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.
Learn how to start a timer with an RFID tag reader. (scroll down for the video) You can buy a starter kit for about $30 that contains an RFID reader and some cards and tags. That’s all you need to track time with RFID. Check amazon.
Already got RFID readers installed?
Now that everything is in place, you can start and stop a timer in Standard Time® using with just a simple RFID scan. Wave a proximity card in front of the RFID scanner and a timer starts. Wave it again, and the timer stops. Now you’ve got some serious time tracking data to work with.
Every RFID scan in Standard Time includes the following information. Of course the end user doesn’t realize or care that all this is automatically collected. They just wave their card and go on. But you can use this intel to improve manufacturing, assembly lines, or just for employee time and attendance.
What is collected in every RFID tag scan:
Employee name, and the workgroup they are in
Timestamps for start and stop times, including the actual hours between those timestamps
Project the employee is working on
Task the employee is working on
Client the project is assigned to
Billing rates assigned to the employee
Client cost for the full duration between scans
Salary cost for the full duration
Seriously? All that is collected in one scan? Yup. Pretty powerful.
What you can report on with RFID scans:
Total employee hours for a given date range, like last week or last month
Total project hours for all the projects in your organization
Manufacturers: Use a mag card reader to start and stop a timer. Consider swiping cards to start and stop a timer for manufacturing purposes. Swipe once to start the timer, and swipe again to stop. The video below describes how.
This technique allows you to associate any employee badge or card to a Standard Time® username. Swipe once to start a timer for the associated user. A selected project and task will start. The timer will run until you swipe again.
Manufacturing and assembly shops can collect information like total product build times, total employee hours, packaging time, and shipping. Find out how much time you spend on each kind of work, and improve each one by a small percentage.
Reward yourself, Sparky! Get an app that tells you your average job length, your effective billing rate, plus invoices clients. Plus has project proposals. Plus has timesheets for every employee.
Don’t let this shock you, but if you’re running an electrical contracting business, you need this information. This is how you trim costs and keep rates competitive. It’s not by watching all the other contractors in the biz; it’s by watching your own biz. How much are jobs costing you? How much are you bringing in? What effective billing rate are you making? What percentage are your electricians utilized, verses being paid?
The only real way to make sure you’re staying true to sales and marketing priorities is to track the time you spend with clients. Without a time tracker you’re only guessing. Here’s what happens: (scroll down for video)
You take the time to identify sales and marketing priorities. Good. You identify top clients. Excellent. And you set strategic products and services that benefit your organization. Wonderfully done. Great sales and marketing plan!
Now how are you tracking actual results against those priorities and strategies?
That’s where most sales and marketing professionals stop.
Truth is, they just don’t want the hassle of extra admin time to track their hours. So they really never know if their staying true to the plan, or wandering into secondary areas they explicitly hoped to stay out of. Track your client hours, and you’ll have the information to compare against your strategic plans.
My job is to maintain a computer network. Sometimes I get so frustrated with people breaking everything! But I love it and the network runs smoothly because I’m a rock star!
If it weren’t for me, and guys like me, there would be no network, except in research labs. We’re the guys that connect your servers to the web, connect your workstations to the servers, and install all your crazy apps. We make it happen.
And keep it all running.
We track our hours with Standard Time®. That’s where your client invoices come from. Those line items were tracked on an iPhone, sync’d with the cloud, verified on a desktop, and printed from the Web. I hooked all that up in an hour, and started tracking my time for you. ST has to be one of the best and easiest to use. Ask me about it some time. Maybe you can use it too.
How do you remember all that? You can’t, because you can’t even remember what you ate last night for dinner.
That’s what a web developer’s time tracking app is for. Not only are you collecting enough information to bill your clients, you’re also collecting the various kinds of work you do. You’re documenting your work, which effectively creates a status report. Now your boss knows what you’re doing all night with your office light burning, and zillion red and blue LED’s glowing against dark office hallways. Pulling an all-nighter is the perfect reason for a good time tracking app. At least you’ll remember some of it the next afternoon when you wake up.
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.