In March, Ryan Millians of Custom Wood Interiors Inc. in Monroe, GA, posted a series of questions about time tracking
to the members-only online discussion
forum of the Cabinet Makers Association.
Does anyone do time studies on how
long it takes you or your employees to do
certain task in the shop? If so how do you
do this? An app or pen and paper? Do you
track per job or per cabinet? We are working on the flow in our shop, and I know
that this is one of the major points in flow
He got many responses, and we’re
sharing a condensed round-up of that
feedback (edited for length and clarity).
Richie Alcorn, Alcorn’s Custom
Woodworking Inc., Reidsville,
We started out with each guy writing
down his time on each project in a
small notebook each day, kept them
at the time clock. We’ve been using a
program called Cabinet Shop Maestro
for a few months now; it’s based off-site
so the guys can use the shop iPad or
their own smartphone to log the time
spent on each task.
It also helps keep up with the different jobs and schedules. I can check in
from anywhere and see the progress.
It’ll do a lot more than we are using it
for presently, but we’re trying to ease
into each step so no one gets over-
whelmed in learning to use it.
We are still learning, but it is
helping tremendously. We pay $150 a
month, but it’s worth it so far.
Cristofir Bradley, Cristofir
Bradley Cabinetry, Memphis,
I keep track of all time spent on a job.
I keep a clipboard at my bench, and
I separate my time according to what
task I’m working on. Since I’m the
only full-time employee (I have one
part-time guy), this is easy to do. I can
go back at the end of a job and quickly
see how much time I spent overall and
how much time I spent, say, assembling
Gary Balcom, Atlanta Cabinet
Shop (Associate Member),
We use our ERP system (Tradesoft’s
ShopPAK) to log everything automatically. It works very well, and I can see
our historical labor going back over the
I also used Klok software in the
past (more than five years ago), and I
thought it was quite nice.
Dan Brantner, Dovetail Design,
As a one-man operation, I use an app
on my phone called Timesheet. You
can create tasks, enter time for a task
manually or use the timer function.
You can even enter breaks, notes and
expenses. It will export to a spread-
sheet, so I can use the info to help me
with pricing. I track my time on each
job by task.
I’m curious, though: How do others
break down the different tasks? Do
you separate out cutting case parts
to size, for example, or do you lump
that together with machining dados,
line boring, constructions holes, etc.?
I want to take a look at analyzing the
data and updating my pricing while
also incorporating that into my design
software. Currently, I use a spreadsheet
I created a number of years ago, and I
want to speed that up/automate that as
much as I can.
Bradley answered Brantner’s
question: I separate all the different
tasks by “clocking in and out” on my
clipboard. Each job is a little bit different, but they still have the same basic
tasks. For me, cutting sheets is different
from machining the parts, but I lump
cutting dadoes and line boring holes
together. The hardest part was what to
do when I spent 20 minutes on a phone
call that didn’t have anything to do
with the job I was working on.
Gregory Paolini, Gregory
Paolini Design, Canton, North
I do time studies all the time – detailed
and general. A general time study is
CMA members weigh in on time tracking
Different shops use different methods and tools to chart how long work actually takes.
by Amanda Conger
firstname.lastname@example.org CABINET SHOP TIPS