Saturday, September 30, 2017

October - Industrial Engineering Knowledge Revision Plan with Links


Principles of Motion Economy, Motion Study, Ergonomics, Job Evaluation, Wage Incentives

Principles of Industrial Engineering


October - First Week

1 October - Industrial Engineering Knowledge Revision Plan
Human Effort Industrial Engineering

We studied Taylor's Scientific Management in the introduction to industrial engineering. In Human Effort Industrial Engineering, we need to study "Motion Study" by Frank Gilbreth in full to understand the origin of the discipline.

2 October - Industrial Engineering Knowledge Revision Plan
MOTION STUDY - Frank B. Gilbreth - Part 1

3 October - Industrial Engineering Knowledge Revision Plan
Variables of the Worker.
MOTION STUDY VARIABLES - Frank B. Gilbreth - Part 2

MOTION STUDY VARIABLES - Frank B. Gilbreth - Part 3

Variables described by Gilbreth tell us about the early scientific framework of human productivity science. We need to identify the variables that were subsequently added to this framework and scientific laws developed based on them.

4 October - Industrial Engineering Knowledge Revision Plan
MOTION STUDY VARIABLES - Frank B. Gilbreth - Part 4

5 October - Industrial Engineering Knowledge Revision Plan
MOTION STUDY VARIABLES - Frank B. Gilbreth - Part 5

MOTION STUDY VARIABLES - Frank B. Gilbreth - Part 6

October - Second Week

8 October - Industrial Engineering Knowledge Revision Plan

9 October - Industrial Engineering Knowledge Revision Plan
Principles of Motion Economy
Principles of Motion Economy - More Details - R.M. Barnes

Motion Study - Human Effort Engineering

The Two-Handed Process Chart for Motion Study
Motion Study - Operation Analysis - Questions

Principles of Human Effort Engineering
Operator Productivity Improvement Using Appropriate Hand Tools

Introduction to Jigs and Fixtures


October - 3rd Week - Ergonomics

Human Effort - Nature and Effects

Basic Ergonomic Principles

Ergnomic Guidelines for Manual Material Handling


Ibrahim H. Garbie
Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, Sultan Qaboos University[ruhi%2012th%20sept]/word%20format%20papers/REGISTRATION%20PAID%20PAPERS%20FOR%20PROCEEDINGS/pdf/92%2015%20AN%20EXPERIMENTAL%20STUDY%20ON%20ASSEMBLY%20WORKSTATION%20CONSIDERING%20ERGONOMICALLY%20ISSUES.pdf

October - Fourth Week - Human Productivity Management

Job Evaluation

Pay Reforms

Wage Incentives - Literature Review


Psychology of Management - Lilian Gilbreth Summary

One Year Industrial Engineering Knowledge Revision Plan

January - February - March - April - May - June

July - August - September - October - November - December

Updated  30 September 2017,  23 August 2017,  11 Sep 2016

September - Industrial Engineering Knowledge Revision Plan

September 1st Week

Industrial Engineering Optimization

Mathematical optimization was used by F.W. Taylor. As operations research was developed and more optimization techniques were developed, industrial engineers advocated the use of them in companies to improve productivity, reduce costs, and increase profits. All industrial engineering redesigns are to be optimized and industrial engineers use various optimization techniques to optimize their engineering redesigns to increase productivity.

Complete Course in OR/Optimization -


Operations Research - An Efficiency Improvement Tool for Industrial Engineers

(from the perspective of an industrial engineer)
(From Maynard's Industrial Engineering Handbook, 5th Edition, pp. 11.27-11.44)
Jayant Rajgopal (From Rajgopal's website)


What is mathematical programming?
Examples of Mathematical Programming.


Simplex Method

4.  Transportation Problem

5. Queing Models

September 2nd  Week

8. Simulation

9. An Overview of Optimization Techniques for CNC Milling Machine

10. New Technology and Optimization of Mobile Phone Battery

11. Combustion Optimization in PF Boilers

12. Application of Optimization Techniques in the Power System Control

September Third Week

Industrial Engineering Statistics

F.W. Taylor himself advocated maintaining of records and data for decision making. The other industrial engineering pioneers also promoted record keeping and data analysis. As sampling based  decision making became more robust, industrial engineers promoted it as a productivity improvement initiative and imperative. One of the prominent areas of application is statistical quality control. Now six sigma, a statistics based technique is being promoted by the IE profession.

15.  Basics of Statistics

16.  Statistical Process Control

Evaluation Improvement of Production Productivity Performance using Statistical Process Control, Overall Equipment Efficiency, and Autonomous Maintenance,
Amir Azizi
Procedia Manufacturing
Volume 2, 2015, Pages 186-190
open access

17. Statistical Quality Control

18. Calculation of Sample Sizes in Work Measurement and Work Sampling  (WorK measurement full chapter - Includes sample size calculation for time study and work sampling)

19. Test of Hypothesis

Test of hypothesis is to be used by industrial engineers to confirm or validate that their redesign or a process has resulted in the increase of productivity. This becomes useful when there is variation in the output from various workstations or persons.  We can also visualize activities in different places. In such case we test the hypothesis that productivity has improved in the workstations where redesign is is implemented.

HYPOTHESIS TESTING FOR THE PROCESS CAPABILITY RATIO - 2002 MS Thesis!etd.send_file%3Faccession%3Dohiou1040054409%26disposition%3Dinline

One More presentation

September Fourth Week

22. Design of Experiments

23. Six Sigma

24. Application of Six Sigma

25. Application of Six Sigma

26. Application of Six Sigma


One Year Industrial Engineering Knowledge Revision Plan

January - February - March - April - May - June

July - August - September - October - November - December

Updated  5 September 2017,  23 August 2017, 11 September 2016,  30 September 2014

Principles of Industrial Engineering




67 likes for the post in Industrial Engineering Network Group

Friday, September 29, 2017

MOTION STUDY VARIABLES - Frank B. Gilbreth - Part 6

Frank Gilbreth - Motion Study



The necessity of the motion is such an important variable that an investigator is tempted at first glance to divide all motions into necessary and unnecessary, and to eliminate with one stroke those that appear to him unnecessary. A more thorough investigation will be apt to prove that no such summary elimination is advisable.

A motion may be an unnecessary motion in a necessary sequence, or it may be a necessary motion in a certain sequence, but the whole sequence may be unnecessary or inadvisable.

Example. In opening a paper bag of cement the average untrained laborer usually cuts the bag in two and removes the paper in several pieces and with many motions. The correct way is to cut the bottom with a shovel and pull the bag upward in one piece by grasping the bag just above the string.

This example shows both how motions may be unnecessary in themselves and how they may belong to a sequence that is unnecessary.

The only final solution as to the necessity of a motion will come when the trades are completely standardized. It is impossible to determine whether or not a motion is absolutely necessary until the method of doing the work in which it is used is standard.

Examples. i. Motions which were relatively proved necessary in laying brick by the " pick-and-dip " method or " stringing-mortar " method, the brick being lifted from the stock platform, became absolutely unnecessary when the "packet-on-the-wall" method of handling brick was adopted.

2. The same thing is true of motions eliminated by handling mortar in a fountain trowel.

The final solution of the problem of necessity of motions will be discussed later, though the subject is so large that no amount of discussion could do more than touch it.


The determination of the path which will result in the greatest economy of motion and the greatest increase of output is a subject for the closest investigation and the most scientific determination. Not until data are accumulated by trained observers can standard paths be adopted. The laws underlying physics, physiology, and psychology must be considered and followed. In the meantime, merely applying the results of observation will reduce motions and costs and increase output to an
amazing degree.

