clocking onto jobs with data collection softwareThe way you run your shop is only as good as the information you have. If you don’t know what jobs make money for your shop, then you can’t take more jobs like them. If the numbers you’re relying on are inaccurate, you won’t be able to run your shop as well as you’d like. Data collection software can make all these problems disappear.

Accurate Time Tracking

At their core, manufacturers are selling time. Time on machines and time spent to produce something. With that in mind, it’s crucial to track time accurately. Data collection on an ERP system can help tremendously with this. At First Tool Corporation, the place to clock in was on the other side of the shop from where some employees worked. Everyone wasn’t tracking their time at their stations accurately because of this distance and the distractions that could happen when walking from one end of the shop to the other. It was even less accurate if they wanted to track how long a step of a job took. Their estimates would be off every time.

To solve this problem, First Tool began having their employees use E2’s data collection app on their phones. Each employee downloaded the app onto their phone and, while they were at work, they could clock in and clock into jobs. Part of setting up the app is making sure that employees can only use it when they’re in the shop to prevent inaccurate times.

Rapid Design Group was also having trouble tracking time in their shop. They had written records of everyone’s time, but it was hard to read them. Sometimes it was because an employee had bad handwriting. But shops are messy places and it was pretty easy for these pieces of paper to get dirty and become impossible to read. With data collection software, there’s no more puzzling through handwriting. All the information they need is easy to read and automatically goes everywhere they need it to go, so they can quickly pull up reports.

A Complete Look at Jobs

Data collection can also help your processes improve. Each step on a job impacts the steps after it. Mostly, the differences will be small, but they could change how a product reacts to various steps later in the process. With data collection, you can see the duration of a job and each step in the process.

Laying the entire process out can also make it easier to think about making changes. If you use a different machine for one step, does it make later steps easier? Rapid Design Group found this aspect of data collection to be especially helpful. If they’re able to think holistically about a job, then they can be sure they’re finishing it to the best of their ability. Considering the entire job like this may also help you save time or money while still delivering a product that’s up to specifications. Because you’re able to measure these things with data collection, you’re able to improve them.

Timely Information from the Floor

Things in a job shop often don’t run according to plan. On a good day, this is because a customer calls in with a rush job they need you to start immediately. If you’re using an ERP system with data collection software, you can see what’s happening on the shop floor in real-time. If you know what your employees are doing at that moment, you’ll know if you can accept that rush job with the due date the customer wants, or even if you’re able to finish it sooner.

Having information in real-time also means that there’s no delay when you want to check how your shop is doing. Did you make money on the jobs you ran last month? Last week? Yesterday? With data collection software, you don’t have to wait for someone to input information they might have trouble reading. You’ll have accurate numbers as soon as you need them, which will help you run your shop better. There’s no comparison to having old, possibly inaccurate information, versus having up-to-the-minute, accurate information. Which would you rather have for your shop?

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