Did you know that employee manufacturing time can be tracked using barcodes? A few scans will start a timer, and a few scans will stop it again. Now you’ve collected some pretty valuable information you can use to improve the manufacturing process. What can you collect? (scroll down below the video for some ideas)
Things manufacturing metrics you can collect with barcodes:
Employee shift attendance
Work order manufacturing time
Process steps within each work order
Client hours for invoicing
Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE)
Find “Standard Time®” on Google, and download a copy to begin collecting mfg data with barcodes. It’s a good product you’ll like.
How do you track employee time on the shop floor? Here are some popular solutions available on Amazon or other retail outlets:
Yell across the shop floor when your job is done
Number 2 pencil, greasy sheet which is lost 33% of the time (you hope)
Punch-clock built in the late 1970’s but mostly still keeps time
Nothing beats a good guess
With these leading solutions in place, you should not even consider barcode time tracking solutions. Don’t even think the words “Standard Time®” or you could be fired. Don’t rock the boat… don’t change… everything will be fine… your shop will remain just as competitive as it was in 1988. Cuz, really… Standard Time shop floor software is just a passing fad. It’ll never catch on. See ya in the 90’s! 🙂
The video below describes a sequence of events that automatically creates manufacturing work orders when inventory is low. (scroll down below video for more)
Let’s assume you pull items from inventory for manufacturing. (You manufacture something that includes other pre-built assemblies) You have to maintain stock of the pre-built items so they are always available for use in other product. Problem is, it’s hard to remember to restock inventory when it’s low. You may pull a few off the rack and never remember to replenish them. The last thing you want is to go back and find the rack empty! Now you’ve got to build those items before you can fulfill your orders.
Wouldn’t it be nice if you got an email when inventory stock fell? And even nicer if a new work order was created, telling you to build and replenish inventory? Such an automated system would let you keep inventory levels high enough to fulfill orders when they came in.
This video describes exactly how to do this.
The sequence goes something like this:
BOM is scanned and deducted from inventory
Stock quantity drops below a threshold
New work order is automatically created
Email notification is sent
Employees build and replenish inventory from the work order
Work order is completed and deactivated
Most of these steps are accomplished with barcode scanners on the shop floor. Employees may not realize the automation occurring in the background, but admins and project managers will appreciated it.
Which kind of barcode scanner should I buy? Which scanners work with Standard Time? How do you connect a barcode scanner to a computer? Can you use barcode scanners with a Windows tablet?
All these questions are answered in the short video below. Scroll down below the video for more…
Turns out, any barcode scanner works with Standard Time. Just plug it in and begin scanning. Actually, barcode scanners work exactly like keyboards. They connect to USB ports like keyboards and send text like keyboards. That enables them to connect to Standard Time like a keyboard and can start and stop a timer, plus scan inventory, materials and expenses. All this is many times faster than keyboards, and much more reliable.
You can print barcode labels with any word processor or spreadsheet. Just choose a barcode font like IDAutomation. Include an * asterisk before and after every label, and you’re ready to scan.
For about $150 you have a simple barcode scanning station for manufacturing shop floor use. Scan time and materials into Standard Time.
The video below is a cute way to illustrate cutting manufacturing time. Fact is, you gotta do it one way or another. You can’t keep going the way you are, with manual processes and verbal work order communication. You have to automate. (scroll for the video)
Barcodes are a great way to automate work order processing.
Just scan your username, work order, and task. A timer starts that contains the employee and job, plus a lot of other information related to clients, machines, assembly lines, and locations. You’re collecting about a dozen other little things that can be reported on.
What do you do with all that information? Find ways to change. Improve. Adjust. Every improvement you make has the potential to save you money. That’s how barcodes cut manufacturing time.
When you’re managing projects, information display is everything. Here’s a quick tip to enhance your experience. (See video below.)
The video below shows how to arrange columns for best results during management. It talks about creating subviews of columns that apply to a particular need. These collections of columns help you see the exact information you need for any need, and let you quickly switch from one subview to another. In other words switch from one set of information to a completely different set with just a few clicks. Scroll below the video for more…
Let’s say you have one subview of columns for costs, another for graphical task display, and still another for task dates. Instead of cramming all that onto one view, why not chop it up into subviews. Then you can quickly switch between views to see relevant information.
Each subview is an arrangement of columns.
You arrange columns to make sense to you. And you create as many subviews as you need for all your project management needs.
Standard Time® is mostly a manufacturing project planning tool. It has some pretty rich displays and dashboards. These subviews are just part of the big picture. There are many other things like this to explore.
It is a known fact that cavemen do not use barcode time tracking software. They have good dredlock hair but no manufacturing metrics. They have superb cave drawings but no real KPI’s to speak of. Honestly, it’s just not their thing.
Cavemen pick lice from their coworkers hair; that is how they count and measure time.
“I picked 238 lice today”
“Ha! 372 lice, here!”
“Counting lice works. It’s the way we’ve always done it.”
You can’t really argue with that logic. It works, and that’s that. It is what it is. Barcoding work orders is not even a remote possibility with cavemen. They don’t think in terms of employee hours, work order status, and continual improvement. They don’t even have a WIP screen on their cave walls. And if they did, what would it say? “796 lice this week”? It would definitely not show all the jobs in progress on the shop floor, and predict ship dates. Nope. Lice picks is all. Okay, cool. Carry on…
Here’s an advanced video for you technical project management types. Consider renaming your custom database fields with “pretty names” for use in SQL scripts and reporting.
True, this video is not for everyone. It’s just for those hardcode reporting and scripting techies. This video shows how to rename database fields you are using in your reports and SQL scripts. The “big ugly” database column names you get by default for your custom fields can be renamed to make things easier for IT folks creating reports and writing scripts. Here’s how to rename them