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.
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…
Everyone needs comfort.. even machinists and welders. Why not give them barcode scanning software to eliminate the drudgery of reporting their daily time. That’s “comfort food” for the soul.
Here’s the deal… your machinist hates the stupid timesheet he’s forced to fill out every Friday afternoon. Plus, he doesn’t really remember what he did all that week. After all, he’s slept at least once since Monday. So you’re getting fake and false data anyway.
But what can barcodes do to help?
A lot. Scan jobs at the time you do them, and you are reporting your time as you go. When Friday afternoon arrives, you’ve already sent in fifty small time segments telling exactly what you did. That’s guaranteed to be fifty times more accurate than the paper timesheet everybody hates.
Question: How do you organize and report on manufacturing projects? That is to say, what criteria groups projects into working buckets? Do you put them into portfolios so you can see which portfolio performs best? Or set the status of projects to report on stages or phases? How about assign them to assembly lines to see slots where new projects can go? Those are all techniques described in the video below. Plus, there are a few more.
Did you know you can try these project organization techniques today? Download a copy of Standard Time® and try them for free. You might become inspired to learn more about your own projects and find that organizing them simplifies the monolithic list you have now.
“My manufacturing employees work hard. But I really don’t know what they are doing! How can I find out?”
What a great question!
Consider using the “Employee Status” window on a big screen. It’s resizable and configurable enough for a 75″ big screen. Hang a big TV on the shop floor and display current status of every employee. That tells everyone what everyone else is working on. Or, if that information is secret, you can view it yourself in your own office. But again, consider hosting it on a separate monitor where you see status all the time.
And… as it turns out, there a similar screen for job status. As with the employee status screen, you can resize the job status window and set the font for viewing at a distance. You could also hang a big TV out on the shop floor just for job status.
So with the “employee status” and “job status” windows, you get two views of the same information. One is from an employee perspective. The other is from a job perspective.
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.
Some smart guy said, If you can measure it, you can improve it. So if that’s true, you should be able to measure the amount of time employees spend on the shop floor, and improve it, true?
scroll down for the video
In other words, just by knowing how long things take in your manufacturing process could lead to clues and ideas about how to shorten them. But how do you know how long things take? You could ask each employee to write them down. Then another employee could type in that information. Then another employee could compile the data into reports.
Or, you could use a barcode scanner.
You may be surprised to find small areas you could trim. And then you could measure your time again. And trim again. Until you trimmed one percent from your manufacturing time.
One percent? That’s peanuts! That won’t help us!
True. One percent is small. But do that ten times, and you have ten percent. Do I have your attention now?
That’s the whole point of this video. It asks you to shoot for one percent… and hopes you’ll end up at ten or twenty. It’s all about continuous improvement. Continuous measurement. Continuous time savings. Sure, that may mean new investments in manufacturing automation, but in the long run, time is money. You will save money if you save time. That is a virtual guarantee.
Discovering something helpful is very satisfying. Your world opens up a little wider, and new possibilities suddenly appear. The feeling is exhilarating. The logjam is broken, and suddenly there are new answers you never considered before.
That is what’s happening in this cute fictional cartoon.
But why can’t it happen to you too? In fact, it can… and probably has happened on multiple occasions. Let this be one of them. Discover the Standard Time® time tracking app. You might be a freelance consultant with just a few clients now. But you could own a complete consultancy with engineers and technicians working for you. It all starts with a discovery that changes your way of thinking.
Consultants are using this time tracking solution every day. Large organizations of consultants and engineers enter their time daily. Organizations run on ST. Yours could too.
The immigrants right off the boat are learning what to do in the new world — start a new business! And they’re learning which time tracker to use. Watch and find out.
Consulting is a lucrative and satisfying occupation. When you have the right software, it’s pretty easy to make money. Of course, you will need some talent and domain knowledge that clients want. But the software makes a big difference. Make sure you have the tools to collect billable and non-billable hours. That’s the basics. Just about every time tracking app in the world promises that. But they don’t all deliver in the ways you need it. Got a timesheet with totals and dashboards? How about task timers? Email notifications? Without these basics, you’ll be fighting to collect hours that mean anything to you or the client.
Now jump up beyond the basics. Take a look at project tracking, mileage and expense tracking, PTO accruals for the whole organization. Those are some heavy hitters you should consider.