What tool do you use to schedule jobs for assembly lines? A spreadsheet? Verbal communication with line managers? Or just big arguments centering around first-come-first-served job scheduling?
Most companies use a combination of all these.
But there is a tool. Watch this video, then scroll down below for a brief discussion and download link.
The tool described above is named Standard Time®. It slots jobs on assembly lines, and then takes input using barcode scanners. Now you can compare project estimates with actuals.
Projects are displayed on a Gantt chart. Each one can have unlimited tasks and subtasks assigned to workgroups or users. This lets you see manpower charts for headcount and scheduling charts for assembly lines. Both human and non-human resources are handled by ST.
You can give ST a try at the link below. It’s free to try, plus we’ll set up a GoToMeeting to walk you through the process.
How many employees do you need for your projects in the next six months? Or even the next month? You probably have a good idea already. It’s about the same as last month, right… because you have the same number of jobs as you always did.
Or do you? Are you sure?
If not, you may need a manpower capacity chart. That’s the topic of the video below. It’s free to watch, and might inspire you to change the way you compute future manpower needs.
Every month, your manpower needs change based on the projects and tasks assigned to employees. Slot more jobs, and employee staffing increases accordingly. Experience a slowdown, and manpower requirements decrease. There is a direct relationship between jobs and people. That’s well understood.
But what’s not so understood is how to shift jobs around to even out the workflow. You don’t want to over-allocate employees one month and then leave them sitting on the next. Best to shift jobs and tasks around until the workload is level. Or, as level as you can make it.
That’s where a chart like this has value. You can perform what-if scenarios until things normalize.
Have you tried the Resource Requirements chart? If not, give it a try!
Did you know that your Gantt chart contains all the information for a revenue bar chart. You can look out into the future and see potential revenue for your projects. The video below describes one possible way.
You may be thinking of your Gantt chart as purely graphical, with dates and durations and user assignments. But behind those Gantt chart tasks is all the information for also viewing project revenue. And dragging tasks around on the Gantt chart is actually affecting your future cash flow. You are effectively telling your MRP/ERP when you’ll perform the tasks, which affects when client billing and cash flow occurs.
Manufacturers – know your future revenue with Standard Time® software. You already trust it for project planning and shop floor actuals. Why not get a little extra from it, like estimated project revenue of the coming months?
This is actually a really interesting idea! You have to plan manufacturing projects. You have tasks and employees tracking to them. You have work orders and WIP monitoring. That’s what manufacturing resource planners do. But while you’re at it, why not get a nice bar chart showing future project revenue?
Turns out, that project revenue bar chart is like a sales funnel. It can show revenue from projects that are won, lost, or in progress. Find out how much revenue you lost from certain sales techniques. Or won from other competing techniques. Find out how one project portfolio compares with another. See the revenue from each client, or all clients.
Got what you need? Print a copy for the sales meeting. What a nice little freebie from your manufacturing resource planner, Standard Time!
Have you ever seen a Gantt chart with a resource requirements bar chart? In other words, a bar chart that updates as you drag task bars on the Gantt timeline. I know… that takes some time to mentally process. Watch the video below, and then scroll down from more discussion.
Image dragging task bars on your Gantt chart, and watching a resource requirements bar chart update as you do. That’s essentially what is being described here.
It’s one thing to see a nice timeline with task bars (that’s a Gantt chart), and it’s also one nice thing to see a bar chart with resource requirements for each week, but combining the two is really helpful. When you drag task bars on the timeline, you see what impact that had on resource requirements.
How many engineers do you need on week 34? How many forklifts in July verses August? How many assemblers on line 12 in November before the holiday rush? These are questions answered by a resource requirements chart.
Slotting projects on a timeline is also necessary. But you can’t do that without making sure you’ve got the manpower and materials. So, you need resource allocation. The two work hand-in-hand.
Standard Time® is a minimalist MRP with these exact capabilities. You can try these ideas for free. If you’re new to Gantt charts or resource allocation, this is the perfect place to learn. Click here: www.stdtime.com/manufacturing
The video below shows a quick overview of task link dependencies. In other words, one task is dependent upon another. When the first task is completed, the next one can start. What the video, then scroll down below it for more information.
There are four types of link relationships in this video:
As the names suggest, these link relationships are associated with task dates. Start and Finish dates affect other tasks. When a predecessor date changes, a successor task will be moved to reflect the link relationship.
Need up-to-the-minute status on all your projects, jobs, and work orders? What if you had a screen like those airport departure and arrival screens that showed your jobs?
That would be cool!
Well, here it is. This screen updates every 15 seconds, and displays the current status of all your jobs that have activity in the last thirty days. You see who performed the work, when it was performed, and the current status of each job.
Let’s say you’ve got a crew out in the field with Android’s. They are syncing time and materials used on the job. Those synchronizations could occur any time. So, this screen updates constantly, every fifteen seconds to show the latest status.
Or, let’s say you have a shop floor with barcode scanners and RFID. Workers are constantly scanning and entering time and materials used on the shop floor. This airport screen shows the status of every work order on the shop floor.
Or, let’s say you have an engineering shop with engineers entering hours against projects. Want the latest status? You get the idea. This screen does it.
Take a look at the video and let us know what you think!
Here’s a persistent problem project managers face: Their project schedules are obsolete within a week of completion. So what is your solution to that?
(scroll down for a video solution)
One solution is to get input from the boots on the ground. Get the actual employees doing the work to enter the tasks they are working on, and updating estimates. If you combine that with getting time and material “actuals” from employee timesheets, you have just about everything you need to fix this issue.
Getting input from the boots on the ground
Employees may not know the full strategic direction your project is going in, but they do know the tactical maneuvers to get things done. So let them have that input into your schedule. Let employees input their project tasks and update estimates based on their understanding of the conditions on the ground. That may be entirely different than your 30,000 foot birds-eye view.
Both perspectives help.
The video below shows how to sync project tasks with your timesheet, which lets employees on the ground have their input. Give it a watch, and let us know what you think!
Do you want the actual end-users of your MS Project plans to have input?
After all, what’s a project plan without input and adjustments from the boots on the ground? It’s static and lifeless. The project manager creates the plan, and minutes later it’s out of date. Why? Because the project manager doesn’t know the actual conditions on the ground. Only the actual employees know that. So you need their input.
This video describes getting input in the form of materials and costs that are synchronized with MS Project. Get a look below!
Information collected in your timesheet can double the value you get from it. Especially if you are only using the basics of client billing or employee payroll. Those things are great, but they are only half what you can get.
Check this video out.
Lingering behind your timesheet is a wealth of new information. It’s behind the “Project Tasks” tab. Your timesheet is feeding information to project tasks every time you enter hours or start a timer. And the information that is collected is completely free.
That is to say… completely free of managing computations like costs, percent complete, and budgets. For example: as soon as you receive an email notification that your project has reached 90% of its budget, you’ll understand “free.” You didn’t have to do anything to get that; it just happened for free.