Manufacturers – let us familiarize you with barcodes. They have many advantages but let me mention three. Watch the video then scroll down for an overview.
The three biggest advantages of using barcodes on the shop floor are:
Employees without computers can still collect their hours. Sure, a little tablet is still considered a computer, but you can throw away the keyboard and mouse. The only input device you need is a barcode scanner. That means employees are not fat-finger faking their hours. They scan their jobs and time is collected for them.
You want accurate times for all your manufacturing tasks. How can you get them? It will never happen with a keyboard. There are too many ways to cheat and mess up.
With just a few scans you collect a huge amount of data. Try that with a typical timekeeping software product. It won’t happen. Barcodes are the only way to grab all that data with so little employee effort.
Give barcode scanning a try. It may completely change your thinking.
I’m a manufacturing project manager and I need to schedule jobs for production! Can I get them slotted quickly? How about tracking their time with barcodes on the shop floor.
Yep, there’s an app for that. (scroll down for a video)
It’s called Standard Time®. And it’s a registered trademark because it’s been around for nearly two decades. That’s a while. It means you have tools that have grown organically from many other customers. They have proven this app in so many settings you’re likely to find it slick as easy as they do.
Start by slotting jobs for production, and then take input from the shop floor with barcode scanners. You’ve got project management and time tracking seamlessly connected. Give it a try today!
This video shows how to set up barcode scanning for manufacturing on the shop floor. (scroll down for video)
It is so easy to begin tracking time for employees on the shop floor. Just slap a barcode scanner in their hands and ask them to scan their work orders and tasks. Now that is a hundred and ten percent easier than filling out paper timesheets and yelling job status across the floor. Just scan and go.
Wait… what do employees scan?
Try scanning in this order:
Scan your employee badge
Scan the work order
Scan the task you’re working on
That’s it! A timer will start, and you can begin your work. When you finish your task, scan these things:
Scan your employee badge again
Scan the word STOP
No the timer stops. You have just communicated the following things to your boss:
When you started work
How long you worked
What job you worked on
What task you worked on
What client the work was for
What department the work was done in
What phase of the job was worked on
How many times the job was touched
How many tasks it took for the job
The total hours accumulated on the job
The percentage of completion for the job
When the job is likely to be done
And about a dozen other things you don’t readily think of
See how valuable this is? Just a few scans communicate a huge amount of information. Watch the video and give it a try.
Standard Time® is not just for time tracking and project management. It’s also for tool control and accountability on the shop floor. Watch this video below for steps to scan barcodes to check tools out. Scroll way down…
Three scans will check a tool out, and assign it to an operator.
Scan username (to tell which user is checking the tool out)
Scan tool name (to tell which tool is being checked out)
Scan CHECKOUT (to perform the operation)
Those three scans assign a tool to an operator on the shop floor. Now the tool is under their care, and is assumed to be returned in the same state it was taken. This is the basics of tool accountability for manufacturing and factory floor use.
Here’s how to check a tool back in:
Scan tool name (this shows the date/time you originally checked the tool out)
After checking a tool back in, the actual hours between CHECKOUT and CHECKIN are added to the total. Now you know the total number of hours the tool was in use (approx). You can use this for PM purposes.
This video illustrates the process of creating expense records whenever inventory items are scanned on the shop floor. (scroll down for video)
So what, you ask…
So, that mean you have a record of every item you ever scanned. Actually, every item that every employee has ever scanned.
Think about that…
That means you are not only managing inventory effectively, but you are also collecting huge amounts of data you can use to your advantage. You are deducting inventory items from stock, which means you can reorder and replenish at appropriate times. Of course that’s good. But having a record of every scan is huge. Absolutely huge. Think of what you could do with that.
You might not know exactly what it costs you to build bepoke and custom products. Now you do.
You might not know what materials employees are using. Now you do.
You might not know the percentage of labor verses materials that go into manufactured good. Now you do.
