Timesheet & Project Management Blog

The goal of this blog is to provide tips and ideas for improving time tracking and project managment for our customers and other interested people.

Excel Add-in for Timesheets


This is an overview of the Excel add-in for Standard Time® named XLST. XLST allows you to pull in timesheet data from Standard Time and put it into a spreadsheet of your design using formulas. You might do that for executive overviews, special reports, financial spreadsheets, payroll. Anytime you need timesheet data in formulas in a spreadsheet. You will have access to the actual work, costs, expenses, time-off, projects; all sorts of other information from Standard Time. Let’s go ahead and take a look at how it works.

Over here in Excel you see a spreadsheet that has a lot of numbers and a lot of sheets at the bottom. This is a test spreadsheet for the Standard Time® add-in called “XLST.” You can tell you have XLST installed when you see a menu item here and you can go over and click on the Standard Time icon and connect to the Standard Time data base.

When you do you’re able to then use formulas to pull data in from Standard Time. Back in Standard Time you have the timesheet, all of the entries that employees have made, project tasks, expenses, invoices, time-off that employees have taken; you’re able to pull all of that information over into Excel into cells. Again you’re using formulas to do that. All of these shaded cells that you see here in all of these tabs in the other sheets are using formulas.

When I click on one of these you can see one of these formulas; XLST actual work and then there’s some parameters for that. When you click the function icon here it will come up and show you the parameters you can enter for this function. Again, this is the XLST actual work. There’s many functions as you’ll see later. A little description down here and then as we scroll through the list we can see all of the parameters that this function takes.

Many of those are optional and this particular function will pull in actual work from the timesheet. You can go through each of these tabs, these sheets, and you’ll see all the different functions that XLST offers. You can see actual work here, scheduled hours, exceeding daily schedule, you’ve got salary costs, client costs, expenses, time off, project tasks, pay period approvals, rates, projects; lots of information that you’re going see this.

And again each one of these is going to take parameters. Let’s take a look at how to enter a new formula in an empty cell. Simply click in any empty cell, click the function icon, you can then choose from the category of the type of formula you want to put in; you’re probably used to doing this. You’ll see XLST show up here at the bottom and then you’ll see lots of functions that you can choose from. The one we were looking at was XLST actual work. So let’s choose that, click OK. We have to give it an employee so you can click a cell here to choose that. And then a starting date would be the beginning of the date range, the ending date would be the end of the date range; I happened to be using days here.

Then you see the result instantly in this dialog box which is 6.91 and then that lines up with what we saw here in this cell. Click OK and now you have the same value down here in an empty cell that we saw in one of the test cells here.

This is how you’re able to enter a new formula into an empty cell. Again you can pull in just about any data you see over into the Standard Time timesheet, tasks the time log, time off like for vacation, PTO, invoicing, expenses. Anything that you see here that you might also get into the reporting in Standard Time is available in Excel.

That is when you know that the best tool to use would be Excel for those administrative spreadsheets, executive, managers; making sure that projects are on task, employees are entering their time into the correct projects. Maybe you need client billing or costing values, project management. All of that is available to pull over from the Standard Time data base. So very nice little add-in for Excel. Download it-when do you will get this test spreadsheet, you can look through all the formulas that we have in shaded cells. It will give you an idea of how it works. Nice tool, hope you like it!



How to Upload Barcode Scans for Mfg


I’m gonna show you how to upload barcode scans from a barcode scanner that is not connected to a computer. I’m using the Opticon OPN 2001 scanner, works real nice, but you can use any barcode scanner that collects a time stamp with every scan. And produces a CSV file that can be uploaded to a computer.

I’ll give you one little word of warning on this; when operators are out on the shop floor using an off-line device like this they can make mistakes. They can forget to scan certain things or scan out of order, they may forget to start the timer or try to start the timer multiple times. But with that warning lets go ahead and take a look at how Standard Time® can upload barcode scans from a barcode scanner.

Over on the computer you see a little companion application for the Opticon OPN 2001 scanner. This little application will upload barcode scans from the device and then produce a CSV file that we can import into Standard Time.

You don’t have to use the OPN 2001, you can use any device you like. Each one of those devices will probably have a different kind of application or a way in which you can get those barcode scans into a CSV file format. Make sure you have a device that collects both the time and the date for every scan. Because that’s important to know so that we can start and stop a timer at the precise time when the actual scans occur.

I’m going to click the get barcodes button. That has read in or uploaded all of those scans from the device and produced a CSV file that I can now import into Standard Time. I’m going to switch back to Standard Time, you’re looking at the time log tag. I’ll press the F4 key to go into the barcode window. Down in the lower right corner there is an import scans button. I’ll click that, up pops a window that is preparing us to import that barcode CSV file. The first thing you’ll need to specify is which columns are used inside the CSV file for the scan value, the scanned time and the scanned date.

