What is Work Study?
Work study can show where productive efficiency can be improved.
Work study is split into two sections:
- Examines a task and finds the most effective method to use and reduce costs. It can cover worker motivation as well as basic production methods.
- Techniques to establish the time for a qualified and motivated worker to carry out a task at a defined rate of working.
- This is often used to set targets.
- E.g. a pitch inspector at a sports event.
- Work measurement is also known as time study or motion study.
Benefits of work study
- Increased productivity and efficiency.
- Reduced manufacturing costs.
- Improved workplace layout.
- Better manpower and capacity planning.
- Fair wages to employees.
- Better working conditions for employees.
- Improved workflow.
- Reduced material handling costs.
- Better industrial relations and employee morale.
- Provides better job satisfaction to employees.
Factors to consider
It is important that managers should be aware that sometimes productive efficiency might be affected by factors that work study doesn't pick up on, such as:
- Poor management
- Dated machinery
Managers need to be careful not to hold workers responsible for issues beyond their control.
- Considers how long a job or task should take to complete.
- The process involves establishing basic and standard times for a given job or task.
- Employee cooperation is required to establish an appropriate time for a job.
- It's important to establish an accurate time for any given job, and the study must therefore reflect how long it takes an average employee, working with some degree of enthusiasm.
- The process involves:
- Selecting the task to be examined and observed.
- Measuring the time for each stage of the job.
- Rating the performance of the employee.
- Deciding what criteria is to be used to rate the performance.
- Applying the formula to calculate the basic and standard times.
Factors that need to be considered
- The number of times in which a job is observed.
- When the job is observed.
- The person observed undertaking the job.
- What is observed.
Basic and Standard time
- Calculated to see how long a particular job takes, in order to work out labour costs.
- May be one small task related to the assembly of a product.
- Basic time for all tasks is recorded, to calculate the total time needed to complete the whole job.
- This information can also be used to help construct a network diagram.
- Basic time = Observed time x Observed rating / Normal/Standard rating (100)
BSI rating scores
- 125: Very fast, above-average worker.
- 100: Standard performance, good pace attained by a skilled and motivated average worker. Quality of work is maintained.
- 75: Normal performance, steady pace of unmotivated supervised worker.
- 50: Very slow, showing no interest in task performed.
- For an accurate time to be established, additions need to be made to basic time.
- Standard time = Basic time + Additions for 'breaks'
Method study considers how a job or task should be done, and the order of tasks required to complete the job. It is also used to improve how a job is performed.
Analysis and observation of the actions and movements of employees led to the creation of symbols to represent basic movements that the employees made as they worked.
These observations helped bring about the study of ergonomics, the relationship between people and machines. It concentrates on how productivity can be increased by ensuring that the machines and tasks to be performed by the employees are undertaken in the most effective and time-efficient manner.
- A circle represents an operation/task.
- An arrow represents a movement (of equipment / documents etc.).
- A triangle represents storage (of documents etc.).
- A D-shape represents a delay.
- A square represents an inspection.
Action to take upon completing method study
- Examine the observations: It is important to try and find why a job is done in a particular way.
- Consider better alternative methods: Finding a cheaper, faster, more time-efficient and ergonomic method of completing the task.
- Introduce new methods.