Manufacturing Shop Floor Automation with Alexa

Alexa can be used on the manufacturing shop floor to control devices with barcodes. Want to see how?  scroll down to the video below

First off, DO NOT use Alexa to turn on harmful devices like saws or presses. Bad idea!

Here’s how to control things on the shop floor with Alexa:

  1. Set up Wi-Fi enabled plugs with names you recognize
  2. Create prerecorded messages saying “Alexa, turn on XYZ”
  3. Save those audio messages to your hard drive
  4. Connect a barcode to an audio message in Standard Time®
  5. Scan the barcode associated with a message
  6. The prerecorded message will play on your computer speaker
  7. Alexa will hear the message and do her thing
  8. Watch the video, then scroll down for more detail

The genius behind this is method of shop floor automation is prerecorded messages. You can create as many as you like. Each one tells Alexa to do something. Record them with the Windows Voice Recorder app. Save the files to your hard drive. (Beware that you’ll likely need to convert these goofy Windows audio files to MP3. The Voice Recorder is too goofy and backwards to support that, so consider using another recording app instead.)

Now that you have sound files in MP3 format, you can play them with Standard Time® scripts.

What’s Standard Time?

Standard Time (Or, ST for short) is a manufacturing shop floor time tracker. Employees track their time and materials with it. Google it, and you’ll see.

ST plays MP3 files by use of scripts. Scripts have names, which you can scan as barcode labels. So, create a script that plays a sound, then create a barcode label with that script name. Scan the label to call the script. Magically, your Alexa commands will come out the speaker and she will do what you want.

Yeah, I know… it sounds a little sketchy. Contact the support folks at Scoutwest for some help. It’s really not hard, but there are some details you can mess up. The support folks will have you up and running quickly.

Yeah… but… why not just skip the barcode thing and yell commands at Alexa? Two reasons… 1. Your operators may not know the commands, and will need training and retraining. Computers don’t. They never forget. 2. Your Alexa commands may be so numerous that operators forget them all. See reason #1. So… it’s just better to let the computer handle all communication with Alexa.

Go ahead and download Standard Time if you haven’t already. Good luck!

Learn Barcode Time Tracking Here!

Standard Time® develops barcode time tracking software. And we’ll teach you how to include barcodes on your shop floor. You can track employee hours, work order status, inventory and materials — all with barcodes. The video below is a nice inspiration to give this a try. Start by downloading Standard Time and connecting a USB barcode scanner to your computer. We’ll help you with the rest.

Barcode Your Assembly Line

Adding barcodes to your assembly line can tell you where each job is being run. How? By scanning those barcodes when each job is run. In fact, you can collect a lot more information from barcodes. Scroll down below the video for some thoughts.

Assume you use three barcode labels to start each job.

  1. Employee name
  2. Work order
  3. Assembly line

You can derive the following information from just those three labels:

  1. Where the job is at right now
  2. If the job is running, or has ended
  3. How ran the job
  4. When the job started
  5. The estimated time elapsed and remaining
  6. What department has the job
  7. What assembly line is running the job
  8. Capacity usage information about the assembly line
  9. Work In Progress details

That’s a lot of information just from three scans. The product to try is called Standard Time®. You can download and give it a try today!

Track Manufacturing Hours Anywhere

Using our barcoding software makes tracking manufacturing hours easy. How does it work? With barcode scanners.

This software is intended for employees who don’t use computers.

Simply pass barcode labels under a scanner, and the walk away. You’re now tracking time for manufacturing jobs and work orders. Watch the video below for inspiration, and then download Standard Time® and try it yourself.

Barcode Scanner on a Stand for Manufacturing

Scanning barcodes on the shop floor can definitely make tracking manufacturing jobs easy, but placing your barcode scanner on a stand makes it even easier.

Watch the video below, then scroll down.


Yeah, a barcode scanner stand can really make scanning slick. Just pass the barcode label under the scanner and it is automatically scanned. You don’t even have to press the button.

You can try this in Standard Time® today. That is, if you have a scanner. If not, consider picking up an inexpensive scanner like the one shown in this video. Amazon has them for less than $40 USD.

Download from and give it a try.

Track Manufacturing Machine Runtime Hours

Have you ever wondered (or needed to know) how many hours are spend running each machine in your manufacturing shop? Turns out, there’s a simple and inexpensive way to find out. It’s called Standard Time®.

Scroll down below the video for more…

How can know how many hours are logged to each machine in your manufacturing shop? Track the hours with barcodes. Scan barcodes taped to each machine and you’ll find out.

Actually, you’ll find out a whole lot more. Standard Time is an employee time tracking app that uses barcodes. Employees start and stop timers just by scanning. Part of that process could include machines. Those scans will come ripping into your ST dashboards in real-time. You can cut up the data any way you like.

Maybe you want to see just how much time each employee spends at a machine. Or, which jobs ran on which machines. Or, what the average usage per day is. Or month. Any of those scenarios are possible with barcode scanning in Standard Time. Give it a try today!

Don’t know where to get Standard Time? Try Googling us! Or, just go to We’re always here. 🙂

Track Time For Machines on the Shop Floor

Everybody knows about employee time tracking. But what about tracking machine time? I.e. the hours machines are being operated. Hmm, that’s a different thought. (scroll down for the video for inspiration)

Actually, tracking machine time is not an original thought. Just like airplanes, there are hour meters attached to machines. Turn them on, and the meter ticks away. So that’s nothing new.

What’s new is that you can now associate employees, work orders, and tasks to those hours. You can use Standard Time® to know which employee used that machine. Which work order were run on that machine. Which tasks were performed. That’s manufacturing traceability. You can now trace work order activity down to the machines it was produced on. That’s some cool magic. That’s Standard Time®.


Shop Floor Barcoding with RCA Cambio Tablet

Review of RCA® Cambio®  (scroll down to video)

This is a nice little tablet for manufacturing time tracking. The Cambio® is inexpensive and simple. It runs Windows 10 Home, so you may need to upgrade it to connect to your domain. But it will connect directly to your network with Wi-Fi. You can run Standard Time® BC for barcode scanning. The Cambio is not powerful enough for daily Facebook but it’s great for barcoding on the shop floor, which is what this video describes. I.e. manufacturing time tracking.

In the video, the Cambio® is shown connected to a barcode scanner through a USB hub. That allows a mouse to connect as well (all peripherals sold separately).

Since the tablet connects to your network through USB, it can talk directly to your corporate database. In the example in the video, a program named “BC” is used for scanning, and it talks directly to SQL on a server.

The screen is detachable, and a virtual keyboard may be used in Windows 10. That allows the tablet to be bolted to the wall and not handled to prevent breakage. In a setup like that, the tablet should last indefinitely even in the harshest manufacturing environments.

Consider downloading Standard Time® for your manufacturing time tracking.

Assembly line barcode time tracking

Using barcodes on the assembly line is an easy way to track employee time. How do they work? Simple… just scan a special barcode label with an employee name on it. Then scan another label with the job and task.

Bleep, bloop. A timer starts!

Now you are tracking time on the assembly line! The information is immediately displayed on a WIP screen for all employees to see. Look up and see which jobs are in progress now.

Bleep, bloop. You’re suddenly a genius and a hero!

Get Standard Time® and be a genius and a hero.  🙂

WIP on a Big Screen Dashboard

Put a big screen like this on your shop floor! You could display the status of every job in the universe.

But… do you really need all the jobs in the universe?

Maybe not. Maybe just all the jobs your employees are currently working on. Yeah, just that would work. Just seeing the work order that are currently in progress… their current hours… the most recent tasks and departments… and a percent complete. Yeah… that’ll do it!