Most bespoke and custom manufacturing shops start with work orders. Every job has one, or it has some unique title that designates and identifies it on the shop floor. This video describes how you can collect data for those work orders or unique identifiers.
scroll down for the video
A simple barcode scanner is all you need to collect interesting data.
But what can you collect? Here are some possibilities, but the list is endless, and depends upon what you want to collect. Just about anything is possible.
Time stamps for when jobs start and stop
Employees who work on jobs
The actual work order number for each time segment
The client the job is for
A department where the work was performed
A percentage of completion
Inventory and expense usage
Bill of material usage
Here is an infographic that shows 16 things you can collect with 4 barcodes:
As it turns out, Standard Time® is not just for project and time tracking. You can scan expenses on the manufacturing floor, which deduct items from inventory. (see video below) Here’s how it works:
First, set up an expense template that represents something you use a lot. That template has all the predefined fields for cost categorization. It also has a link to an inventory item that is deducted when the expense template is scanned on the factory floor.
Now scan that expense template name. Two things happen:
A new expense item is added to the list in Standard Time
The inventory item (for that expense) is deducted
You now can easily track expenses incurred and inventory along with time.
How are you billing clients for the work orders that pass over your manufacturing floor? In most low-performing companies, it’s a loose informal process. They sort-of know how much time was devoted to each work order, and billing occurs on the sparse information at hand. Maybe that’s a good guess, or maybe the operators on the floor are writing down (most) of their time, or maybe it’s just a flat fee agreed upon earlier. (Check out this YouTube video below.)
That’s the low-performers. How about you?
That’s not you. You are using Standard Time® and pulling actual time records off the shop floor using barcodes. You’re getting exact time and materials. Each time segment is timestamped four times, and contains the employee, job, and task. Each inventory item is also scanned and deducted from inventory, and included on the client invoice. Your invoices are about as precise as they can be. That means you are collecting all the revenue due you.
Serious… it all starts with a simple barcode scanner. Once you start scanning work orders on the shop floor everything changes. Your whole outlook on client billing changes. Your processes change. Your inventory and ordering changes. The progression from low-performer to high is natural and simple.
Get a barcode scanner and change how you bill clients from the shop floor.
Everyone knows that Standard Time® is a time tracking app. But did you also know that it tracks inventory and bill of materials?
It does! (see the video below)
And it does it with barcode scanners. You’re probably familiar with the barcode time tracking capabilities. You scan usernames, projects, and tasks. A timer starts, and you track manufacturing hours. Easy. But you can do the same thing with barcode labels and inventory items.
Create a label for the inventory SKU. Scan that label, and the inventory item is automatically deducted from stock. You can also scan the manufacturer’s SKU or the vendor SKU. Any of those will work the same. And when the quantity in stock is reduced below a preset value, the parts can automatically be reordered using scripts.
Scanning BOM’s are similar. In that case, the BOM lists all the inventory items for an assembly. When you scan the BOM label (or SKU) all the inventory items on that BOM are reduced from stock. And again, any inventory item that falls below the “reorder quantity” is automatically reordered using a script.
You may be wondering about reorder scripts. Those are special user-programmable scripts that send emails or contact websites for reordering inventory. You must program these reorder scripts yourself, which often involves the IT department.
Even the simplest manufacturing shops can be automated with a few simple additions. Those additions start with these items:
Barcode labels on everything
Tablets on the shop floor
Standard Time® time tracking software
If you slap barcode labels on everything, then you can scan them everywhere. Scan raw materials to subtract from inventory. Scan bill of materials when kitting parts. Scan products as they begin the build process. Scan them again as they pass each stage of improvement. And finally, scan them as they are boxed and shipped. Now you have just collected a huge amount of information without expending any extra human effort.
Congratulations! You have just automated your manufacturing shop!
Here’s what you can now expect:
Know when and where your work orders were started
Know who worked on them last
Know how much time has been spent so far
Know how long entire jobs take
Know where the bottlenecks occur
Know what waste to cut
Seriously? I get all that from a few barcodes? Yup!