Introducing Manufacturing Time Tracking Systems to Your Business

Author: Eugenija Steponkute
Published: 28/11/2022
time tracking systems for manufacturing

Our topic today is about bringing innovation to your manufacturing business. We urge business owners and senior managers to begin the process with time tracking systems as they offer benefits to everyone across the company. And, with the right approach, it won’t be hard to get your teams to start utilising them to their full potential. 




Very often decision-makers forget that it’s ultimately their workers that will be utilising the software. And, therefore, if they aren’t happy with the solution or struggle to use it, the investment in software may be all for nothing. For this reason alone it’s crucial you prepare them for the change, get their approval of it and introduce it gradually instead of simply expecting your teams to ‘deal with it’. Your troubles, unfortunately, don’t stop here either.

If you are looking at introducing time tracking to your manufacturing business - congratulations, you are on the right path. However, not one without challenges. First of all, the market is brimming with all sorts of solutions fit for this purpose. Navigating through it is difficult, let alone spotting the best product that matches your needs and budget precisely - but not impossible. But let us start from the beginning…

Look Past Your Niche

Intuitively, you might be looking for solutions that are specifically catering to manufacturing firms. On one hand, such a specific query will narrow your list down significantly. On the other - you will be potentially missing out on more thorough and better-developed tools that aren’t limited to one industry. Additionally, hyper-focused tools tend to cost more while ordering less, on big part because they’re aware their client pool is smaller and they need to generate revenue. More spread-out solutions, as a rule, offer more competitive prices. 

For example, at Timesheet Portal we do specify manufacturing and engineering as one of the focus sectors, but we also recognise our solution as being useful for businesses across other industries too. This is mainly because our platform is very functionality-heavy and the pricing model is built upon clients creating their own unique package with the features they need. So, theoretically, we can be providing specialist software - but only if you build it to be one. And if you’re unsure of how to do that, our highly competent experts will be happy to help.

Introducing Time Tracking to the Team

Before you start reaping the benefits of time-tracking software, it’s important to ensure your team is on board with it. Unless you succeed in communicating its value, you are likely to face resistance against using the new tool. So, before adjusting the processes, get buy-in from your team, as well as think through your future employee onboarding programme. 

Highlight the Positives

Often, people will oppose the change, especially when they are used to the processes and don’t understand the reason for ‘fixing what isn’t broken’. Even if, sometimes, the said processes might be broken. Before getting the new software and just expecting your staff to deal with it, you should first give them a notice, and secondly, sell the idea to them. Simply put, if they don’t understand the reason behind the change or how they benefit from it - they will either take longer to adapt or ignore it altogether. The last thing you want is to rope yourself into a software contract just to find out your employees are not using it. 

Depending on the size of your company, try to have a chat with individual workers or teams where you would outline how will the new approach affect their day-to-day lives. Focus on the positives time tracking systems bring for separate business elements. For example, for accounting, you might want to focus on pay-and-bill automation that is based on timesheet data. For legal, point out how much easier business audits will be. The HR will certainly benefit from a holiday management aspect, as well as attendance tracking and easier absenteeism pattern identification. All in all, there is certainly something for everyone - you just need to pinpoint and communicate it.

Update the Employee Handbook

Ideally, you will be sticking with your software of choice for years to come. This means that while your existing employees have an opportunity to learn how to use it together, your new staff will need additional training upon joining as they might be used to a very different process. To save yourself time and effort, include the way you go about time tracking in your employee handbook. This is a great place to outline how exactly things are run in your business, avoiding new hires assuming the flow based on observation. 

While additional training from either you or longer-staying workers may be needed, having the process defined upon the onboarding should shorten the adjustment time significantly. It would also help in reducing mistakes new hires might make as they are figuring out the ins and outs of the business by trying to figure the processes out themselves. In other words, including your time tracking practices and a brief introduction to the software will help you bring new hires up to speed quicker and also serve as a memo for other team members whenever they are unsure of the procedure.

Choosing the Right Solution

The market for SaaS solutions is one of the fastest growing and it’s already filled to the brim with all sorts of software. There are tons of time tracking systems, each offering exclusive features and promising the world. However, don’t get bedazzled by those. Instead, focus on the core functionality - the rest are nice haves. 