The path most desirable is usually that which permits gravitation to assist in carrying the material to place.

Example. We have found that the most economical height for laying brick is twenty-four inches above where the bricklayer stands, while it is most economical to pick the brick from a height about three feet above where the bricklayer stands; that is, about one foot higher than the top of the wall where the brick is to be laid.

The path is affected by the direction that the material is to be shoved as it moves into its final resting place.

Examples. When the packet is placed on the wall it should be placed so that the brick can be picked up and moved in a comparatively straight line with the direction that the brick will be shoved for filling a joint.

In theory the ideal path would be in a line of quickest speed from the stock platform to the wall.

In practice it is seldom that the most economical path for carrying a brick or mortar from the stock platform to the wall is exactly a straight line from one to the other. It will generally be most economical to move the brick in the path that will bend the arms the least and that will
permit almost a swing from the shoulder.


Each motion should be made so as to be most economically combined with the next motion, like the billiard player who plays for position.

The direction in which a motion is made may affect the time required for a subsequent motion.

Example. In laying brick the motion of placing the mortar for the end joint can be done quickest if it is done in the direction of the next motion, such, for example, as the next motion that puts the trowel in the position to cut off the hanging mortar.

The sequence of motions in bricklaying, that determines when the particular motion is to be made that puts the mortar in the end joint, depends upon whether the "pick-and-dip" or the " stringing-mortar " method is used.

When the motions are made in the correct sequence, many of them can be combined so that two, and in some cases three, motions can be made as one motion, in but little more time than is required for one motion.

Example. Cutting off mortar, buttering the end of the laid brick, and reaching for more mortar all as one motion, in the " pick-and-dip " method.


Usually, the faster the motions, the more output. There are other advantages to speed of motions besides the fact that they require less time. Speed increases momentum, and this momentum may be utilized to do work.

Example. The momentum of the brick helps to shove the mortar better into the joint.

Again, high outputs are generally the result of the habit of speed in motions. Habits of speed are hard to form, and they are hard to break.

Next to fewest motions, speed of motions is the most important factor of high record of outputs.

The list of variables here given makes no claim to being complete. The field of study is so immense that it is impossible as yet to give a complete and detailed method of attack.

It will be noted in reading the discussion of the variables that it has been found extremely difficult to handle each one separately. It is needless to tell the student, the investigator, the cost-reducing manager, that, difficult as the task is, for the best results each variable must be studied alone. The effects of all variables but one must be eliminated, or, better perhaps, all variables but one must be maintained constant.

Quicker results may often be obtained by studying several variables simultaneously, and for short jobs this may be advisable. But for long jobs of repetitive work there is no way so accurate and satisfactory as studying one variable at a time.

Please Give Your Comments.

What is the relevance of Gilbreth's initial writing on Motion Study today?
What are new developments in this area?
What are new scientific discoveries related to human effort productivity?
What are new developments in human effort productivity engineering?
What are new development sin human effort productivity management?

Updated 30 September 2017, 19 August 2015

MOTION STUDY VARIABLES - Frank B. Gilbreth - Part 5


A DISCUSSION of variables of the motion opens up a field so large that it is only possible here to attempt to show the method of investigation, and to show that each variable is a necessary factor in making motions standard, leaving to the universities and to properly created and equipped bureaus of the national government the task of reducing motion study to an exact science.


In considering acceleration of speed as an element of any motion, we must determine:

1. The amount of acceleration that it is possible or economical to obtain.

2. The means by which the acceleration can be obtained.

3. The effect of the acceleration on

a. Economy in time required to make the motion.

b. Economy in time required for rest to overcome the fatigue of having made the motion.

Examples. i. Laying brick on a wall from a floor, from the height of the floor level up to three feet eight inches high above the floor, can be done with greatest speed when the brick to be picked up are each maintained at a height of one foot three inches, plus two-thirds the height that the wall is higher than the level of t he floor on which the bricklayer stands. The brick to be picked up should
never be higher than three feet eight inches under any circumstances.

By maintaining the height of the brick to be laid in this relative position to the height of the wall, the brick will always be in a position that permits the bricklayer to accelerate the speed of transportation of the brick by using the path of the quickest speed.

While bricklayers know nothing about this in theory, they very soon discover it in practice by means of their higher recorded output. Greater outputs will be noticeable as an immediate result of maintaining the brick as nearly as possible at the heights above stated.

2. In laying the filling tiers in any one course, it is most economical to lay the farthest filling tier first and the next farthest tier second, and so on. This enables the brick-layer to accelerate the speed of transportation of the brick up to the instant that it is deposited in the mortar.

The above practice is, of course, much more important on shove-joint work than on brick-and-brick construction.

3. The possible benefits from acceleration should be taken into consideration when determining the sequence in which the tiers shall be laid. The position of the feet of the bricklayer is an important factor in obtaining the acceleration desired. For the best results the feet should be on separate springy planks, so that the transportation of the brick can be speeded up, in addition to the speed of the arms by simply throwing the body by the aid of the spring of the plank. (See Fig. 13.)


Nearly all often-repeated motions become automatic. This is especially true of motions that require no careful supervision of mind or eye.

The automaticity of motions is of great assistance to the worker whose training and methods conform to standardized motions. This fact makes it necessary to have the apprentice taught the right motions first, last, and always.

The automaticity of motions is a hindrance to the worker who has been accustomed to old-fashioned surroundings, equipment, and tools, and who must adapt himself to standard surroundings.

Example. A remarkable example of making unnecessary motions as a matter of habit is noticeable in places where the local bricklayers have been accustomed to laying brick that have a decided difference in the top and bottom. This difference makes it necessary to lay no brick upside
down on the line. When these bricklayers first worked from packets with the brick in the right position to seize right-side up, they would invariably flop and spin each brick in their hands, first wrong-side up and then back again to the original right-side-up position.

The worker who has been trained wrong also finds it difficult to change his habits when he conforms to standard methods.

Example. Occasionally we find the bricklayer who will spin or flop a brick that is to be laid in the middle of the wall, although it makes no difference which face of the brick is uppermost in these tiers.

The best way to cure motions that are not necessary but that are made from force of habit is to count the motions aloud, endeavoring to keep down to the standard number of standard motions.

When work is done by both hands simultaneously, it can be done quickest and with least mental effort if the work is done by both hands in a similar manner; that is to say, when one hand makes the same motions to the right as the other does to the left.

Most work is accomplished when both hands start work at the same time, and when the motions can be made at the same relative position on each side of a central fore and aft vertical plane dividing the worker's body symmetrically.

Even if motions cannot be planned to be similar for each hand and performed simultaneously, the plane in which the work is to be done should be carefully located.

If motions are so arranged as to be balanced, as suggested, it is possible not only to take advantage of automaticity, but also to cut down jar to the body. It is on this well-known principle that the shockless jarring machine is built. Balanced motions counteract each other. The result is, less bracing of the body is necessary, and less fatigue ensues.


A motion may be combined with motions that are (a) similar to it, and (b) dissimilar to it.

(a) If the motions combined are similar to it, advantage must be taken of the automaticity. Care must also be taken that all the motions made in a series of similar motions are necessary. Sometimes one effective motion is preferable to several not so effective.

Examples. i . When tapping a brick down to grade with a trowel, one brisk tap will do the work as well as several light taps, and with much less time and effort.

2. If it is necessary to spread mortar on a face tier, one stroke of the trowel will do the work as well as several.

(b) If the motions combined are dissimilar, two motions may often be transformed into one.

