Work Study

Work Study forms the basis for work system design. The purpose of work design is to identify the most effective means of achieving necessary functions. Work study aims at improving the existing and proposed ways of doing work and establishing standard times for work performance. Work design involves job design, work measurement and the establishment of time standards and worker compensation. Work Study is encompassed by two techniques -method study and work measurement (time study):

  1. Method study is the systematic recording and critical examination of existing and proposed ways of doing work, as a means of developing and applying easier and methods and reducing costs.
  2. Work measurement (or Time study) is the application of techniques designed to establish the time for a qualified worker to carry out a specified job at a defined level of performance.

There is a close link between method study and work measurement. Method study is concerned with the reduction of the work content and establishing the one best way of doing the job whereas work measurement is concerned with investigation and reduction of any ineffective time associated with the job and establishing time standards for an operation carried out as per the standard method.

“According to the British Standards Institute, Work study is the generic term for those techniques, particularly method study and work measurement, which are used in the examination of human work in all its contexts, and which lead systematically to to the investigation of all the factors which affect the efficiency and economy of the situation being reviewed, in order to effect improvement.”

Importance of Work Study

  • Work study is a means of enhancing the production efficiency (productivity) of the firm by elimination of waste and unnecessary operations.
  • It is a technique to identify non-value adding operations by investigation of all the factors affecting the job.
  • It is the only accurate and systematic procedure oriented technique to establish time standards.
  • It is going to contribute to the profit as the savings will start immediately and continue throughout the life of the product.

Advantages of Work Study

  • It helps to achieve the smooth production flow with minimum interruptions.
  • It helps to reduce the cost of the product by eliminating waste and unnecessary operations.
  • It creates better worker-management relations.
  • It assists in meeting the delivery commitment.
  • It helps in reducing rejections and scrap, and higher utilization of resources of the organization.
  • It helps to achieve better working conditions.
  • It helps in designing better workplace layout.
  • It helps in improving upon the existing process or methods and helps in standardization and simplification.
  • It helps in establishing the standard time for an operation or job which is used in manpower planning and production planning.

Work Study Procedure

Work-study is a procedure oriented and systematic study to establish the one best way (standard) method of doing an operation by investigation and analysis of all the details regarding the job or operation carried out as per the established standard method.

Steps Involved in Work Study

  1. SELECT Job or Process to be studied;
  2. RECORD all the details concerning job using various recording techniques;
  3. EXAMINE recorded facts critically by asking questions like who, what, when, why;
  4. DEVELOP most economical method;
  5. MEASURE the amount of work involved and set standard time to do that job;
  6. DEFINE new method and standard time;
  7. INSTALL the new method as a standard practice;
  8. MAINTAIN new method as agreed standard.

Work Simplification and Work Study

Any production system is characterized by the coordination of machines and materials and men. Rapid change in technology and introduction of new technologies are making the processes and methods more complex. Human factor has become all the more important though automation and computer controls are catching up.

The process management is key to the success of the product and company. Method study aims at identifying the key processes and process parameters. A detailed investigation is carried out to get all the necessary details in order to analyze the existing process and break the process into parts (operations) which helps to plan and control. A detailed analysis with respect to process inputs (men, material, and money) and also the process parameters is carried out to improve the process and to get the desired level of output both in terms of quality and quantity.

The work simplification starts with the analysis of the product and a detailed evaluation with regards to whether it can be changed in such a way as to make it easier to produce by reducing the waste, eliminating non-value adding operations, design modification, etc. Thus work-study is a powerful tool to make work simplification.

Influence of Method and Time Study on Production Activities

The basic objective of production management is to manufacture the right quantity and quality of goods at the predetermined time and pre-established cost. Work-study is tool to achieve this objective. During the product design and process design, the methods of manufacture are fixed and process planning is done using the standard times and standard method. Methods analysis guide with respect to how the work is to be best accomplished and time standards indicate how long it will take to complete the job.

Process analysis and standard times help to have a control on quality and quantity of manufactured products. Based upon the standard times, standard costs are determined and this helps to analyze the variance between actual and standard costs. Controlling of product cost (which is a function of method and standard time) is very much essential to be in competition. Standard time forms the basis for compensation. This helps to link wages and the work content. Thus work-study applied in right spirit helps to accomplish the production objectives.

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