Evolution Of Work Study

Contributor & Date to: Contribution to:
Work Measurement
Motion / Method Study
Monks recorded 'overall times' in the construction of stonework for their monasteries.
Robert Owen Introduced provision for rest to cover effects of fatigue in 'time allowed'. Interested in layout and improved methods.
  1. Jean R Peronnet
  2. Charles Babbage
(1792 - 1871)
Overall timed studies of complete cycle of operations in the manufacture of pins.
(Peronnet 1760; Babbage circa 1800)
Frederick W Taylor
(1856 - 1915)
Advocated a scientific attitude. Emphasis on analysis and measurement:
  1. Broke down overall elapsed time for work cycle into 'elements';
  2. Concerned with operator's workload, the content of the workload and its effects on productivity of operators;
  3. Concerned with the selection of best labour for type of work.
Frank R Gilbreth
(1869 - 1924)
Intensive study of 'motion' involved in work tasks which resulted in evolving 'principles of motion economy'. Also investigated fatigue and its elimination. (His wife, Lillian, a pathologist, co-operated with him in this work and carried on with it after his death).
Henry L Gantt
(1861 - 1919)
Originator of the Gantt chart - a visual display based on time rather than dimensions, weight etc.
Useful tool when planning loading on a layout and deciding equipment necessary to meet the planned factory load.
Charles E Bedaux Previous to Bedaux, time study composed simply of average elapsed time for each element; Bedaux introduced Rating Assessment. As each element was timed it was given a rating value for speed and effectiveness with which each element was carried out. A Rest Allowance was also included.
More general trends since above
  1. A conscious attempt at standardising Work Study terminology and procedures.
  2. A development of Synthetic times.
  3. Application of Work Measurement to non-repetitive (engineering maintenance) and clerical tasks.
A more intensive study of the human element in the work situation e.g.
  • Work Simplification - involving training operatives in simple, basic motion study techniques in an attempt to involve the worker in increasing his/her own productivity.
  • Ergonomics - involves scientific investigation of the physical and psychological capabilities called for in a work situation, in an attempt to design the job to the worker's capabilities.
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