Example. - - The motion used to spread mortar may be combined with the motion used to butter the end of the brick laid just before the mortar was thrown. Thus, the two operations may be transformed into one, and a saving of time and motions will result. In fact, so doing may have other distinct advantages, such as leaving better keying for plastering direct upon the wall.

This subject of combinations of motions can barely be touched here. Its full treatment involves all other variables, and it can never be considered standardized till each separate motion is a standard.


The cost of motions, absolute and relative, is a subject too large for any person, firm, or corporation to hope to cover. If complete data are ever to be gathered on it, the cost keeping, recording, and deducing will have to be done
by the government.

But all work done by the individual investigator will result in real cost reducing, with increase of output, which is the ultimate purpose of all motion study.

The relative cost of labor and material must be considered.

Examples. i. A bricklayer should never stop to pick up dropped mortar. The mortar dropped is not so valuable as the motions necessary to save it.

2. That quality of mortar that is easiest handled by the bricklayer is usually cheapest. The cost of grinding up the lumps in the sand, cement, and lime is less than the cost of the motions necessary to pick the lumps out with a trowel.

3. It is usually cheaper to fill a closer, say less than one- half a brick in size, on the interior tiers, with even the best of cement, than it is to cut a special piece of brick to fit or to walk a few steps to find one the right size. The extra cost of the mortar is negligible compared with the cost of the motions.

The relative cost of motions of higher and lower grades of labor must also be considered.

It is obvious that, other things being equal, it is cheaper to have a low-priced man instead of a high-priced man make the same motion; but only the most careful study can determine all of the motions that could be taken from the high-priced man and allotted to one or more grades of lower-priced men. This can never be wholly or properly accomplished until our present trades, with their inherited conditions and traditions, have been reclassified to meet modern conditions.

In some trades it is very difficult to effect such division of work, as unions are opposed to having anything relating to skilled work done by laborers.

Examples. i. In the most highly unionized districts carpenters only are allowed to unload the rough lumber from the cars, and none but carpenters are allowed to transport, lift, and erect, as well as to fabricate it.

2. In bricklaying the case is slightly different. The work of transporting the brick to the place where they are to be laid has always been done by tenders and laborers. The bricklayer never wheels or carries brick. This is a tradition long handed down. Yet he is most jealous that no part of his own work shall be done by a tender or a laborer.

During the time that brick construction was practically without competitors in its field, the bricklayer could insist on his ancient privileges and prosper.

The inroads of concrete, both plain and reinforced, however, have changed conditions, and the bricklayer himself is, more than any other one factor, the cause of many cases of substitutions of concrete for brick.

The architecture of any country is determined by the relative cost of building materials in place, and the history of the world shows that the way to get the most of any one thing used is to make it the lowest in price.

The one thing that will reduce the price of brickwork more than any other is to reduce the cost of the motions,

After the laws underlying motion study have all been applied, the cost of motions can still be reduced from one-third to one-half by separating the motions of the bricklayer into at least two classes, such as, for example:

1. Those that require skill.

2. Those that require nothing but strength, endurance, and speed.

Those that require skill should be divided into several classes, according to the amount of skill required; those that chiefly require skill should be handled by mechanics, and those that chiefly require strength, endurance, and speed should be handled by specially trained laborers.
This is the only way to enable brickwork to compete with concrete, when all of the architects, engineers, owners, and contractors shall have learned the full possibilities of

It will be urged that such division of the work of bricklaying will lower the general skill of the bricklayers as a class. Far from it! All operations requiring skill will remain in the hands of the bricklayer, who, escaping all work that unskilled hands could do, will have the more
time and energy to devote to the "art" element of his work.

But we are not at this time discussing " brickwork as a lost art" -we cite bricklaying here as an example of the cost of motions, the result of the effects of cost of motions, and of the possibilities and importance of motion study as a method of attack in cost reducing and in standardizing the trades for the greatest possible economy.

What greater service can the bricklayer do both his trade and the people who own or occupy houses than to reduce the cost of the motions in brickwork without reducing his own wages or increasing his hours?

The elimination of wastes is the problem that has been forced to the attention of the entire world to-day, and of America particularly. The elimination of wastes in the trades offers the largest field for savings.

Every trade must be reclassified, and must have the brawn motions separated from the skill motions. Scientific division of the work to be done is as sure to result in higher wages and lower production costs as did F. W. Taylor's separating the planning from the performing.

The reason that our country is not astounded and confused at the appalling unnecessary loss to its inhabitants on account of unnecessary, wasteful, and improper motions of its workers is due to ignorance of the existence of this loss, and to ignorance of any method of eliminating it.

The loss due to the present classification of the trades alone is probably more than sufficient to pension, under full pay, one-half of the workers of the country; is certainly enough to enable all of the women and children in the trades to remain out of the trades and be paid at their regular wages.

While such action is not even recommended, the illustration is used to emphasize the enormous waste going on daily and yearly.

That we go on year after year submitting to this waste because our present trades are handled in accordance with ancient conditions entirely out of place in our present civilization, is no longer necessary and without excuse.

Let the government call its scientific managerial experts together and make a test of one trade, reclassify it, and publish the data. The object lesson thus presented will cause to be taken the necessary further steps to remedy the present system of handling the trades. The workers will
each be able to earn higher wages when the unions see that they are benefited, and the labor interests will cooperate. The cost of living will be reduced as by no other means, and all this by scientifically reclassifying the trades!


In most cases, the direction of a motion that is most economical is the one that utilizes gravitation the most. Oftentimes delivering material to a high-priced workman by leaving the material in a high position also makes easy unloading for the low-priced workman.

Example. Stacking up packs 2 feet high saves motions, and saves stooping when the laborer unloads his trucket. (See Fig. 21.)

" Direction" admirably serves as an illustration of the close interrelation of the variables. It is closely connected with "path." It involves discussions of anatomy, acceleration, and speed. It demands consideration of all variables of surroundings, equipment, and tools.

The best ''direction of motion" is not only important in itself for increase of output; it must also be kept constantly in mind in standardizing the placing of both materials and men.


Effectiveness has been touched upon in discussing " combination with other motions."

An effective motion is one that produces the desired result. Oftentimes whole processes, methods, and operations can be so changed as to make the succeeding motions much more effective.

Example. The introduction of the fountain trowel, used in connection with an ordinary trowel, made each motion in handling mortar much more effective. (See Figs. 19, 22.)


After all, a human being or a work animal is a power plant, and is subject to nearly all the laws that govern and limit the power plant. It is a law of motion study that, other things being equal, the less number of foot-pounds of work done by the workman, the smaller percentage of working hours he must devote to rest to overcome fatigue.

It is therefore of great importance in obtaining the largest possible output that the work shall be so arranged and the workman so placed that he can do his work with the least possible amount of foot-pounds of work done per unit of output accomplished. This is where the philanthropic employer has often been rewarded without knowing it. In his desire to make conditions such that the workman was most confortable while working, he reduced the number of foot-pounds of work to that which was absolutely necessary to do the work. He surrounded the workman with conditions that enabled him to have no fatigue, except that which was acquired from the motions of the work itself. He made conditions such that the workman was enabled to overcome the fatigue from his motions in the quickest possible time. (See Fig. 23.)


There are two ways by which the amount of inertia and momentum may be reduced.

i. By standardizing surroundings and equipment so that the inertia and the momentum are limited to practically that of the materials, and not the materials plus arms and body.

Example. Picking up ninety pounds of brick at one lifting.

2. By so standardizing motions that as few starts and stops as possible occur from the time the material leaves the stock pile till the time it is in its final resting place in the work.

