Manufacturing Basics     #manufacturingsoftware

How can time tracking and barcode scanning help your manufacturing shop? Consider the basics below, and then click for a free trial.

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See Work In Progress

Put the Work In Progress screen up on a 75" monitor on the shop floor, and everyone will see the status of their jobs. The Work In Progress (WIP) screen is like an airport arrivals and departure screen. It's colorful and easy to read. You see each job next to the hours and percent complete. There are special colors for status.

Plus, the entire WIP screen is available on Android phones and tablets. On Android, you get notifications when employee timers are not running, or have run too long. And you get notified when projects take too long.


Find out how long things take

Sometimes it's not always obvious. You think you know how long jobs take, but you may be shocked to see the real numbers. Put a barcode scanner in the hands of each operator on the shop floor, and you will get exact numbers. Or, mount RFID's on boxes or carriers. A timer will start when scanned. Now you have actual start and stop times, and you know which employee did the work.


Find out how much things cost

Cost is closely tied to time. But then each employee likely has different skills, salaries and benefits. Plus, each employees uses different materials and tools. So cost is a function of time and resources. When you track these items with bacode scans, you get actual costs that you could only guess at before.


See if you have time for new projects

How do you know if you have time for new projects and new ideas? Educated guesses? Yeah, that works. But seeing out into the future also works. And that's only possible with instrumentation. You need tools like project task lists, resource allocation, and link dependencies. Project management plays a big part in planning. You get a lot more than time tracking. You get the back-end planning tools too.


See if you can hire new employees

Hiring is a function of expanding business and efficient execution. Got them both? You'll know by looking back in your project logs. Look for increasing jobs counts and decreasing execution times. But without such instrumentation, you may not have ready answers.


Find out why your shop is slow

Is it taking longer to complete work orders and customer jobs than you expected. Why? Well, that's the big question. Questions like that come up when there is little or no time accounting. Maybe employees are filling out some sort of timesheet, without exact start and stop times, your data may be insufficient to answer that kind of question. That is why barcode scanners are so good. They are precise and easy to use. You get exact hours that tell you why things are slow. And after pinpointing the slow areas, you can fix them.


Get project completion estimates

You probably have a basic idea how long a project or customer job should take. Enter that into the software. Now scan actual times with RFID or barcodes. After a few of these projects your estimates improve. And you can easily tell when a job will end.


Improve efficiency

It all comes down to seeing the problem. With good instrumentation, you get good data. With good data, you can make good judgements. Just like a microscope that allows you to see the exact subject matter, project management tools let you see the inefficiencies and help improve them.



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Also see: Shop Floor Management, Learn how to set up the shop floor for barcode scanning




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