The Problems with Paper Timesheets
Crew timesheets are traditionally paper-based, and are a convenient way to track the work being done by a crew at remote locations such as construction or job sites. In general, the data is entered at the end of the day and often must be rekeyed into a back-end system at a later date. This obviously can introduce a new set of errors due to double entry, as well as reducing real-time visibility into the work being done in the field.
Better than Paper Timesheets?
Due to these and other limitations, replacing paper crew timesheets is essential. However, replacing paper crew time sheets through automation is easier said than done. It probably goes without saying, but we'll say it anyway: entering jobs, phases, cost codes, pay classes, billing codes and other key information into an automated crew timesheet system absolutely needs to be easier, more efficient and accurate than writing it in on a paper crew timesheet. Any software-based crew timesheet system must make data entry in the field easier than the paper system it is replacing!
There are a few major tests that any crew time tracking software solution must pass in the field.
Test 1: Reduce Errors
The extreme reduction or elimination of data entry errors is essential. Robust crew timesheet software must significantly reduce or completely eliminate data entry errors. Critical features should allow supervisors to easily search and browse, or to start typing and have an autocomplete find what they are looking for. Automating data entry ensures that only valid jobs, phases, cost codes, etc. are entered, and that approvers and administrative staff do not have to spend time correcting errors.
Test 2: Finding/Adding Resources Easy
Finding and adding necessary resources to a crew timesheet must be easy. Search and browse features, autocomplete features, and filtered search features should make the task much easier. In some cases, the supervisor should be able to identify employees by key properties such as their default pay class, billing code or location.
Test 3: Repeating/Cloning Repeat Tasks
Automated copy previous features, and smart copy previous features, allow supervisors to carry forward key information on crew timesheets from day to day, avoiding the need to enter unchanged data again.
A crew time tracking system must pass these and more tests before you even consider automating your paper crew timesheets. Pacific Timesheet's crew timesheet features, can pass these tests and more. We will review other tests to explore in future blog posts: Daily approval of labor and materials by supervisors, daily or weekly approval by clients.