Example. In laying brick by the " pick-and-dip " method on face tiers, a brick is lifted in one hand and a trowel full of mortar in the other. The brick must come to a full stop in the bricklayer's hand while the mortar is being laid and the bed prepared, and then move to its final resting place, unless brick and mortar are dropped in two different places.

In laying brick by the " stringing-mortar " method, the mortar is laid and the bed prepared before the bricks are lifted. The brick are conveyed from the pack to the wall without interruption or delay.

Standard methods of performing work may enable the worker to utilize the momentum.

Example. If the bricks are conveyed from the stock platform or pack to the wall with no stops, the momentum can be made to do valuable work by assisting to shove the joints full of mortar. If, instead of being utilized, the momentum must be overcome by the muscles of the bricklayer fatigue, not full joints, will result.

The ideal case is to move the brick in a straight path and make the contact with the wall overcome the


A general rule of motion economy is to make the shortest motions possible.
Eliminating unnecessary distances that workers' hands and arms must travel, will eliminate miles of motions per man in a working day as compared with usual practice.

Example. Put the wheelbarrow body as close as possible to the pile that is to be put into it, so that the distance the packets are carried from the pile to the barrow, or the sand from the pile to the barrow, will be the shortest distance possible.

Of the necessary distance to be walked or reached, have as much of it as possible done by the low-priced man, and have as little of it as possible done by the high-priced man.

Example. - With brick, have the tender put the pack of brick as near the final resting place of the brick as conditions will permit, so that when the high-priced man picks up a pack of, say, eighteen bricks, he requires a short motion only.

Have the high-priced worker always use first the stock that is nearest, this rule requiring the shortest motions in conveying the stock to its final resting place.

Example. In picking up brick from a packet or a scaffold the nearest brick should be picked up first. The brick that are farthest away serve as a reserve stock pile, to be picked up only in the emergency of not having any others nearer to pick up. It .may be that the brick farthest away may not need to be used on that piece of work at all, or at least their place will not be occupied so many times by bricks to be transported with longer motions.

Standard tools, equipment, and surroundings are essential if length of motions is to be made standard.

As already said when discussing clothes, the workman of the present should have even his overalls, belt, and clothes so designed that they will hold the different kinds of tools that are oftenest used, so that they may be picked i p in the shortest time that is, with pockets for nails, clips, clamps, etc. The tools should be so placed that the least and shortest motions can be used after they are picked up, as cartridges are placed in a cartridge belt.

Please Give Your Comments.

What is the relevance of Gilbreth's initial writing on Motion Study today?
What are new developments in this area?
What are new scientific discoveries related to human effort productivity?
What are new developments in human effort productivity engineering?
What are new development sin human effort productivity management?

Updated 30 September 2017, 19 August 2015

MOTION STUDY VARIABLES - Frank B. Gilbreth - Part 4

Frank Gilbreth - Motion Study


We turn now to the variables of the surroundings. These differ from the variables of the worker in that we can influence them more quickly and more directly. In discussing the variables of the worker, we deal more or less with the past and the future. The variables of the surroundings are each and all distinctly of the present.


The " standard conditions" maintained by the employer are a most important factor for high outputs. It is obvious that the appliances furnished the workman and the motions used are interdependent on each other.

Examples. i. The bricklayer could not be expected to pick up the brick so that he would not have to spin or flop it in his hand unless it were delivered to him in the right position on a packet.

2. The bricklayer could not be expected to have so high an output if he had to stoop over in order to pick up his stock as he would have to do if the scaffold did not have a bench that obviated bending.

3. The bricklayer could not be expected to lay brick without turning around or bending over unless he was provided with packs of bricks that could be lifted bodily and placed upon the wall in units as large as could be economically handled.

4. The bricklayer could not be expected to do away with those motions that are necessary to remove the lumps from under a brick if there were holes in the sand screen and no pug mill to break up the lumps.

It is most important that the workman should be given "handy conditions" under which to work, that is, the "most comfortable," or those that require the "least percentage of rest" to overcome fatigue.

Examples. i. The bricklayer must obviously have a scaffold to stand upon that permits adjusting the height of the platform on which he stands to a standard distance below the top of the ever-growing wall on which he is laying the brick. We have found that the best height is from twenty-four to thirty-two inches below the top of the wall. If the wall is being laid overhanded, the height should not be over twenty-four inches, while if the wall is not being laid overhanded, thirty-two inches is the better

It is obvious that the bench from which the stock is picked up should be maintained at a standard distance above the platform on which the man stands. Also the platform on which the laborer walks should be located at the standard distance below the stock platform that will enable him to deposit the brick and mortar in a manner that will cause the least fatigue. Therefore, the three platforms for bricklayer, stock, and tender should be fixed with relation to one another, and movable in relation
to the top of the wall, capable of being hoisted as the wall grows without stopping or disturbing the men.

2. The elevator for hoisting the brick and mortar should always be arranged so that it can, when desired, land above the top of a staged wall, and thus the brick and mortar can be wheeled down to the scaffold on the floor below. Then the tenders can wheel down with full loads and wheel the empty barrows up to the floor above.

3. Make a table, barrel, or box to put near the workman, no matter what his trade is, so that he will not have to stoop over and pick up his tools. Provide something to lean his shovel against or to hang his shovel on when he is alternately shoveling and wheeling to cut down time and to reduce the fatigue of stooping over and picking up the shovel.

The motions to be used and to be avoided are largely determined and affected by the appliances used; therefore for the highest outputs the right appliances must be devised, standardized, used, and maintained, otherwise the motions cannot be standardized. Furthermore, it is much easier to standardize motions with standard appliances than without them.


The clothes that the workman wears may be a hindrance or a help to him in his work. Tight or ill-fitting clothing may restrict motions. Fear of ruining clothing may seriously cut down the speed of the worker.

On the other hand, clothing designed and specially adapted to the work that the worker has to do may increase output to a surprising extent.

Not till the advantages have been appreciated of having working clothes made the subject of study from the motion-economy standpoint will manufacturers provide the garments needed. But they are only too anxious to meet every demand as soon as they are conscious of it. Once let the specialized clothes for the worker be standardized and they will be placed immediately upon the market in
inexpensive, durable, and attractive shape.

As for their reception by the worker, as soon as he realizes that they increase his efficiency, and are a badge of specialization and not of servitude, he will be ready and glad to welcome them.


The stimulating effect of color upon workers is a subject to be investigated by psychologists. The results of their study should be of great benefit, especially to indoor workers. Motions could undoubtedly be made simpler by the proper selection of the color of painting and lighting in
the workroom.

In our work we have to deal chiefly with color as a saver of motions. Color can be seen quicker than shape. Therefore, distinguishing things by their color is quicker than distinguishing them by the printing on them.

Examples. i. The various pipes in a pipe gallery can best be nvogniwf by painting them different

2, The right-hand end of the packet is pointed Mack, in order that when earned in the right hand of the laborer it can be placed so that the bricklayer can pick op cadi brick without spinning or flopping the brick in Ms hand,

3, Painting took different colors, and also the place where they are to be placed in the drawer or the chest the same color, saves motions and time of motions when patting them away and finding them next time,

4. When tow-priced men bring packages of any kind to higher-priced wen to use or handle, the packages should always be painted stenciled, or labeled with a distinguishing color on one end and on top. This will enable the low-priced workman to {dace the package in the manner called for on the instruction card with the least thought, delay, and motions. It win also enable the Ingb-priced
man to handle the package with no such lost mgffr^Mt as turning the package around or over.

