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Thread: Tracking Productivity

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    Default Tracking Productivity

    I am wondering if I can get some advice on measuring productivity in my department. I work for a company that manufacters guardrails for highways and roadways. We are going to use this information to more accurately price our estimates and schedule drawing time.

    The first option was to measure and set goals based upon the number of pages in a set of drawings and the number of pages sent out each month. My problem with this is how are we going to know how many pages are in a set at the estimating stage? How can estimators price properly if they don't know the number of pages?

    The second option was to measure by linear feet of guardrail. The problem with this is the difficulty level could be backwards. We have standard rail lengths. Our goal is to put as many standard rails pieces as possible and put custom rails on the ends. But that doesn't always happen. So we could have 10,000 linear feet of rail that uses 1000 of the same panels. Then the next job we could have 100 linear feet of a highly customized rail with slopes & radiuses that takes forever to draw. So I don't know if this is the most accurate measurement to use either.

    Does anyone have any suggestions as to a good way to track it?

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    Default Re: Tracking Productivity

    Invest some time in analyzing the historical records, using each system. I'm presuming that your billing/time accounting system tracks hours per job number?
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    Default Re: Tracking Productivity

    One thing you can always count on when you attempt to standardize an approach to something is that the job at hand will never conform to the standard that you establish.

    However, as cadtag has suggested invest some time analysing historical records. The problem may arise that you don't have any historical records for measuring productivity so the first step will be to put a system in place that will begin generating the records.
    If you think this will help then may I suggest my CAD time logging program CadTempo? There is a link in my signature where you can download a fully functioning 30 day trial.

    OK, having gotten my sales pitch out of the way I can tell you how I've used this program in my own work which I'm pretty sure is much different than your type of work. After capturing historical data for the work I do I am able to arrive at esitimates for future work by applying fairly well established norms for specific tasks and duties. For instance in my work I do machine design. Much of the work I do is of a custom nature but there are always a quantity of standard commercial components that are used. I have determined that design work will take X percentage of a complete job, layout will take Y percent and detail and documentation will take Z percent. I also know that it will take an average of X1 hours per custom detail and knowing the ratio between detail, layout, and design (I also know my effeciency for certain types of work). Applying these know values I am able to arrive at a very accurate estimation after determining the number of details a job might require.

    It really isn't that difficult as long as you have the historical data and spend the time establishing a systematic apprach to the problem. Although not specific to estimating I've written a two part article for AUGI HotNews that may shed some light on how I go about using time logging.

    http://www.augi.com/library/tipnique...manager-part-1

    http://www.augi.com/library/dr-who-a...manager-part-2
    Patrick Hughes -

    CadTempo - Time Tracking for AutoCAD, AutoCAD LT, Revit, Inventor...
    http://www.cadtempo.com

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    Default Re: Tracking Productivity

    Well the problem is not analyzing historical data. The problem is figuring out what data to use/analyze. I need to find a unit of measure that will help forecast estimating and scheduling.

    duhvinci, in your example, you used average number of hours per custom detail. If you are doing an estimate, you can figure out approximately how many details you think it will take and then calculate time and $$ using that. But how did you know to use hours per detail as a unit of measure? Why not hours per page? Or hours per product type?

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    Default Re: Tracking Productivity

    Hi Jodi,

    Fair enough question. Convenience mostly. If you had an opportunity to look at the articles(s) you'll know that I began keeping track of my time originaly when I was doing design and detail work on the drafting board. I suppose I could have just as easily recorded and estimated based on the number of drawing sheets (considering sheet size) in a project or hours per sheet. The method I used though also allowed me to look at the type of job that was done - A weld fixture or a part feeder or whatever and then examine the typical hours that were consumed in completing that type of job.

    My suggestion would to pick something to start looking at, see how well it works and make adjustments as needed. My guess is that no matter what you do it isn't going to be perfect but with use it can be improved upon.
    Patrick Hughes -

    CadTempo - Time Tracking for AutoCAD, AutoCAD LT, Revit, Inventor...
    http://www.cadtempo.com

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