Category Archives: Barcode scanner

Inventory Management with Scripting

Automate the shop floor by reordering inventory automatically using barcodes. Standard Time® is a time tracking app. Employees can start timers with barcode scans. But they can also add and subtract from inventory with barcodes too. Just scan an inventory item, and the quantity in stock is deducted. (scroll down for a video)

Wonderful! But what’s all this stuff about automatically reordering inventory?

It turns out that after the quantity in stock is deducted, the software can automatically reorder or replenish using special scripts. A script is kicked off when the quantity in stock drops below the reorder quantity. In other words, there a level at which an inventory item should be reordered. And when the quantity in stock drops below it, a script is run that can perform that reordering task.

How to reorder parts with scripts

There are a lot of ways a script could reorder parts. It could simply send an email to a buyer (which is still sort of a manual process). Or, it could automatically contact a website and perform the actual purchase without any human intervention. The script could be given access to an order website, complete with login credentials, and be authorized to make automated purchases. Other methods of automated purchases might include database scripts or inserting database records. All these are in the realm of possibility for automated scripts.

Scanning BOM’s reduces quantities for all inventory items on the list

Not only can you scan individual inventory items, you can also scan a Bill of Materials (BOM). And when you do, all the inventory items on the BOM list are deducted. A BOM may use large numbers of each inventory item. When the BOM is scanned, those large quantities are all subtracted from inventory. For instance, a BOM may use fifty screws. Scanning the BOM would reduce inventory for the screws by fifty, but by scanning once.

Reorder verses Replenish

Some inventory items are not reordered; they are built in your own manufacturing shop. You might refer to this as replenishing inventory rather than reordering. But the same principles hold true when running automated scripts for inventory. A script could create a new work order that requests a certain number of items be manufactured. The script is run when inventory falls below a certain level, the work order is automatically created and sent to the shop floor. Workers fulfill the work order quantity, and scan the new items back into stock.

Scanning new items back into stock

Inventory can also be added to stock, not just deducted from it. There are special barcodes, as shown in the video below that instruct the software to add items back into stock. Once your parts arrive at the receiving dock, or are manufactured on your own shop floor, they can be scanned back into stock using special “ADD” barcodes.

Watch the video and download a copy for yourself.

 

Shop Floor Work Order Status

Barcode scanners start at $20. Get a copy of Standard Time® and a twenty dollar barcode scanner, and you’ll immediately see the status of your jobs on the shop floor.

Right now, you’re probably yelling status across the shop floor, writing instructions on post-it notes, retyping hours into payroll, and only guessing how long your jobs take.

This little video may inspire you to try a better way. Watch the video, and then go here to give this a try.

Things You Get By Scanning Barcodes

Ever wonder what you could get from scanning barcodes on the shop floor? What are the advantages? Would it help your business? Is it worthwhile?

The video below shows sixteen things you get by scanning four barcodes. Here are the four barcodes you would scan to get these things:

  1. Employee name
  2. Task name
  3. Employee name again, after the task is finished
  4. The word STOP

Can I use any of the sixteen results of barcode scanning?

Those four barcodes will give you at least sixteen results. Can you use all sixteen? Maybe. Can you use one or two of the sixteen? Quite likely. Which ones? Watch the video a few times, and write them down. Now you’re on the right track.

So you’ve decided you can use a few of these. Good. But how much time and money will they save? Well, the next question you’ve got to ask yourself is this:

How much of your process is manual?

In other words, can you replace some of your manual processes with automated ones? For instance, could you replace manual handwritten communication with scans? Could you replace verbal communication with a shop floor status window? Could you replace manual payroll entry with exported time logs? Could you replace verbal work order tasks with barcoded tasks?

The list goes on.

If you’re like most manufacturing or engineering shops, you can likely replace a dozen manual processes with automated ones. So… grab a notepad and start writing. Write down the manual things you do now. Then write down the automated results from this video. Now connect the dots. Watch the video ten times if you have to. But make sure you identify all your manual operations.

Here’s the video. Good luck. 🙂

 

How to Upload Barcode Scans for Mfg

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.

Give it a try!

 

How Eversight Vision Uses Standard Time Barcoding

A customer testimony from Eversight Vision!

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.

 

Order Status with Single Barcode Scan

Follow the steps in the video below to collect order status throughout the manufacturing process.Once you do that, you can find the location of any order on the shop floor, and the employee who touched it last. (scroll down for video)

Here’s how it works.

Employees scan order numbers (just once) at each workstation on the stop floor. Those scans go into the Standard Time software in real-time. Managers can then type in an order number and know exactly where it is.

This all happens because each barcode scanner has a unique prefix programmed into it. (Consult your user’s guide) The prefixes contain several user-defined values that indicate where that scanner is located in the organization. You set which building, department, assembly line, workstation, or stage the scan originates from. When employees scan order numbers, all that information is available to you. You now know exactly where any order is.

This order status feature is not related to time tracking. You could also track time if you wanted to, but that is optional. You could simply track order status, as a minimal effort, and then later begin tracking time for each scan.

Barcoding in Manufacturing is Easy!

Barcoding is easy. Just slap a barcode or RFID on every box. If that box holds materials, you’re tracking what’s used in manufacturing. If that box holds a product, you’re tracking time spent manufacturing and developing it. Easy. Scroll down for the video below.

Barcodes and RFID tags let you collect these ten things:

  1. The time each employee spends on the factory floor or the warehouse
  2. The time each product takes to manufacture, package, and ship
  3. The time each task takes
  4. The time you spend on each kind of work
  5. How many items pass through your assembly line, building, department, or whole operation
  6. How many times you touch a single item
  7. The times of day you’re doing most of the work
  8. The materials you’re putting into products
  9. The expenses you’re incurring
  10. The percent complete each product is currently at

Wouldn’t you like to have that information? If so, watch this video and then go out to www.stdtime.com/barcode.htm.  You’ll find resources to help. To start, you’ll see the very basics of time tracking with RFID and barcode labels. Then, you’ll step up to more advanced techniques that let you collect time and materials, and use percent gauges to motivate employees to finish up jobs quickly.

 

Percent Complete While Scanning Tasks

Employees on the shop floor now have task status while scanning barcodes, telling them how far long their tasks are, and when they are expected to end.

This is huge!                                                                 (scroll down the to the video below)

This small “percent gauge” acts as a motivator to help employees move forward and finish up tasks. Each time you start a timer with a project task, you see a percent complete indicator that informs you of the status of your tasks. When it approaches 100% you know it’s time to clean up and move on to the next task. Lingering past 100% is a no-no.

But how else would you know, without this indicator.

 

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