I’ve just found a very interesting thread over on “The Practical Machinist” forums which discusses the use of time clocks in the machine shop. The thread is To Time or not too Time (Clock) makes for very interesting reading. All of the discussion is from the workshop manager/owner’s point of view and if you read the entire thread you’ll see some common problems that are experienced due to what is usually a minority of employees. Heres some key issues I noted:
When i started working at my current job we just wrote our time cards out ourselves. then matt started. He was the last to arrive first to leave but always had the most hours…now we have a time clock. thanks matt
Now, that being said, if you have several employees, you can lose time “around the edges” of the day, and lunchtime. Without a time clock, 30 min lunches can become 35 min., and employees are often standing at the time clock waiting to punch out the second it turns.
So, for example, if you have 10 employees, and each one “nibbles” 15 min per day, then that’s 150 min per day, or 750 min per week! Some lost production time right there…
Once had a helper who never kept track of any time on repair jobs . His method was to stare at the clock and gusstimate when he started /finished , and then guessed what the customer would like to pay , and then kinda sorta arrive at a price .
He was a great worker , but probably lost me lots of $$. He now has his own shop so he can now lose money for himself .
So, there you have a few real world problems experienced by people who are not using a time clock (whether it be a physical time clock or time clock software like Time Clock MTS. Now let’s look at some of the benefits some of the posters have noted from some sort of time clock system.
Before me and my partner got together, he had bought one (a time clock system), not for punching in and out, but to keep track of jobs. He was doing a lot of time and material and each job was assigned a time clock badge, so come the end of the week he had an excellent hard copy of how much to charge on what job.
I wouldn’t run the shop without one. In union happy Québec Canada the punch clock is a common fixture everywhere. A a matter of fact it helps you build up a file againsta bad apple when needed. One guy has been robbing meanywhere from 15 – 30 min. a day plus being talkative.
A time clock protects the employer, and it also protects the employee so he gets all the pay he’s due. There are occasional lapses, someone forgets to clock in or clock out once in a while, then I take their word for what the correct time was and they are fair with me. This beats the heck out of depending on a busy employee remembering to take note of when he started and when he stopped.
If you take a look through the thread you’ll note that one happy poster is a user of Time Clock MTS. It’s great to get this sort of spontaneous feedback about the software and know that it is a tool of great practical use in the real world. Here’s what the happy user had to say:
I’d second John’s opinion. A time clock keeps both the employee and employer accountable and provides accurate record keeping. My employees can come and go whenever they choose, so deciphering their hours was a nightmare. As almost all of our machines have a PC located at them, we use a inexpensive software version called MTS Timeclock. The software cost under $100 and we can use it on as many computers as desired. We have been using this software for about three years with no problems at all. My office manager loves it as she does not have to spend lots of time calculating hours. I like it because I know that I have accurate time recording and records to prove it and my employees like it because it is simple and easy to use.
Just one last point, a couple of people in the thread mention that they’d love it if their time clock could track time worked on jobs. It’s worth a reminder here that Time Clock MTS can not only track your employee time and attendance information it can also track what jobs they are working on at the same time with almost no extra effort. If you want to find out more about this take a look at the Time Clock MTS Job Tracking page or the job tracking with your time clock software video.