5. Oftentimes the workmen who are best fitted physically for their work cannot read, or at least cannot read English. Even if they could it would take some time to read the stenciled directions on the non-stooping -*dW to the effect that "this side goes against the brick wall." It win greatly reduce the number of motions to paint the side that goes next to the wall a different color from the
side that goes away from the watt.


Music. The inspiring and stimulating effect of music has been recognized from ancient times, as is shown by the military band, the fife and drum corps, the bagpipe of the Scotchman, down to the band that rushes the athlete around the track or across the field.

The singing of gangs at certain kinds of work, the rhythmic orders that a leader of a gang shouts to his men, and the grunting in unison of the hand drillers, show the unifying as well as the motion-stimulating effect of music and rhythm.

That some of the trades can have their motions affected in time and speed by music, to a point that will materially affect the size of their outputs, is a recognized fact.

Some of the silent trades have used phonography and musical instruments to entertain the men while they were working. It was found it paid the employer to furnish stimulating records at his own expense, so that the workmen would make more and quicker motions, rather than to permit the employees to furnish phonographic records at random at their own expense.

Reading. Reading as a stimulus to output has been used with excellent results among the cigar makers.

It is also interesting to read in an article on " Three Months in Peonage" in the March, 1910, issue of the American Magazine, that story- telling may produce the same good results.

"The four packers under me," says the writer, a German white, who was working with peons at packing tobacco in Mexico, 'knew no greater joy than to listen to a fairy tale with the regulation princess and dragon, and if I could but tell them one, or one of their number did so, the
work went twice as fast, and they were happy."

The excellent and direct effects of entertainment upon health, fatigue, etc., are subjects for the scientist to study and the planning department and the welfare worker to apply. The effects of entertainment upon output should be studied by the student of motion economy. This variable alone furnishes a vast field for investigation.


Heating, cooling, ventilating, and humidizing are closely allied, because all can be done with one and the same apparatus, and all greatly increase the workman's comfort, health, and possible number of motions.

Maintaining desired temperature in summer as well as winter by forcing into workrooms air that has been passed over heating or refrigerating coils has a great effect on the workman. Many factories, such as chocolate factories, have found that cooling the air for better results to the manufacturing process also enables the workers to produce more output an output quite out of proportion to
the cost of providing the air.

In many trades requiring great alertness and physical strength the proper heating and ventilating will allow the workman to dress in a costume specially adapted to his work, or to strip almost to the athlete's suit, with a consequent increased number and effectiveness of motions.

The degree of temperature and the percentage of humidity desired for each day of the year should be determined. The man in charge of the heating should receive no bonus for small consumption of fuel unless he also maintained the temperature and humidity called for on his instruction card.

The subjects of heating, ventilating, etc., are well covered by Mr. Hugo Diemer in his book on " Factory Organization and Administration." The proper time to consider these subjects is when the building is designed, but too often at that time the all-important question is, How cheaply can the building be built? Ultimate saving will justify almost any conceivable first costs.


The subject of lighting has, indirectly as well as directly, a great influence upon output and motions, as upon the comfort of the eye depends, to a large extent, the comfort of the whole body.

The arrangement of lighting in the average office, factory, or house is generally determined by putting in the least light necessary in order that the one who determined the location of the light may be able to see perfectly. This is wrong. The best light is the cheapest. By that is not meant that which gives the brightest light. In fact, the light itself is but a small part of the question. Go into any factory and examine every light, and you will notice that as a rule they are obviously wrong. A light
to be right must pass five tests:

a. It must furnish the user sufficient light so that he can see.

b. It must be so placed that it does not cause the user's eyes to change the size of the diaphragm when ordinarily using the light.

c. It must be steady.

d. There sha'l not be any polished surfaces in its vicinity that will reflect an unnecessary bright spot anywhere that can be seen by the eyes of the worker.

e. It must be protected so that it does not shine in the eyes of some other worker.

The use of polished brass and nickel should be abandoned wherever it will shine in the worker's eye.

For work done on a flat surface, like the work of a bookkeeper or a reader, the light should be placed where the glare will reflect least in the worker's eyes; where the work is like the examining of single threads, the relative color and figured pattern of the background, as well as good light, is important. This is obvious. So is nearly everything else in good management. Go into the buildings among the workers, the students, and the scientists and see how rarely it is considered. All of this is not a
question of getting the most out of the light. Light in a factory is the cheapest thing there is. It is wholly a question of fatigue of the worker. The best lighting conditions will reduce the percentage of time required for rest for overcoming fatigue. The difference between the cost of the best lighting and the poorest is nothing compared with the saving in money due to decreased time for rest period due to less fatigued eyes.

It is a similar case to the taxicab concerns they charge their drivers with gasoline and tires and mileage, accidents, etc., but they furnish the lubricating oil free. The fallacy of the common practice of putting the lighting in the hands of the man whose merit is measured inversely as the coal bill is obvious.

The sub-variables involved make the problem as to exactly what lighting is most desirable difficult of solution. The proper solution will have such a beneficial effect, not only upon the man's work, but also upon his welfare, that no time or effort expended upon it can be too great.


It is essential to the use of standard motions and the resulting large output that all material used shall be in exactly that state in which it can be most easily handled by the worker.

Examples. i. If there are lumps in the mortar, due to pieces of brick or shavings or lumps of lime, or cement or coarse pebbles in the sand, it is impossible for the bricklayer to do his best work.

2. If the sand is not selected with reference to the thickness of joints, if the sequence of tiers and courses (see Figs. 15 and 16) and the thickness of joints is determined by the whim of the bricklayer on the lead, instead of by the planning department, it is out of the question to expect high outputs. On the other hand, if the material is of exactly that consistency with which it can be best handled,
and the other conditions are determined on the instruction card, much better speed can be obtained.

3. When using cement mortar made of cement and sand and no lime, the bricklayer will do more and better work if a tender is kept on the stock platform tempering the mortar to just the right consistency for the bricklayers.

4. If the brick are all handled in packs on packets from the time that they arrive upon the job until they reach the bricklayer's hand, they will each be of better quality, due to there being little or no chipping from handling and throwing about. The bricklayer will then be saved the
useless motions of picking up brick that are chipped and discarding them again, to be used only when laying in the filling tiers.


The stimulus that rewards and penalties give motions is obvious. The discussion of reward and punishment would come under the head of compensation. It must be left to the cost reducing system to determine just what system of compensation will induce the men to do their swiftest, best work.


The most advantageous size of unit to use is a difficult problem to solve, and is often controlled by some outside factor. For example, the most economical size of brick has been determined by the cost and other conditions relating to the making and baking, and not by the conditions of handling and laying. When the conditions of laying are studied scientifically, as they are to-day, one is
forced to the conclusion that, for the greatest economy, the size of common brick should be changed materially from that of the present practice in America. The usual size of the brick used in England is much larger than the customary size used here.

It is obvious that there is some size of unit that is the most economical to make the standard package for handling brick in bulk. We have found it to be ninety-two pounds for a first-class laborer, either for piling or loading and unloading brick from carts. (See Figs. 17 and 18.)

Careful examination of brickwork with the object in view of selecting the most profitable motions has entirely revolutionized the methods of bricklaying. For example, the size of unit that is picked up when loose brick are handled must be one brick for each hand. The packet enables us to pick up about eighteen brick at once.

The fountain trowel permits us to pick up and carry to the wall and spread mortar for twenty-one brick at one time without dropping the regular trowel which forms a temporary handle to it. (See Fig. 19.)

