• Introduce the more common types of work methods that are practiced in the workplace.
• Understand the fundamental issues involved in developing work measurements.
• Identify the basic elements associated with conducting a time study.
• Determine how to design a work sampling study and apply it to .an actual operation.
Work needs to be properly designed and measured, regardless of the type of organization in which it is done, be it manufacturing or services. The proper design or' work ensures that tasks are completed with a minimum of wasted effort. Proper work design. as discussed in the previous chapter, also ensures that the work is accomplished without causing injury to the employee.
Work measurement is equally important for several reasons. First. it is used to determine the labor cost, which is usually a major component of the overall cost of producing a good or a service. Second. knowing how long it takes to complete a specific task or assignment provides management with the ability to determine the number of workers needed to meet a given level of demand. For example. the number of customer service representatives that FedEx needs at its call centers is dependent on the demand as expressed in the number of calls it receives daily and the length of time to process each call, which is referred to as the average handling time (AHT). A third reason for work measurement is to identify those workers who are meeting or exceeding standards and who should be appropriately recognized and rewarded.
It also identifies those who fall below the standards and require additional training. In the early part of this century, beginning with Frederick W. Taylor and continuing with Frank and Lillian Gilbreth, work measurements were done almost exclusively in manufacturing companies. While the specific methodology associated with work measurement has basically not changed since its inception with Taylor, the manner in which work measurements are conducted has changed significantly (see OM in Practice: Work Measurement Then and Now).