Method Study is a technique which analyses each operation of a given piece of work very closely in order to eliminate unnecessary operations and to approach the quickest and easiest method of performing each necessary operation; it includes the standardization of equipment, method and working conditions; and training of the operator to follow the standard method.
Method Study may also be defined as the systematic investigation of the existing method of doing a job in order to develop and install an easy, rapid, efficient and effective and less fatiguing procedure for doing the same and at lower costs. This is generally achieved by eliminating unnecessary motions involved in a certain procedure or by changing the sequence of operations or the process itself.
Frank Gilbreth defines method study as “the science of eliminating wastefulness resulting from ill-directed and inefficient motions”. The main purpose is to find the scheme of least wastage of human resource. The modern concept of method study is a development of Gilbreth’s Technique of Motion Study.
Objectives of Method Study
The following are the objectives of Method Study:
- Improvement of manufacturing processes and methods
- Improvement of working conditions
- Improvement to plant layout and work place layout
- Reducing the human effort and fatigue
- Reduced health hazards
- Reducing material handling
- Improvement of plant and equipment design
- Improvement in the utility of materials, machines and man power and
- Ensuring safety
Method Study Procedure
The following are the procedures and steps in Method Study.
1. Select the work worth studying and define the objectives to be achieved. An objective may be to reduce the manufacturing cost or to reduce bottleneck or to reduce fatigue incurred by the workers in order to increasing their efficiency.
2. Record all the relevant information pertaining to the existing method in details and in the form of a chart to obtain a more clear picture about the same. Recording can be done with the help of the following aids:
- Process Charts,
- Motion and Film Analysis, and
3. Examine the recorded events critically and in sequence. It involves answer to a number of questions. An activity can be eliminated, simplified or combined with another. The likely questions to be asked are:
- Purpose – What is done?
- Person – Who does it?
- Place – Where it is done?
- Means – How is it done?
- Sequence – When is it done?
4. Develop the best method as resulted form critical examination and record it. The developed method should be practical, safe effective and economical.
5. Installation of the (best) developed method or the improved method. It involves planning, arranging and implementing. During planning and arranging, necessary arrangements of resources, equipments, tools and instruction to workers overtime etc. are made. The actual installation involves the introduction of developed method as standard practice.
6. Maintain the new method. We should ensure the proper functioning of the installed method by periodic checks and verifications. If there are any deviations, the reasons for deviation should be explored and corrected. Views of the workers, supervisors and other person related with the authorize method can be of immense help in exploring further improvements.
Frank Gilbreth developed a set of 17 elementary motions commonly found in manual operations and called them ‘Therbligs’ reversed spelling of his name. We know that motion study is used for deciding the best way of doing work for which present and proposed methods are observed by experts by recording on charts. For the purpose of recording the motions, he split up different motion of process into 17 fundamental elements made by various members of human body and each event was allotted a symbol and letter abbreviation. These symbols and abbreviations are used for preparing Motion Study charts.