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.

Task Status from the Mfg Floor


Is this scene familiar in your manufacturing shop?

Actor1: Where’s that big job?

Actor2: What big job?

Actor1: You know… the one we started last week.

Actor2: Oh yeah, that one. I don’t know, boss.


Here’s how they do it with Standard Time:

  1. Pull out a barcode scanner
  2. Scan the job status
  3. Scan the task status
  4. Look up and see it on the big screen

Upgrade your manufacturing shop

With a barcode scanner

And Standard Time!



Barcode Inventory and Bill of Materials


Here’s a new inventory management idea for your manufacturing shop! Combine the automation of barcodes and scripts. Try these steps in Standard Time® • Scan your Bill of Materials to deduct every item from inventory • When inventory drops, items are automatically reordered • Now scan them as they arrive at the back door • Inventory levels spring back like magic!

Get Standard Time and a barcode scanner today!

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

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Tablets on the Mfg Floor

Tap and scan

That’s how they track jobs on the manufacturing floor these days

With barcodes

And Standard Time!

Everything is barcoded: Work orders, tasks, employee badges

  1. Tap and scan an employee barcode
  2. Tap and scan a work order
  3. Tap and scan the task status

It all happens on handheld tablets, all over the manufacturing floor

That’s how you get real-time jobs status

With barcodes

And Standard Time!

Click to download at www.stdtime.com

Automate Inventory Management


You probably know that Standard Time is a time tracking application and you can barcode projects, tasks, work orders on the shop floor. Did you also know that you can barcode inventory and bill of materials and deduct from quantity in stock? Let’s take a look at how it works.

Let’s start by going into tools, inventory and bill of materials to see what you can scan to automatically deduct from inventory. It turns out that all of these inventory items are scannable. The names you see over here on the right hand side can be set up on barcode labels. You can scan them to automatically deduct from inventory. Same is true with the bill of materials; if you were to scan panel assembly that would deduct all of the items from inventory in this entire bill of materials.

Let’s switch over to Microsoft Word where we can actually see the labels that would be printed out and scanned on the shop floor. We’ve got a simple name of bill of materials, you recognize the panel assembly. I’m going to remove this front, go back to a normal text font, you can see there is real no magic here.

You’ve got the asterisk before and after which is normally necessary for most barcodes. In this case we have an equal’s character to substitute for the space. This is the name of the bill of materials that we saw over at Standard Time or an inventory item. Here we’re actually adding 100 of these items back into inventory. Adding 200 panel assemblies and down here we’re subtracting 5 of these in 7 panel assemblies. You can add and subtract using this special notation with the dashes and quantity. Let’s undo you can see then the normal font that we would use for printing out barcode labels. Print those out and scan those on the shop floor or the receiving dock.

Back to Standard Time, we’ll go back into tools, inventory. It turns out you can scan more than just the name. You may remember that pn1 from the barcode label. Turns out you can scan the name or the SKU or a code or a part number. You can scan the vendor SKU or the manufacturer SKU. If you already have these barcodes printed on boxes, coming in off the receiving dock, you can then scan those put them back into inventory. And that would affect the quantity in stock whether we’re subtracting or adding.

When the quantity in stock drops below the reorder quantity this will kick off a script to automatically reorder those items; or replenish if you’re building them in-house. Now that’s a topic of another video but that is a way to automatically reorder or replenish those items.

When we’re in the bill of materials you’ll notice bill of materials do not have quantities. Instead each of the items in the bill of materials has a quantity. In this case we have two wood panels, 24 nuts, 35 screws and 12 weldment assemblies. When you scan the panel assembly bill of materials you’re actually deducting all of these items in this quantity from inventory.
Go ahead and set up your barcodes and begin scanning inventory items in addition to the time tracking that you get in Standard Time.

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

Inventory Management with Scripting


In this video we have some inventory management techniques to use scripts to automatically re-order or replenish inventory items when they drop below a certain level.

You have a certain scenario where you’ll scan a bill of materials and all the items on that bill of materials would be reduced from inventory. With certain inventory items get below a certain level you want to kick of a script to automatically reorder them or to create a new work order to build them on the shop floor.

In either case whether you reorder or build-when the items are finished or they arrive on your shipping dock. You want to scan them again and that would replenish the inventory. Let’s look to see how that works in the software.

Here in the software I’m going to go through this typical sequence of events that would automatically reduce inventory when a bill of materials is scanned. And then also automatically reorder inventory when it falls below the quantity to reorder. I will be using these two barcodes when I do.

The beginning of this step would be when you scan a bill of materials. We’ll press F4; that opens the barcode window. Then I would scan the bill of material’s name. You can see that the items from that bill of materials have automatically been reduced from inventory. If the quantity for any one of those items in stock falls below the quantity to reorder then a script would be triggered to automatically reorder that inventory item.

Let’s take a look at where that would be. First of all when you go to the tools menu you see the inventory and bill of materials. I wanted to look at the scripts because that is the automated process by which you could reorder inventory.

There are several ways you could do this. You could enter a new record into a data base somewhere like an order record. You might send an email to someone to have them reorder it; that would be the simplest one. You could insert records using a stored procedure and databases.

Now this is getting pretty technical, you’d have to have your programmer set up some of this stuff.
You could call web-services; something like Amazon or other services where you automatically place an order using web-services; contacting website. Standard Time could do that.

