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Currently we use paper time cards and write in job names with hours. The book keeper allocates these times to jobs and along with materials and other expenses determines the profit per job. Is this a waste of time? Each year there is a new machine or new employee or different process so it's hard to know if the information is valuable. Would it be sufficient to check expenses over averages of say 15 to 20 jobs over say a 6 month period. Wouldn't this data be adequate. Using software that tracks employee time and auto loads to QB is good but are the employees accurately entering times at the touch screen. There are 5 of us employees writing in our jobs each day. I'm trying to arrive at some solution that's less time consuming for us and the book keeper, the book keeper also does payroll. I'm not advocating sloppy accounting or lack of good information to make decisions but it seems like this isn't benefiting the company.
I use Timesheets.com. Inexpensive, web based, smart phone friendly, scalable, tracks jobs and clockin/clockout, allows employees to clock in remotely (also with a gps locator if you have trust issues).
Thanks Jared, That time app was the easiest and best cost i have seen so far. i was setup on trial in less than 5 minutes
Keep it simple.
Steer clear of ERP software it is a rabbit hole you do not want to enter
But using those, (does the time it takes employees to record and the most likely possibility of the wrong job being recorded, or wrong time applied to a job), really contribute to useful information that would lead to decisions being made. Couldn't you just track all expenses for all jobs, all hours for all jobs etc and see an average. The money not wasted by employees labor recording stuff would be labor applied to production.
I track information at multiple scales. Sometimes I find that the big picture records are best at describing reality, and sometimes drilling down gives you the best insight. All of this is work, but in my opinion well worth it. Labor data is absolutely something you want if you can get it. The error rate is never zero, but that shouldn't matter. The longer you keep a data series and the more you think about how it interacts with reality the easier it is to get value from it.
No data set tells you everything, and very few tell you nothing.
As far as I can tell, you want to know more about your business but are unwilling to either do the work to gather data or spend any time thinking about it. That's your choice, and you will bear the consequences.
By all means try different ways of collecting data to make that process more efficient. But I wouldn't stop trying to figure out what is happening, and data is a great way to do that.
I did a little bit of both. I started with the micro data, very detailed - not just labor per job but labor per process. Materials and supplies factored in, of course. After about 3 months of collecting the data I put them all together to get broad numbers based on gross job values. It gave me a very accurate snapshot of labor hours and material costs per job. There were a few outliers but I found over a three month period the averages were pretty much spot on. At the end of the fiscal year I wrote down what I figured the owner made as a profit and gave it to him. I was about 7% low, and most of that variance came from T&M change orders during installation that never crossed my desk. So I would suggest that you start with micro data until your sample size is large enough to give you macro data and go from there. Hang on to the detailed data sets though so you have a baseline to use for unusual circumstances like an abnormally complex job or a change in tooling or processes that change your numbers. A side benefit of starting with the microscope, as soon as we started measuring productivity, it went up.
Thanks for the input. There's no issue with me being unwilling to do the work or gather data, I'm simply questioning the value of the time spent. Many things are done just because someone else does it. Or because "that's the way we always do it". And some things are done because they work. My question was, do they work? I appreciate the answers given.
If your going to use the data and analyze it and figure out how you can improve on it yes. If your not actually looking at it and it’s not contributing to increased throughput, it’s just waste.
Over the years I have had several employers in construction who tortured their employees in this way. We all hated it. I put information so rounded and general that I doubt it was of any use.
We use TSheets. The payroll processing is faster, installers can clock in and out without coming back to the shop. People that work at desks or on automated machines clock in on the machine. We have 3 tablets on the floor for logging job time.
If you are on the CNC saw there is a list of time codes that are used in the area, different areas have different lists. It works well and we eliminated the data entry.
So payroll is faster to process and costs less to process. Hours go to a job so if I want to know costs for change orders or billing its there.
We looked at automated time tracking 20 years ago and it was more work to audit and check than just doing paper cards. Its much better now.