Hi Jared, you may be able to use the Complete Search card to see how much time a file spent between certain workflow states, which might give you a rough idea of how much design time was spent.
In the revisions table there you can find the time the file was checked out (LockDate) and the time it finished checking in (FlushedDate) but that's about it. Any kind of realistic time tracking would probably have to occur inside SolidWorks.
+1 to Charley, I don't think you could get any accuracy if you charted time through PDM....but I haven't come up with an idea to make an accurate SW add-in either...
Say you create a SW addin that tracks the time the file is open....but imagine the guy opens a file then leaves his desk to go to a meeting...or opens two files but spends most of his time working on just one of them (which part to you charge time to?)....or opens an assembly and edits parts in contexts (do you charge the assembly or the part?)....
If you're looking for any type of accuracy I think I would want a SW add-in to sit in the SW task pane, and the guy clicks a button when he starts, then clicks the button again when he is finished on a per file basis....and I'll bet you a zillion $s that guys will constantly forget to either start or stop the timer.
IMHO, too much micro management at that point.
The only thing I can think of for an automatic method is an addin that would track the time the document is active. Most likely, it would have to tie the active time of all documents that have the same project number stored in each file's custom properties.
I looked at doing this myself for my own team but after developing a micro-management time keeping software, decided it really was not what really I wanted or wanted to support.
Jared, we trialed BigTime & BillQuick, online timekeeping & billing software apps but we eventually selected Mavenlink for timekeeping and project management due to the integration with our accounting system. The great thing about Maven is it has a timer built in for easily entering time on jobs so my team uses the timer start/pause/stop & enter time on project for tracking time. It also offers task tracker with built-in gantt chart and dashboard.
Here are the links:
There are others that integrate with online accounting systems too...
I don't think there are too many automatic logging tools available based on the CAD modeling time...too many weeds in that swamp.
Anyway, hope this helps you.