You could also replenish, now this is different than reordering. You could replenish by creating a new project task that tells someone to go and build those parts. You could replenish by creating a new work order. That work order would have some tasks, would be assigned to some people who would then build the parts. And then those would be scanned and put back into inventory.

This is another script that does something else. Scripting is used for other purposes other than inventory. But we’ve looked at six ways, at least, you could automatically reorder or replenish inventory using scripting. There’s probably plenty of other ones I don’t have listed here that have different ways to do that.

You simply create a script, you can see the script over here. You would need a programmer to do that, it would automatically go and reorder those parts. The next step in the sequence is that those parts would arrive on your shipping dock a few days later after they’ve been ordered. Then you’d want the shipping and receiving people to scan those.

Let’s pull up the F4 window again, go back to the barcodes that we were using for this exercise. We’re going to add 1,000 nuts to inventory. Scan that and you can see that those were added to inventory. Close this, go to tools, inventory and click on that. The quantity in stock is replenished again. That’s the round trip story of the sequence of events when you scan a bill of materials, reduce the inventory items and then automatically replenish the inventory for the quantity in stock.

Obviously Standard Time is more of a time tracking application but you do have this ability to work with work orders, bill of materials, inventory and scripts.

Shop Floor Work Order Status


Manufacturing managers: How do you get job status from the shop floor?

  1. Hand-scribbled notes on work orders?
  2. Scraps of paper with no legible words?
  3. Yell it across the shop floor?

How would you like a BIG “airport-style” screen instead?

  1. All your work orders are listed
  2. See when each job started
  3. Who worked on it last
  4. When it’s expected to end

Isn’t that better than yelling across the shop floor?

Try Standard Time today!

Watch the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ip8YuN4zl0c


Things You Get By Scanning Barcodes


From http://www.stdtime.com/barcode.htm. Here is a list of 16 things you will get by scanning just four barcodes. Ever wonder what the four barcodes are? They are: Username, task name, username again when the task is finished, and the word STOP. That's it.

After scanning only those four barcodes, you will get at least sixteen results from this timekeeping program.

Here is a list of the sixteen things from this video:
1. How long employees worked
2. How long products take to manufacture
3. How long you spend on each kind of work
4. How far into the manufacturing cycle are you
5. What department your product is in
6. Who worked on it last
7. When your job started
8. When it will likely end
9. Percent complete
10. If somebody is working on it right now
11. Salary costs
12. Estimated client cost
13. How much time you spent working for a client
14. How much time each department spends on your product
15. Ad hoc ancillary intel
16. Emails when jobs take too long

With this kind of results, you can track shop floor jobs, manufacturing status, and all the time you spent on work orders. Just grab a barcode scanner and give it a try.

Also see http://www.stdtime.com

Work order and shop floor status


I’m going to show you the best tool for manufacturing, shop floor, service organizations, consulting, engineering; where you need to see the up to the minute project status for work orders, service orders, jobs, projects. You will see a list of your projects, the last time those projects were worked on, the last employee who worked on them and whether the timer is running. Let’s go ahead and take a look.

Here in Standard Time® I will choose view-work in progress. Up pops what I call the airport window, actually this is just a status of all your jobs, work orders, service orders, projects that you’re working on right now. You’re going to see the top 15 or 20 projects here that are going on right now and the status of those. You can see listed here the job, the last time something happened on that job.

Some of these have status on them; finished, funded, active, waiting, completed and so on. Hours that have been logged to them, the cost of that project that has been earned so far and then the last employee who has touched it. Of course you can tell if the timer is running right now. You can bring this window up and you will see the status of your jobs. Whether they’re out on the shop floor, people are scanning barcodes, RFID’s, out in the field with consultants who are using the mobile apps; iPhone, Android. Entering in time, up to the minute status; actually this updates every 15 seconds and you can see the status of every job that is going on right now.

Most important of course is the number of hours, who’s working on it and whether the timer is running. Down in the lower left (if have this set to the last 30 days but if I went down to the last 7 days) there’s fewer jobs that have had some new activity in the last 7 days. You can adjust the activity there.

You can also take a look at the organization. You may have lower administrators who may have access to smaller parts of the organization or fewer projects. So their screen would be adjusted according to those user rights. In the lower right you see a control panel here for setting how the fields are shown. Whether using project name, work order, text, that’s configuring those jobs so that the screen displays properly.

You’ll also notice this can be resized. You can also maximize the screen for the entire screen and be able to see this at distance by using large fonts. I’ve enlarged the fonts, enlarged the size of the window and now you have a nice airport status. You know those baggage claim windows that you see when you walk into the airport. This is the status there of what’s going on with your jobs. And you’re able to update it and resize it to the size you like.

You’ll also notice that if you right click on these headers, you can insert columns; the started date of the project, the percent complete, the department, the activity last occurred in, last employee to work on it, whether the timer is running, number of hours, the cost, the status and last the activity. I’m displaying many of these columns right now. If I don’t want to see a certain column I can right click on it and hide that column.

This is very configurable, allows you to see the status of all your jobs. This may be one of best tools for manufacturing, consulting, service type organizations. Where you just need to see the status of your jobs. You may have noticed also if you go to the view menu, you have employee status. That window is going to show you the status of all of your employees and what they are working on now. The last activity, whether the timer is running, the number of hours today and this week. That’s a similar screen but you’re probably want to go to view-work in progress to see the status of those jobs at any given time.

Watch the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ELSSGVqmCmc


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


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