Let’s open up that barcode CSV file in a spreadsheet and identify which column belongs to the scan, the time and the date. Now the date and time may be integrated into the same column depending on which device you’re using. In this one they’re separated into two separate columns but we can clearly see that one, two and three are the columns that we’re going to use to upload. If you had the same column for the date and time you can specify that same number here.

Next thing you’ll want to do is check whether the first line of CSV file contains labels. Because we’ll want to skip over those, you won’t use those. Then click browse to upload and get the path to the file and then specify whether you want to rename the file after importing so that you don’t accidently import the same file. Once you’ve done that you click import now.

Now that I’ve done that it’s imported all of those records from the CSV file that came from that companion application that you saw earlier. And here they are. Go into the F4 barcode window, click import scans and set it up so you can read your CSV files that came from the device. Pretty simple!

See more at: http://www.stdtime.com

Track Time and Materials in Manufacturing


Got a manufacturing shop?


Got work orders with time and materials?


Got any idea how long they take?


Then you need Standard Time®.

And a barcode scanner.

Once you start scanning work orders on the shop floor, and finding how long they really take, you may get a little nervous.

But nervous is good. You can fix this.

Standard Time is the manufacturer’s best tool. Get it at www.stdtime.com/manufacturing.htm


How Eversight Vision Uses Standard Time Barcoding


Eversight Vision in Illinois, U.S.A. uses Standard Time barcoding to monitor the time cornea tissue remains outside of refrigeration. Lab technicians scan barcodes to indicate who is doing the work, and what work is being performed. The eye bank now knows exactly how long eye tissues is out of refrigeration, and how long each operation takes to perform.

Transcription-Hey guys, I’m Kathy. I’m Elsa and we are here at Eversight, IL to show you how we use Standard Time®.

Currently Standard Time is being used at this eye-bank to track the total amount of time corneal tissue is taken in and out of refrigeration.

One of the reasons why we would pull out a tissue is to evaluate it, self-comment and process it for different surgeons.

And this is really important because this is something that has not been measured at our eye-bank before. To try to determine the total amount of time each corneal tissue is out.

To show you how we do it; we will scan a user ID and then I can select different reasons why we pull it out. Like I said, evaluate it, or self-count it, sometimes we’ll OCT it, sometimes we’ll measure the thickness of the tissue, different processes here or if we need to self-count it versus just evaluate it. Then I’ll select a reason why, we’re warming up the tissue, I’ll scan it right here. It’s a very easy system to use, I’m already tracking about five different tissues right over here. It’s nice and easy to use.

It’s also a great system because it allows us to run reports. If we ever need to look at a specific task we’re able to do so. Thanks for joining us. Thanks!

Learn more at: http://www.stdtime.com/barcode.htm

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Track Manufacturing Time with RFID Tags


Manufacturing managers; we’ve got an idea for you!

What would happen if you stuck an RFID tag on every product you produce?

Or a barcode label?

And scanned it with Standard Time® at each point in the manufacturing process?

We already know what would happen. You would know:

  1. Where each product was at any time
  2. How much employee time was spent building it
  3. How many times it was handled
  4. And your labor costs

Click www.stdtime.com/barcode.htm for details.


How to Save 1% in Manufacturing


Want to cut manufacturing costs by one percent? Then you’re going to need Standard Time®. And a barcode scanner. Got them both? Okay, try this: 1. Print time and material barcodes for your manufacturing process 2. Scan employee names, work orders, and tasks 3. Now find one small thing to trim 4. Measure and repeat

You’ll thank us when you reach one percent.
Manufacturing and engineering run on Standard Time. Get it at www.stdtime.com/barcode.htm

