Production Studies


The British Standards Institute in its BS 3138 1992 defines production study as: a continuous study of relatively lengthy duration often made with the object of checking an existing or proposed standard time or its constituents parts, or obtaining information concerning the rate of output.


Before work values can be used, it is essential to carry out production studies to ensure that the calculations (Work Measurement) have been correctly made and that the people working to the values can achieve a reasonable performance.


The minimum length of a production study is half a day or half a shift, and the details, results and conclusion should be filed with the set-up.

Assessments of utilisation of equipment or employees may be made using activity sampling. Such surveys produce acceptable results; the accuracy may be predetermined and selected by the practitioner before the study begins. Under certain circumstances it is necessary to obtain a detailed account of a complete period of work such as a shift or day, from which data may be extracted for checking and audit purposes. A continuous study used for this purpose is known as a production study.

The British Standards Institution defined the production study in their Term number 31107 as follows:

“A continuous study of relatively lengthy duration often made with the object of checking an existing or proposed standard time or its constituent parts, or obtaining information concerning the rate of output.”

The alternative term sometimes used is overall study.

Data may be more appropriate for checking purposes if the operator being studied is rated so that basic times may be used in place of observed times. The rating is often an average over that particular period of study. When the period extends beyond, say, ten minutes, it is advisable to subdivide, or to rate every minute or so to obtain the average.

There may be many reasons for obtaining data through the use of a production study, and much incidental information emerges from such a study, which highlights problems hitherto unrecognised. Potential sources of trouble may be anticipated and obviated through information fed back to management by the sharp-eyed observer.

Production studies may be used for:

  1. Obtaining a detailed account of a representative period;
  2. Validation of issued standard and allowed times;
  3. Checking of contingencies for adequate coverage;
  4. Assessing the amount of waiting time and other ineffective time;
  5. Checking relaxation allowance and other allowances (such as interference and unoccupied time);
  6. Checking levels of output and investigating unusual or unexpected changes in performance;
  7. Validation of synthetic-data formulae and values in the working situation;
  8. Routine checking and auditing of existing standard and allowed times as a regular service, updating where necessary;
  9. Generally ensuring that the standard time adequately covers all work contained in the job and that nothing has been omitted from the work specification;
  10. Ensuring that the frequencies of occurrence are correct.

Incidental information fed back to management may include observations on operator discipline (lateness, absence etc), morale, ideas for methods improvements, line balancing, and other factors which may improve productivity or assist in motivation.

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