The two-wheeled trucket permits carrying twelve packets, or 216 brick (see Fig. 20), while the hod carries 18 brick, and the one-wheeled barrow carries 60 loose brick.


Only the careful student of management realizes how much the speed of the worker can be increased by providing him with all possible aids toward doing his work.

Mr. Fred. W. Taylor, in his paper on " Shop Management," tells of a study he made of overhauling a set of boilers.

"He [the writer] did all of the work of chipping, cleaning, and overhauling a set of boilers, and at the same time made a careful time study of each of the elements of the work. This time study showed that a great part of the time was lost owing to the constrained position of the workman. Thick pads were made to fasten to the elbows, knees, and hips; special tools and appliances were made for the various details of the work. . . . The whole scheme was much laughed at when it first went into use, but the trouble taken was fully justified, for the work was better done than ever before, and it cost only eleven dollars to completely overhaul a set of 300 horse-power boilers by this method, while the average cost of doing the same work on day work without an instruction card was sixty- two dollars."
In reading this, it must be remembered that the fatigue-eliminating devices were only one element in increasing speed and reducing costs. But, on the other hand, it must be remembered also what a large element they were in adding to the comfort and ultimate well-being of the worker.


"Surroundings" have been previously discussed under " Fatigue, " . " Appliances," etc. It is only necessary to say here that the surroundings of the worker should be standardized, the standard being derived from a study of all the variables.

It is obvious that the highest possible records of output cannot be obtained unless the workers are furnished with a standard instruction card made out by the best man obtainable, one who knows more about their work than they do, and who can, and does, provide them with standard conditions that fulfill the most economical conditions of motions. Even then daily outputs and unit costs must be watched, so as to take advantage of the slightest change of conditions that affect costs. In practice, the unit costs must always also include the wages of the recorder, otherwise one cannot tell when the wages of the recorders are not deceiving as to actual unit costs under this intensive management.


The influence of the tools used upon the output is large. No workman can possibly comply with standard motions unless he has the standard tools. No worker should ever be obliged to furnish his own tools, if large output is expected. When workmen are obliged to furnish their own tools (due to their having too much thrift, lack of money, or fear of having them stolen), they usually use one size
only of the same kind of tool. On many kinds of work greater output can be obtained by using two or more sizes of a tool.

Example. The bricklayer should use a smaller trowel on pressed brick and a larger trowel on common brick.

Again, where workmen furnish their own tools, they use them after they are too much worn. A shovel with a worn blade will require several motions to push it into the material to fill it. It is cheaper in this case to cut off the handle of the shovel, so that the men cannot use it. Where no records are kept of their individual outputs the men always choose the shovel with the small blade.

It is especially important that apprentices should be supplied with proper tools. According to the usual practice the apprentice is taught with any tool procurable. He becomes adept and skilled, but often becomes so accustomed to the poor tool he has used that he finds it difficult to adapt himself to the use of a better new tool. This seriously hinders his complying with deir.ands for standard quantities of output.

Tools should bo of standard size and pattern. Workmen should invariably be made to use a tool that will enable them to make standard-sized outputs instead of using a tool that may seem " handier" to them. You cannot expect a man to comply with standard motions unless he has the standard tool for which his standard instruction card was made out.

The customary method in the past for determining the best weight of tool to use was to guess at it, and to use that size of tool which was thought to be the "handiest," or which it seemed could be used with the least fatigue.

Makers of hand tools cater to the whims of the local workmen, and, as a result, hand tools are made of many different designs in different parts of the country. Makers spend and waste great sums of money making experiments and conducting selling campaigns of odd or new designs of tools that have no merit from a motion-economy standpoint. There should be a bureau of testing, where the actual value of new shapes, designs, and sizes of tools could be tested and rated in percentages of efficiency from the standpoint of motion study.

Critics will say that such a scheme will crowd out new designs, and the benefit of the individual's inventions will be lost. But it would not; on the contrary, the testing would give great stimulus to inventors, designers, and tool makers, for they could then obtain the immediate attention of the buyers, because they would have the standard stamp of merit that comes from the record of a test that
excelled previous standards.

We have testing stations for everything else. Think what the societies for testing materials have done for the progress of the world! Their records are usable forever, in any part of the world, once they are made.

When machines have to be tended, two separate sets of motions must be provided for:

1. The set that the worker uses when he is tending the machine.

2. The set that the worker uses to prepare tools and material for the machine while it does not require his attention.

All machines have to be tended more or less. Even automatic machinery has to have attention, and it is most important here to have motion study, because of the earning value of the machine being lost while it is shut down.

One sees occasionally a machine that can have any and every lever operated without the operator taking a single step, but comparatively few machines are constructed with this in mind.

Machines requiring constant starting and stopping and hand feeding or adjusting should have their various levers so positioned that the "laws of least effort of simultaneous motions" are complied with.

These laws will be discussed under " Variables of the Motion." It is only necessary to say here that motions should be similar on each side of a fore and aft vertical plane passing through the body. It is so necessary to have the motions similar that often counterbalances and springs can be installed to reverse the motion, thus also causing the hardest work to be done in the most convenient direction.

Anything that is used very often can be returned to place better, as well as with less motions, by gravity, or by the application of the gravity by some such means as a string and a weight. It requires some skill to use a wrench, but it requires no skilled motion or thought to return the wrench
to its exact resting place with handle pointing in the most economical direction for picking up the next time it is used.

The average machine to-day is designed for a short demonstration of quick output, with less regard for the least percentage of rest required for overcoming fatigue due to continuous operation. With demand will come supply of machines that fulfill all economical motion requirements.


The local rules of some unions are sometimes a hindrance to standardizing motions and thereby increasing output. The higher wages from higher outputs under intensive management soon convert the desirable members, however.

Many unions believe that extremely high outputs per man are against the interests of the union as a whole, on the theory that they may "work all of their members out of a job." Furthermore, they often think that the sacrifice that their one union may make in the world's endeavor to reduce the cost of living generally, is not properly offset by having any one trade or any one locality practicing intensive outputs. A few practical object lessons of the general increase in business resulting from higher
wages and simultaneously created lower-production costs will, however, always convince the most prejudiced believer in artificially restricted maximum outputs.

The compensation of workers will not be discussed here, although the basis of compensation does affect motions.


Generally speaking, the weight of the unit moved is of three kinds:

1. The weight of that part of the body that is moved.

2. The weight of a tool used, such as a hammer or a trowel.

3. The weight of material used, such as a brick, or the mortar on the trowel.

Other things being equal, the less of the body moved the less fatigue.

The weight that the tool should be is determined by the use of the tool. In the case of a sledge hammer, increased weight means increased efficiency. A twenty-five pound sledge might break a block of granite in halves in five blows, whUe a ten pound hammer might require one hundred blows. In the case of a trowel, increased weight means d: creased efficiency. The heavier the trowel,
the greater the fatigue with no accompanying gain in output. .

We have determined that a cutting-out hammer for brickwork should weigh, exclusive of the handle, 3.75 pounds, but that a hammer for drilling plug holes in granite, for making dog holes in heavy stone blocks, should weigh 4 pounds.

The weight of units moved should be standardized.

Example. There is undoubtedly a certain sized load in a shovel that will enable a first-class man to accomplish the largest output with his maximum effort. Taylor has found his weight to be 21.5 pounds. The size of shovels that should be used should therefore be designated on the instruction card accordingly, and exactly 21.5 pounds should be the standard unit of weight of material shoveled.


This discussion of the variables of the surroundings, etc., is not detailed because general discussion is self-evident, and detailed discussion must be too specialized to interest the general reader.