Order Status with Single Barcode Scan


From http://www.stdtime.com If you use barcodes or RFID to track products on the manufacturing floor, shop floor, warehouse, factory floor, shipping dock. This videos shows how to use one single scan to track order status. You’ve likely got multiple work stations or stages along the way, including some starting point, raw materials, parts, assembly, added or subtracted improvements to the product. And then moving on to QA box and ship. You only want to scan once at each one of those stations. And you don’t want any special admin setup like registering serial numbers with the software. You just want the barcode scanner to pick it up and use it. Especially if you have hundreds or thousands of these on the shop floor at any given time.
This video answers the question, “Where is the order right now? What stage is it in, what employee touched it last, what building or department it’s in?” This is not about time tracking, although most of the videos are and you certainly can get that. This is about using a single scan to track orders and know where an order is right now. So let’s jump into the software and see how it works.
Over in Standard Time® you can see a list of time stamped order status records. And you’ll notice those are mixed right in with the other time tracking records that you might get from scanning other operations with barcode scanners. But because they have zero duration they will not show up in the timesheet as these records would.
I’ll go ahead and press the F4 key to show you how to set this up. Up pops the barcode window where you would scan for time tracking and order status. Click the barcode prefixes button and here you can enter the prefixes you’ve set up for your barcode scanners. This is a requirement, you will have to consult your owners guide for how to program prefixes into your barcode scanner.
You’ll notice I’ve set up three of these; my gun 1, my gun 2, my gun 3, for three different scanners. You enter those characters here whatever you choose, any series of characters. And then you can give it a description and you’ve got some default values to document which employee was using it, you’ve got some optional fields for project task, category. Some text fields you can put ad hoc text or notes into. To also define where this scan took place. After you’re done with that give it a text field that you want to scan into, and that’s the reason I left this one blank. Text 1 is a perfectly good field to use.
When scanners use a prefix like this they will first emit this series of characters. And then they’ll emit the characters that you actually scanned. In this case order number and that portion would go into the text 1 field. Check this check box to give it a completed time log because we’re not tracking time here and give it zero duration. If you did give it a value for the duration it would show up in the timesheet.
You can create an expense with a template and an amount if you want to, we’ll just dispense with that. So now you can begin scanning and you would create records just like these in the time log.
I’m going to run this little report on the left side that allows me to find orders by user, project, client, you can give it a date range or you can type in an order number or a portion of an order number. I happen to know the last three digits so I’ll type that in. You see it at the filter at the bottom, click OK to open the report. Now you have a nice time stamped list of all the times this order was scanned. So you have the time stamp, the order number, some values that we’ve collected and the last employee to touch it. This top item here is the last time this order was scanned, these are in descending order so the older ones are at the bottom. A very nice report to run. I’m going to close this.
By way of review we’re going to press the F4 key, click barcode prefixes. Enter the prefix that you programmed into your scanner. Give it a field to scan into and then check this check box to create a status record instead of time tracking.
That’s really all you have to do to get order status with a single scan in Standard Time.

See more at: http://www.stdtime.com

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Barcoding in Manufacturing is Easy!


How barcoding works
click for the barcode infographic



From http://www.stdtime.com/barcode.htm. Manufacturing automation is easy with barcodes and RFID. Just put a barcode label on every product. Scan it during the manufacturing process. Collect time and materials consumed. And then report on your results.

Now that you can record manufacturing metrics, you can find ways to improve. Reduce human resource time. Reduce materials and waste. Fine-tune your process to be more efficient.

You will know how much time each employee worked on each product. You'll know how much time each product took to manufacture, package, and ship. You'll know how long each kind of job took, and each task. Plus, you can track time for any other information you care about on the shop floor. For instance, how much time is spent in each building? For each machine? Each tool? How about each assembly line, or product line? You decide what metrics you want to collect, and this will do it.

Consider putting this in your warehouse to track materials and products. Scan each box as it comes and goes. You now have a simple warehouse tracking system, and you know how much time items spend in storage.

Have you heard of Manufacturing Execution Systems? This is the basics of that, but without the high cost of implementation. It collects the raw time and materials, and can be used to automate such things as inventory, resource dispatch, and order processing. You don't spend a zillion dollars on an MES, but you get the basic results.

Learn more at: http://www.stdtime.com/barcode.htm

See more at: http://www.stdtime.com

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Coordinate Microsoft Project Tasks with Timesheet


Learn how to sync tasks to MS Project so your project schedule can receive input from actual resources doing the work. If employees have input into your project schedule, it stands a better chance of matching reality and not becoming stale and irrelevant. Employees sometimes know their own tasks better than project managers.

The actual resources working on your project may suggest new tasks, and may correct task estimates. That input changes everything. Your project schedule now reflects reality. It contains the actual tasks employees are working on, and better estimates for completion.

Time, materials, and tasks can all be synchronized from Standard Time® to MS Project. Give Standard Time to every employee, and let them enter the tasks they are working on. Let them update task estimates. And let them submit actual hours into their timesheets. All that information feeds into Microsoft Project.

See more at: http://www.stdtime.com/msproject.htm

Collecting Barcode Info for Manufacturing

Watch this video for a technique of collecting manufacturing time on the shop floor. This technique involves collecting special information, above the basics of employee and project. Create your own user-defined scan requirements. Employees must scan these special items before the timer will start.

In other words, you may be scanning employee and project names, and the timer starts immediately. Have you considered adding any special items to that scan sequence? You can. Collect any special information you like.



This is an advanced barcoding topic that describes scanning special information during the manufacturing process. The basic barcoding scanning sequence only collects employee, project, and category (or task). Time logs resulting from these scans are shown in the timesheet. But it is possible to scan more information related to your employee jobs on the shop floor. That information is placed in those time logs.

Watch this video to learn how to add new requirements to your scanning sequence. In other words, go beyond the normal employee, project, and task. Prompt operators for additional information that you can use for reporting and graphs.

For example: prompt operators to scan the building number they are working in. Or scan the machine name. Now you can find out how much time you spend on each machine in each building.

Anything is possible. You collect whatever information that is relevant to your operation, and then report on that later. You'll see scans come into the system in real-time, so you know exactly what is happening on the shop floor all the time.


The BIG Barcoding Page



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