Thursday, September 28, 2017

Human Effort Industrial Engineering

Human Effort Industrial Engineering - The Base for Developing the Concept of Human Effort as the Focus area of Industrial Engineering

It is now further extended to machine effort. But both Taylor and Gilbreth indicated that focus has to be on both areas for productivity improvement, cost reduction and waste elimination in their explanation of scientific management.

What is the meaning of industry relevant for explaining the discipline of industrial engineering?

The quality of regularly working hard:

Industry is the fact of working very hard.

Hard work.

Diligence in an employment or pursuit; especially :steady or habitual effort

In Oxford dictionary also, industry has the meaning diligence. The meaning of diligence is persistent work or effort.

Therefore industrial engineering can be understood as a discipline  concerned with effort. It is concerned with both machine effort and human effort. The main objective of industrial engineering is to minimize the machine effort and human effort expended to produce a unit of any product. This is same as increasing the output for unit of machine effort or human effort.

F.W. Taylor is the first engineer, to conceptualize this activity in a formal systematic manner. His first essay, "Piece Rate System" contains the ideas regarding improving machine effort and man effort. His next book size essay, "Shop Management" contains the extended application of the method of reducing machine effort and man effort and increase production in some cases even by four times. Scientific management basically uses the same examples given in "Shop Management" but presents the principles of scientific management and gives the examples as illustrations in support of the principles of scientific management. Narayana Rao developed "Principles of Industrial Engineering" from the "Principles of Scientific management" and presented them in the 2017 Annual Conference of the IISE at Pittsburgh, USA.



The full paper can be downloaded from: Full Paper -

Looked from the perspective Industrial engineering has two components: Machine effort reduction and human effort reduction in production processes. We can call them machine effort industrial engineering and human effort engineering. Industrial engineering has many developments during the last 110 years.

We can list, Taylor's methodology, Gilbreth's motion study and principles of motion economy, Ergonomics or human factors engineering, Job evaluation, Wage incentive plans as important areas of Human Effort Industrial Engineering.

Gilbreth on Scientific Management

It is important to read the following statements from the book "Applied Motion Study" by Frank Gilbreth published in 1917.

Scientific management is simply management that is based upon actual measurement. Its skilful application is an art that must be acquired, but its fundamental principles have the exactness of scientific laws which are open to  study by every one. we have here a science that is the result of accurately recorded, exact investigation.

The greatest misunderstandings occur as to the aims of scientific management. Its fundamental aim is the elimination of waste, the attainment of worth-while desired results with the least necessary amount of time and effort. Scientific management may, and often does, result in expansion, but its primary aim is conservation and savings, making an adequate use of every ounce of energy of any type that is expended.

Every problem (in scientific management)  presents two elements: the human element, and the materials element.

The opinion of many who know conditions in USA and Europe is that  America is far behind European countries in conservation of the materials element, both natural and manufactured

 It is equally true that up to recent times European countries have done comparatively little toward
conserving the human element.

The material problem is being attacked along different lines in a more or less systematic manner. We
all appreciate the benefits of scientific or intensive farming. Agricultural experience has taught the
valuable lesson that it is possible to get great output, yet, at the same time, leave the producing
force unimpaired, by a proper expenditure of money and brains.

It is the work of scientific management to insist on standardisation in all fields, and to base such standardisation upon accurate measurement (of productivity and work). Scientific management is not remote, or different from other fields of activity. For example, in the handling of the materials element, it does not attempt to discard the methods of attack of intensive agriculture or of the labora-
tory of the applied scientists; on the contrary, it uses the results of workers in such fields as these to as great an extent as possible.

(I asked a question on difference between standardization and optimization in the IISE Linkedin Community)

In handling the materials element, then, scientific management analyses all successful existing practices in every line, and synthesises such elements as accurate measurement proves to be valuable into standards. These standards are maintained until suggested improvements have passed the same rigid examination, and are in such form that they may be incorporated into new standards.

Turning now to the field of the human element by far the more important field we find that, while there is much talk of work in that field to-day, comparatively little has actually been ac-complished.

One great work of scientific management has been to show the world how little actual knowledge it has possessed of the human element as engaged in the work in the industries. Through motion study and fatigue study and the accompanying time study, we have come to know the capabilities of the worker, the demands of the work, the fatigue that the worker suffers at the work, and the amount and nature of the rest required to overcome the fatigue. Scientific provision for such recovery in
the industries, before the days of scientific management, was unknown.

It is even more surprising that only the pioneers in the work realise the application of any necessity for the laboratory method in the study of the human element as it appears in the industries. When making accurate measurements, the number of variables involved must be reduced to as great a degree as possible. Only in the laboratory can this be successfully done.

The various measurements taken by scientific management and the guiding laws under which
these are grouped determine not only the nature of the human element, but the methods by which
it is to be handled. Motion study, fatigue study, the measures supplied by psychology, these re-
sult in the working practice that fits the work to the worker, and produces more output with
less effort, with its consequent greater pay for every ounce of effort expended.

We see very clearly the stress on development of science that is of use in waste elimination.

In human effort industrial engineering, we need to cover human productivity science, human productivity engineering and human productivity management.

Motion study and applications of ergonomic research and recommendations may become part of human productivity engineering.

Job evaluation and incentive schemes form part of human productivity management. Psychology of Management. published by Lilian Gilbreth can be taken as an earliest book supporting human productivity management.

Gilbreth's Applied Motion Study Book

October - Industrial Engineering Knowledge Revision Plan - Focus on Human Effort Industrial Engineering

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