It is only necessary to call attention to the general laws, logical and psychological, which underlie these variables, and their effect on standardizing motions. Each student naturally applies these laws to his own field, and sees for himself the opportunities for further study and application.

Please Give Your Comments.

What is the relevance of Gilbreth's initial writing on Motion Study today?
What are new developments in this area?
What are new scientific discoveries related to human effort productivity?
What are new developments in human effort productivity engineering?
What are new development sin human effort productivity management?

Updated 30 September 2017, 19 August 2015

MOTION STUDY VARIABLES - Frank B. Gilbreth - Part 3



That previous experience is an element to be considered is obvious. This fact is so well recognized that the expression "You can't teach an old dog new tricks" may be heard around the world. While this may be true with dogs, it is not true with workmen. On a short job it may not be advisable to attempt to change radically the life-time customs of a local workman. But recording the output of each man separately will tell whether or not it is advisable to make out the instruction card in accordance with the previous experience of the workman, or in accordance with the way in which actual records have proved to be productive of the highest outputs. Experience varies widely, and the habits formed are often difficult to overcome.

Example. A bricklayer from certain sections of New England has been accustomed to pick up mortar with a trowel at the same time that he picks up brick with the other hand. This is called the " pick-and-dip method." The size and shape of his mortar receptacle, the arrangement of the brick and mortar on his scaffold, the shape of the scaffold itself, the sequence in which he builds the
vertical tiers and the horizontal courses, and, finally, the labor- union rules themselves, are fashioned after the consequences of using a small trowel, just large enough to pick up sufficient mortar for one brick only.

A bricklayer so trained finds it difficult at first to adapt himself to the " string mortar" method of the West. The western-taught bricklayer experiences the same difficulties in adapting himself to the " pick-and-dip " method with the speed of the eastern bricklayer. But their difficulties are nothing compared with those that the employer experiences who puts the good points of both systems on
any one job.

Not only do habitual motions become fixed, but also the previous experience of the bricklayer is often the cause of his making too many motions, i.e., unnecessary motions. He seldom, if ever, has been rigidly trained to use a certain number of definite motions. It takes time and patience to induce him to adopt a standard method.

On a small job it is advisable to select those men for the leads and the trigs who are best fitted to be leaders, that is, who are best prepared by previous experience to carry out without delay the requirements of the instruction cards but give due consideration to the previous experience and habits of work of the workmen.

On a large job, however, it is most economical to insist on standard methods and standard motions that will produce the highest outputs, without regard to the previous training of the workmen. Attract and retain those workmen who can follow out their instruction card and as a result produce the high records of outputs.


Fatigue is an important variable to consider when selecting those motions that will give the most economy and that make the " standard motions." It goes without saying that the motions that cause the least fatigue are the most desirable, other things being equal.

Fatigue is due to a secretion in the blood. To quote from an article signed "I. M. T." in the
American Magazine for February, 1910:

"The toxin of fatigue is the phrase the physicians have given us with which to jar the attention of those who can only be stirred by harsh words. It has been demonstrated in the last few years that fatigue is due to an actual poison not unlike the poison or toxin of diphtheria. It is generated in the body by labor. But the system takes care of itself and generates enough anti-toxin to take care of a normal amount of toxin or poison. If it continues to be produced in abnormal quantities the system cannot grapple with it. There is a steady poisoning of the body, with all the baneful effects, mental and moral, as well as physical, that poison produces."

Continuous hard work, however, like proper training, puts the body into that condition that best overcomes fatigue. Fatigue is due to three causes:

1. Fatigue due to coming to work improperly rested (fatigue brought to the job).

2. Unnecessary fatigue, due to unnecessary work, unnecessary motions, or uncomfortable positions, surroundings, and conditions of working.

3. Necessary fatigue, due to output.

Every motion causes fatigue. The same motions in the same trade cause about the same fatigue for all first-class men, and they all require about the same amount of rest to overcome fatigue, provided their habits and mode of living are the same outside of working hours.

The amount of fatigue caused and the percentage of rest required in many different kinds of work have been computed by Frederick W. Taylor with great exactness. He has assigned the various workers to classes and accurately computed the "task" from his records.

We have no such records as Mr. Taylor has gathered, but we have numerous records of outputs of different men on several kinds of work. We know that the amount cf rest actually required by a workman increases with the discomfort of the position in which he works. We also know that the speed, hence the output of the worker, decreases rapidly if there is much fatigue to overcome.

Example. A bricklayer can lay brick for a few minutes quite as quickly when he picks up the brick from the level of the platform on which he stands (see Fig. 9), as he can when he picks up the brick from a bench twenty-four inches above the level of the platform on which he stands (ses Figs. 10, n, and 12), but he cannot keep that speed up, because he requires more rest to overcome the greater fatigue.

It is not simply for the welfare alone, although that reason should be sufficient, but for economic reasons as well, that the men should be so placed and equipped that their work is done under the most comfortable conditions.

Examples. i. It is a recognized fact that a cluttered-up floor under a workman's feet will tire him quite
as much as the productive work that he is doing. A smooth-planked floor will enable a bricklayer to lay many more brick than will earth that has been leveled off.

2. A bricklayer can stoop over and pick up anything from the floor with one hand with much less fatigue if he has a place to rest his other hand while he is stooping, because he puts his weight on one foot and lifts his other foot out behind him, which does not tire the muscles of his back nearly so much.

Slow motions do not necessarily cause less fatigue than quick motions, and, per unit of work done, may cause much more fatigue than quick motions.

The amount of work done per motion may not be fatiguing proportionately to the size of the unit.

Example. - Lifting ninety pounds of brick on a packet to the wall will fatigue a bricklayer much less than handling the same number of brick one or two at a time. Consequently with the same amount of fatigue the workman will handle several times as many brick on packets as he can handle one or two at a time.

We have, then, under this variable two tasks to perform:

1. To eliminate unnecessary fatigue. This we do by studying and fixing the variables; that is, by standardizing the work.

2. To provide for rest from necessary fatigue, and to utilize rest time.

Under old forms of management workmen " should keep busy at something," even if prevented from doing their regular work. An idle workman was considered a disgrace. The consequence of this was that the workman took his rest while working, or made believe work while resting. The old-fashioned kind of rest is called " systematic soldiering." It is the curse of the military type of management. It is
a form of cheating that has been made respectable by the conditions forced upon the workers by the employers.

Under scientific management the evils of soldiering are eliminated, and the correct definite  percentage of rest required is recognized and provided for. When a man is prevented by causes beyond his control from doing his regularly assigned work, he is told to use the opportunity
for rest, not to take such rest as can be obtained by making slow and useless motions, that will give him an industrious appearance to the casual observer, but to rest, the 100-per-cent kind of rest.

There are cases where chairs and reading tables have been provided with beneficial effect for workers to occupy when delayed for a few minutes. They get the rest, and their presence at the table acts as a danger signal to the management.

When a man is fatigued to the point where it is impossible for him to do his best work he should be made to rest. He must not do anything but rest until he is in that condition that will enable him to fly at his work and perform it with the fastest standard motions possible.

Rest does not necessarily mean idleness. The worker can spend the rest period reading his instruction card, or filling out his record of output on the card, or in some other form of restful work. A change of work is often a rest. By performing the above two tasks well, we secure the greatest output per day and the fewest hours per day without injury to the health of the men.


The habits of the workman have much to do with his success in eliminating unnecessary motions and in adopting quickly and permanently standard methods. The term ''habits," as here used, includes not only personal " habits," so-called, but also habits of thinking, habits of working, etc.