Prioritise Accessibility

Since manufacturing firms are heavily focused on on-site work (hence lagging in back-office automation), accessibility is among the key deciding factors when choosing time tracking systems. Unlike the back office, work sites aren’t always equipped with computers. And even if they are, the number of machines available isn’t likely to match the number of workers. Paper timesheets aren’t ideal either as they are easily damaged and lost, as well as susceptible to malicious tampering such as buddy-punching.  This is why you need a solution that is accessible from every device and is not location-bound. 

An easy on-the-go solution provides convenience to the workers who can clock in and out with a tap. Additionally, filling the timesheets on a personal device saves the hassle of having to wait for your turn. The information put in the app is then received by the back office, where they can approve the timesheets, export them to accounting software to quickly calculate the payment, analyse the team’s performance and many other things. In other words, an easily accessible time tracking system benefits everyone, whether they’re working on-site or in the office. Not to mention, it creates the missing link between two groups of workers that otherwise barely interact on a day-to-day basis.

Simplicity is Key

Let us put it straight - when it comes to timesheet software, you don’t need a complex, features-loaded solution. Even if your back office staff are tech savvy and quick to adapt to new software, the on-site workers usually have no interest in figuring an additional mechanism out. Given their use of the software will barely go past timesheet filling, expense claims and holiday requests, it’s worth keeping that in mind. Depending on the back office processes you seek to improve, these three features could be more than enough for your company overall. When it comes to time tracking software, less is more is particularly accurate. 

Ultimately, the range of functionality you should go for depends on your needs. We don’t recommend software packages with extensive functionality for two reasons. Firstly, they will cost more than those with basic features that are often entirely sufficient. Secondly, you’re not likely to use all of them, and would therefore be wasting money on redundant functions. On top of that, it’s easy to get overwhelmed when presented with a crammed interface - something that’s unavoidable when there are many processes you can run within a platform. If you want a bigger solution, we recommend still starting with the basics and upgrading over time so your growth and learning process are linear. 

Constant Optimisation and Growth

Now that we’ve touched on growth, it’s important to point out that it never truly stops. Adoption of the right software only kickstarts the process. For it to bring success, you need to continuously use it to improve your processes, as well as use the data it collects to explore new opportunities. Experimenting, analysing and optimising create a cycle that must keep on going for your business to continue growing. 

The Path of Digitisation

Most of the time tracking systems run on the software-as-a-service (SaaS) model, meaning not only they collect data, but also present it to you in a visual, easily digestible format. Most tools will present you with a sleek dashboard, highlighting all the most important stats, the moment you sign in. On top of that, a good solution will also have an intricate reporting outlet, generating in-depth reports for you to analyse within mere seconds. At Timesheet Portal, we enable our users to build their own granular report templates using an extensive drag-and-drop interface.

Such an approach will make it easier to identify your strengths and weaknesses, therefore allowing you to begin working on them. As you implement changes, the data you receive will also change, providing new insights to act upon. In other words, optimisation is not a one-off job, but a continuous process. Additionally, you can link different SaaS solutions (eg accounting packages) with one another, letting them share the data insights. This way you can process data from a completely another business area in a different context, therefore potentially deepening your knowledge only further. With no integrated software, you would never be able to access these insights.


The manufacturing industry needs time tracking systems. From on-site teams to back-office employees, it offers benefits to everyone in your company. However, we also understand that the industry isn’t welcoming to changes, especially to the processes it is used to. If you simply impose the new procedure and software on your workers, not only are you likely to face the backlash but also waste your money on tools they refuse to use. This is why you should think and strategise the introduction of digital timesheets thoroughly. 

In a nutshell, you need to communicate to your workers what will they gain from this change. This and to ensure figuring the software out isn’t a job of its own. You should therefore aim for less complex solutions that cater to your needs rather than feature-packed tools that are likely to overwhelm the users. No matter how easy-to-use your new software is, however, you must make sure your staff is comfortable with using it. With this, you will be on the route to digitisation and industry innovation. 

There’s no time better than now to begin this journey. Take the first step.

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Timesheet Portal online software provided by Anfold Software Ltd, a registered company in the UK.