If you are a company in the trades or manufacturing there is no metric more important to track than direct labor hours. As a Part time CFO performing CFO Services I find that the most important metrics to properly evaluate the performance and productivity of a business in the trades as well as a manufacturing business involve direct labor hours.
Direct Labor Hours are defined as hours worked by those employees who work on the actual production of a product or who work on performing the service. Sometimes this can be tracked from payroll records, however payroll records may include travel time and down time. If possible it is best to exclude travel time and down time and account for that time separately.
Some of the key metrics I like to track are as follows:
Sales per hour – Calculated by taking sales and dividing it by Direct Labor Hours. Through this metric you will be able to identify if your pricing has integrity and you will also be able to tell how efficient your direct laborers are.
Overhead per hour – Calculated by taking your total overhead and dividing it by direct labor hours. Through this metric you will know what your overhead cost per hour is and apply that overhead cost per hour to your selling price to make sure you are covering your overhead. The small business owner is always confused on how to make sure overhead is covered in their selling price.
Material Cost Per hour – Calculated by taking the cost of the materials needed to produce the product or perform the service and dividing it by Direct Labor Hours. When this metric is too high it can mean that you are inefficiently consuming materials or it can mean that you are not buying effectively (prices are too high)
Direct Labor hours are the heart and soul of managing a business in the trades or a manufacturing business. By tracking Direct Labor hours you will identify key metrics so you can evaluate the performance and productivity of your business. Utilization of metrics will help you be able to spend more time finding new business. Your Part time CFO will be able to help you calculate metrics.