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.
Use your “stuff” the best way possible in manufacturing. Haha, that’s one way to put it! This is just a quickie video to help introduce and explain resource allocation. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, this little video might help. And, it’s always worth hearing another perspective if you’re an “old salt” in the project management industry.
Manufacturing resource planners, like Standard Time® make light work of this kind of project management. And, they’re not bad at collecting actuals from the factory floor. E.g. actuals like time, materials, inventory usage, machine hours, and tool usage. Consider taking a look.
Assembly line managers can see which projects are running on each line. Use this lite MRP/ERP tool to slot projects on assembly lines. Once slotted, you’ll see their resource time commitments in a bar chart. Now you can find slots of new projects.
Watch the video below!
Every manufacturing project has resource and time commitments. Manufacturing projects on assembly lines are no different, except that you are committing those resources to a single line. That’s actually a good thing because you can now see which projects run on each line, and find empty time slots for the next project.
Bar charts help visualize time commitments, and make slotting new projects on manufacturing assembly lines much faster.
Have you tried Standard Time? Find the link on this page and download a copy. It’s free to try.
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!
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.
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.
Use the technique in this video to know when your human and material resources are available for use. Actually, the video shows a bar graph of resource requirements for your projects. In other words… headcount. (how many employees you need for all your jobs)
Watch the vid, and then scroll down for more.
Resource requirements bar chart
In the video, you see a bar chart with numbers above each bar. They represent employees required to perform your jobs.
You also see tasks being dragged around. That area is known as a Gantt chart. Actually, it’s an interactive Gantt chart, because you can browse over it, and click and drag.
That’s just a fancy term for employee planning. But project managers use the term “resource” because you may be planning more than just employees. You might be planning when to use trucks… or heavy equipment… or specialized tools. You can’t call those employees, so you need a generic term. That’s where the word “resource” comes from.
Again… another fancy term that just means telling your employees what to do. Setting out a basic set of tasks for each job means you can assign them to people, and then see how many people are required for all your jobs. That’s what this resource requirements bar chart is all about. You can look out into the future and see how many people you need for all your jobs and tasks.
Why is this valuable to you?
Because your projects may get so numerous that you forget a few. Forgetting a project is not a big deal unless you book a few others in their place. Now you’re double-booking, and when it comes time to do the forgotten ones (that you now remember) the new ones are taking the same time slot. Oops!
A tool like this helps you to remember when you scheduled your jobs.
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.