How do you get fat-finger entries in your timesheets? By not using barcode scanners!
And fake entries. And useless information that consumes valuable human effort to obtain. That all comes from traditional keyboard and mouse, on traditional workstations with timesheet software. Or even on paper timesheets.
In fact, those paper timesheets are the worst. Employees fill them out on Friday, but can’t remember what they worked on yesterday. Why would you use them? Because your employees can figure them out pretty easily. Okay, that makes sense. But there are other ways to collect time on the shop floor.
It turns out, there’s a much faster way to collect employee time on the shop floor. With barcode scanners. Watch this video, then give it a try yourself.
Manufacturing engineers need to know the number of items produced on their assembly lines. They also will know the time spent by employees to produce those items.
So… how do you get that? (watch this video, then scroll down for more)
You get that information with barcodes.
You put a barcode scanner in the hands of every employee, put a tablet on the bench, and have them scan the quantity of items produced when they “clock in” on jobs. Now you have both the time they worked and the number of items produced on the shop floor.
You can now compute:
The time it took to produce each item
The total items produced on a shift
The total items produced for a client
The total items produced per month, or for all time
You also know:
Which employee statistically produces the most
Which jobs are most efficient
Which assembly lines or production techniques are the most efficient
Which steps produce the most product in the shortest amount of time
Try this on the production line: scan your quantities for a month. Make one small change in the technique. Scan for another month and compare. Which production technique is most effective? Keep repeating this, each time looking at the average time per item. When that number goes down, you know you have landed upon an improvement worth keeping.
That is how you shave off 1% manufacturing time. And that is how 1% becomes 10% over time.
Standard Time® is how it is done on the shop floor.
“I can’t use a computer with a welder in my hands!” Does this sound familiar? Here’s a solution: Use barcodes to track time instead of asking your employees to enter time.
Scanning barcodes is a hundred times more accurate than typing hours into a computer or even entering them into paper timesheets.
Watch this short teaser, then scroll down and follow this line of reasoning.
Employees who attempt to enter hours on either paper or computer timesheets can make a lot of mistakes. First off, you can’t remember what you did earlier in the day, let alone earlier in the week. It sounds nice to collect hours on timesheets, but it just isn’t accurate. You’re getting fake data and you don’t even realize it.
Why not use barcode time tracking instead?
Scan barcodes when you start and stop jobs. The actual time will automatically be entered into employee timesheets. Every sliver of project time adds up. Employees don’t need to know how to use computers. There’s no mouse or keyboard. You simply scan to start, and scan to stop. What could be simpler than that? Now you’re getting real employee time, not fake time.
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.
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.
Ahh, vacation! Get away, enjoy; let our mfg software help run your shop.
When you use Standard Time® your shop runs like a sewing machine. Projects are slotted for production, operators are assigned, and actual hours collected on the shop floor with barcodes. Come back from vacation to find new work orders filled up with actual time and materials from the shop floor.
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!
Here’s a scenario that occurs every day in manufacturing job shops: A customer calls wanting to know the status of their job. You take the call but have only the slightest idea where their job is. Somebody scheduled it for production but you’re not sure when, and you’re not sure how far along it is. You don’t know the phase it’s in, so you can’t quite predict a completion date, which you know the customer is going to ask next.
Watch this little teaser video, then scroll down for more discussion.
What if you could look up on the big-screen on the shop floor wall and see the status. Or see it right on your PC. Wouldn’t that be cool?
But how would that work?
It works because employees on the shop floor are scanning tasks as they complete them. They scan the job and task, which tell you what stage the job is in at any given time. Dozens of jobs are in progress simultaneously, so this gives status to every one of them. What stage is it in? What percentage complete? How many hours have been completed so far? Which employee worked on it last? What department is it in? And what is the likely completion date?
This is “Work In Progress.” And it is available on a big TV screen on your shop floor. Now everybody knows the status of over job, from sales to project managers to supervisors to shop floor operators.
Ever wonder what things you can scan during the manufacturing process? Here’s a quickie video for you. It’s not a tutorial on barcode scanning, just a survey of things you can scan. Scroll down below the video for a list.
Things you can scan on the shop floor:
Task status and completion flag
Unique items for your business
Got another thing you want to scan in your mfg shop? Have you tried the “Required Scans” option? That let’s you craft a custom scan to collect unique values for your manufacturing KPI’s and status. Scripts are another possibility to extend the built-in scanning capabilities of Standard Time. Just scan a script name and let it perform and database, email or web interaction you need. You will need IT support for script writing. They can be complex, but they are also very flexible and wide in their scope. You can do just about anything in scripts.
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.