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.
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
Question: How do you organize and report on manufacturing projects? That is to say, what criteria groups projects into working buckets? Do you put them into portfolios so you can see which portfolio performs best? Or set the status of projects to report on stages or phases? How about assign them to assembly lines to see slots where new projects can go? Those are all techniques described in the video below. Plus, there are a few more.
Did you know you can try these project organization techniques today? Download a copy of Standard Time® and try them for free. You might become inspired to learn more about your own projects and find that organizing them simplifies the monolithic list you have now.