Habits brought to the work may act as a deterrent or as an aid to its best performance. They embrace a group of sub-variables which are difficult to describe and analyze, and are of immense importance in influencing output.

That acquiring good habits of work makes the worker more versatile as well as more efficient is forcefully stated by Mr. Gantt in his book on "Work, Wages, and Profits."
He says:

"The habits that a man has to acquire to become efficient in one class of work stand him in good stead in becoming efficient in other work. These habits of work are vastly more important than the work itself, for it is our experience that a man who has become efficient in one thing, readily learns to become efficient at doing other things."

The health of the worker may be affected by:

1 . Other things than his work and the conditions under which it is done.

2. The work.

Consideration of other things than the work may properly be left to the welfare department. This department can most successfully define the scope of its work by attempting to improve the man himself and his surroundings in every way that will make him a better and more successful worker. This criterion will satisfy both employer and employee as to the appropriateness, justness,
and utility of the work of the welfare department.

The life of the man when away from work is only in so far subject to the inspection and jurisdiction of the so-called "welfare" department as that department can show itself able to make of the man a more valuable economic unit to himself and to the community.

If the welfare department makes an efficient workman the product of its work, the philanthropic by-products will take care of themselves.

The work itself should be laid out in such a way that its performance will add to and not subtract from health. A proper study and determination of the variables that affect the surroundings and the motion will go far to insure this. Moreover, standardized work will transform the workman.

Henry L. Gantt, in a most stimulating paper on "Training the Workmen in Habits of Industry and Cooperation," read before the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, December, 1908, says of workmen:

"As they become more skilled, they form better habits of work, lose less time, and become more reliable. Their health improves, and the improvement in their general appearance is very marked. This improvement in health seems to be due to a more regular a-nd active life, combined with a greater interest in their work, for it is a well-known fact that work in which we are interested and
which holds our attention without any effort on our part, tires us much less than that we have to force ourselves to do."

This Mr. Gantt says in speaking of the benefits of the "task and bonus" system; but the same thing is undoubtedly true of men working under standards derived from motion study.


Mode of living has been more or less touched upon under " health" and " habits." It is a complex variable, difficult to analyze and difficult to control. Its effects on output are for this reason all the more far-reaching and demand scientific investigation.


This is a subject that has been investigated much more scientifically with regard to horses and mules than with regard to workmen, but cases are seen on every hand where it is more profitable to furnish the most nutritious food to the men gratis than to permit them to have the usual poor food of the padrones' storehouse. In the building of a new town in Maine it was found to be economical to spend considerable sums of money for supplying food for the men at less than cost, rather than to have them eat the food provided by the local boarding houses. The nutritive value of various foods and the amount of energy which various diets enable one to put forth have been made a study in training soldiers. There must be many data available on the subject, and the government should collect them and issue a bulletin for the use of the welfare departments of large employing organizations. The army might also serve as an example in many other ways to the student of economics. The " Tactics" are admirable "instruction cards," conforming to many of the laws motion study. It seems unfortunate that the governments of the world up to the present time have confined all of their attempts to standardize motions to the arts of war, and have done nothing in this line in the arts of peace.


Size of men, with relation to their motions, has much more influence than is usually realized.

Short men are usually the best shovelers where the shovelful need not be raised much in doing the work, such as in mixing mortar and concrete. Few foremen realize that this is because a short man does fewer foot-pounds of work in doing the same amount of shoveling. On the other hand ; when men are shoveling in a trench, the taller the men, usually, the more the output per man.

Oftentimes a staging is built at a height below a set of floor beams that enables the men to work to best advantage. On such a staging men should be selected of as nearly the same height as possible.


The workman with the most skill is usually the one who can adapt himself quickest to new methods and conditions.

Example. A bricklayer who has great skill in his trade can instantly lay a brick in the same manner that he is once shown. To get him to do so constantly when not supervised is difficult, but that can be quickest impressed upon his mind if he is shown the reason for every change demanded of him.

To make sure that the worker of the future acquires his skill properly, is the most important task here. This can be done only by insisting continuously on conformity to scientifically derived standards from the beginning of his training.

Example. The best results from a motion- study standpoint can be attained only by teaching the apprentice from his first day to lay the brick with the standard motions regardless of the looks of the work. If the work is not good enough to permit the brick to remain on the wall, a skilled bricklayer should fix it, until the apprentice can lay the brick with the prescribed standard motions in a manner good enough to permit the work to remain as a part of the structure.

The apprentice should not be permitted to depart from the standard motions in any case until he has first acquired them as a fixed habit. The most pernicious practice is the generally accepted one of first having an apprentice do perfect work and then attempting to make speed later. The right motions should be taught first, and the work taken down and rebuilt until it is up to standard quality. This is the only way to get the full benefits of the economics of motion study. (See Figs. 13 and 14.)

The workman who will make the highest outputs of the future will be he who has as a habit those standard motions that are the most productive when operated under standard conditions.


The temperament of the man has more to do with the motion he uses than one usually supposes.

Example. Many expert face bricklayers would quit a job rather than lay common brick on interior walls, even though they might earn higher wages on the inside work. Other bricklayers prefer to lay common brickwork, not that they doubt their ability to lay the face brick, but because they like the strenuous athletic contests for high scores of output and high pay. To them there is no monotony in laying common brick day after day, for to the skilled mason brick are not so nearly alike as are human

A bricklayer interested in his work will often remember the characteristics of one certain brick years after he has forgotten the wall upon which it was laid.

Therefore the temperament of the man must be taken into consideration when placing the men. When they are best placed they follow their instructions on the subject of motion, and higher scores will be the result.


" Training" is so closely related to "skill" and "experience" that it is difficult to separate it from them. We use the word to mean both the worker's theoretical and practical equipment for his work, his entire preparation. The problem is to see that the worker has both kinds of equipment, acquired in the most useful, balanced method possible.

The training of the available worker must always be considered in estimating the time that it will take him to acquire standard methods and the output that can be expected of him. The training of the worker of the future should be planned to fit him for standard work. The training of the apprentice on the work to-day is usually defective because he has little or no training in theory at the same time that he is getting his practice. Furthermore, the journeyman who is his instructor not only has had no training in pedagogy, but often lacks the benefits of the elements of a common-school education. The usual time of apprenticeship in the building trades in this country is three years, or until the apprentice is twenty-one years old.

On the other hand, the boy taught in the trade school lacks training under actual working conditions. The question of dollars and cents to make for the employer, special fitting for high wages for himself, and the knowledge of the principles underlying the requirements necessary in order to obtain specially high outputs from intensive management, are wholly lacking.

The present apprenticeship system is pitiful and criminal from the apprentice's standpoint, ridiculous from a modern system standpoint, and there is no word that describes its wastefulness from an economic standpoint.


Before turning to the variables of the surroundings, it may be well to summarize. The variables of the worker consist of the elements of the equipment that the worker brings to his work, both those that he was born with and those that he has acquired. These are mental and physical.

We have concluded:

1. That first-class men should always be secured if that be possible.

2. That everything possible should be done to preserve and to add to the natural powers and capacities that the worker brings to his work.

3. That standard practice derived from motion study does add to the natural powers of the worker, and both shortens his hours of work and adds to his output.

4. That training based on the laws underlying standard practice will enable the worker of the future to attain still higher efficiency and output.

Please Give Your Comments.

What is the relevance of Gilbreth's initial writing on Motion Study today?
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What are new scientific discoveries related to human effort productivity?
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What are new development sin human effort productivity management?

Updated 30 September 2017, 19 August 2015