Time Studies

Written by Kimberly Clark
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Time studies, or work measurement techniques, are widely used in industrial settings to determine the performance rating of a particular activity. In most instances, the studies are used to measure the amount of time it takes to complete certain manual tasks. Afterwards, this information is analyzed in hopes of determining ways to effectively streamline the work processes.

The practice of conducting time studies is an age-old one, which dates way back to the 19th century. As such, the mere mention of the process tends to conjure up thoughts of foremen walking around with stopwatches and clipboards, painstakingly measuring and recording the time it takes for a worker to assemble items streaming down a conveyor belt on an assembly line. This information was then taken to an industrial engineer, who would manually plug the data into a series of calculations in hopes of identifying potential bottlenecks in the system.

With the aid of technology, those outdated stopwatches, clipboards, and manual calculations can now be efficiently replaced with new handheld computing devices. These devices allow the user to walk around the production floor and keystroke time study data directly into a notebook or through simply touching a screen. Depending on the software used, the information gathered is automatically analyzed or is easily uploaded to another computer system that will calculate production rates.

What Are Time Studies Used For

In today's industry, time studies are quite often used determine average time it takes to complete a task, which in turn is used to set production costs. Studies are also conducted to establish piece rates, identify choke points, and streamline work processes. In addition, time studies are an effective method for quantitatively evaluating individual and system performance levels.

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