August 4, 2023

Manufacturers: Do You Have the Data To Keep Your Machinery Running Smoothly?


It’s Tuesday at 2 pm and your production line should be humming along, but your laser cutting machine is down for mandated maintenance you didn’t see coming. It has brought your whole operation to a halt.

You track employee hours, monitoring for excessive overtime, but do you do the same for your machinery? You can’t afford unexpected downtime. The problem is that many manufacturing facilities haven’t automated this level of machine usage data.

Why Track Machinery Usage Hours?

Let’s face it, most manufacturers don’t have a backup lathe or drilling machine, so one machine becoming unavailable could affect the entire operation. Tracking machine usage hours should be part of your standard operating procedure (SOP), but many manufacturers struggle to know when their machines are due for maintenance.

Manufacturers on the cutting-edge of technology are investing in AI-driven maintenance tracking, but that’s a massive undertaking. On the flip side, others have workers log time on the machine via a clipboard log or spreadsheet, but that requires someone to check that log and ensure each machine gets the care it needs. Wouldn’t it be better if you could use data and tools you already have?

Many organizations don’t realize they may already have the solution they need in their employee time-tracking software. With a robust employee time-tracking solution, you can use job codes to track employee hours on a specific machine. An employee clocks in to work for the day, then selects a job code representing a particular machine, tool, press or whatever they will be operating that day. From there, the job codes allow you to track machine usage hours.

With this level of time tracking, you can automatically set machine thresholds and be notified as each machine approaches its maintenance window. Line managers can view machine usage hours on their dashboard just like they see employee hours and overtime forecasts.


Detailed Labor Tracking Boosts Productivity

Using your time and attendance software to track machine usage for maintenance purposes may not be a use case you thought of when you purchased the software, but detailed labor tracking can benefit your organization in many ways. Labor tracking helps you monitor productivity to see how labor is being used, not just the number of hours worked.

  1. Monitor productivity & ensure proper pay
    Chances are, your workers perform different types of labor during a shift, perhaps moving from one type of machine to another or maybe even to another area of the facility altogether. Precise labor tracking can help you monitor their productivity as they move from activity to activity and determine the correct pay level if their pay rate varies by task or assignment.
  2. Compare worker productivity
    By comparing one worker’s output on a specific machine or task you can determine ideal assignments for maximum productivity for your operation. This includes monitoring the following productivity metrics:

    • Labor cost (e.g., by job, time period, shift)
    • Production volume per employee
    • Hours worked per employee
    • Overtime rate
  3. Identify exceptions to avoid negative impacts
    On the flip side of tracking and monitoring this productivity data, your time-tracking software can also highlight employees who consistently clock in late or those who are approaching overtime or work-hour limits. It’s not just about addressing work accountability, but this level of time tracking can also help you monitor worker fatigue and exposure limits, where they apply.

TimeClock Plus for Manufacturers

At TCP, we thrive on complexity. We understand that simply knowing an employee has clocked in to work isn’t enough for you. Manufacturers require precise labor tracking, flexible solutions and deeper insights into day-to-day costs. From the manufacturing floor to the office, effectively tracking and reporting on labor and associated costs is a necessity to drive better efficiency for the organization as a whole.

That’s why our TimeClock Plus solution provides in-depth time and labor tracking to help manufacturers manage costs and monitor productivity. Our configurable tools empower your teams to leverage comprehensive reports in easily digestible formats and automate complex calculations to help you stay on top of all your employee management needs.

We offer up to six tiers of job codes to track multi-layered work—exactly what you need to ensure your labor tracking data includes everything you need to track employee productivity and machine usage hours. Does your operation have machines that multiple people work on at the same time? Using our TCP Analytics tool we can build a report that filters that employee data down to actual machine run time. As stated before, we thrive on this kind of complexity.

Do you have the time-tracking capabilities you need to keep your facility running at optimum speed? Are you using the time-tracking features you have to their fullest potential? If you’re not sure, talk to a TCP expert today.