. Without a line of sight to a computer, operators can make mistakes. If you forget a critical scan (like a username) the timer will never start. You may think it started, but won’t find out until you upload the scans. That’s too late. You could miss multiple scans just because you didn’t have visual feedback from a computer. Sure… you can hear the bleeps when you scan, but the scanner doesn’t know when you have missed critical information.
Forget a username, and the timer won’t start.
Forget a project name, and the timer won’t start.
That’s a big deal. So make double-sure you scan everything exactly has it should be. And then this little scanner can work nicely for you.
Fact: If you don’t know how long it takes to manufacture your own products, you’ll be eaten.
Somebody is coming along to eat you.
Whether it is China or an upstart in your own country makes no difference. Technology is coming that will make your manual processes obsolete. That is, if you don’t improve your own first. Take a look around. Is your shop floor still largely human-powered? If so, you’re burning needless hours and keeping costs higher than they should be.
Why not try barcodes and RFID?
Scanning barcodes and RFID tag make time tracking quick and easy. Plus, it gives you new information you can use to improve. Do you know how long your products take to produce? How many employee hours are involved? Which processes are slow? Which ones are killing productivity?
For a few bucks you can measure those things with a barcode scanner. Now you know. And now you can change. It’s really not that hard. 🙂
Here’s a video for inspiration.
Once you’ve watched it, go out to amazon and buy a cheap scanner. Then download “Standard Time” and try it out. Within a day, you’ll start seeing time records you can use to improve.
Watch the video below to learn how Eversight Vision (an eye bank) uses Standard Time® to track the amount of time cornea tissue is being handled by lab technicians. Every second counts!
Essentially, lab techs scan a barcode when cornea tissue is removed from refrigeration, and scan again when returned. The codes record which procedure is performed. They now know how long tissues are out of refrigeration, how long each procedure takes, how long each employee worked on cornea tissues, and which employee “touched” them last. Ahhh! Somebody touched my eye! 🙂
All kidding aside, that’s a lot of great information, just by scanning a barcode label.
This is especially the same process any manufacturing or assembly operation uses. You must measure before you can improve. How long are employees spending on each product? How long are products in each stage? What state is a given product at any time? Where is it? Who handled it last? When will it be finished? Those questions can best be answered by scanning barcode labels and recording time spent on them.
Watch the video and determine if this type of process would benefit you. Then download.