Friday, February 10, 2012

Fact Gathering for Office System Efficiency Engineering Studies

Office Work Study - Industrial Engineering

The staff members are asked to write down their job description as they feel they are doing it, under various heads, for a representative period – work, month etc. They are asked to prepare a statement of duties and responsibilities under selected heads and to make an estimate of the total attendance time devoted to each activity as well as time absorbed by miscellaneous affairs, waiting, etc.

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Relevant Facts


A large part of system efficiency studies consists of getting facts.  The fact collection must be done selectively and as economically as possible. In gathering facts, the nature and amount of work, its purpose, the people who do it, the place and time of doing it, and the methods used are to be ascertained.

Nature


What is done?
The process and the result are to be recorded.

Amount


Can a measure be found for each action?
Words and answers like ‘often’ or ‘frequently’ need to challenged and efforts are to be made to get a numerical estimate of the frequency.

Purpose


Why is the work done?

Persons


Who does the work?

Place


Where is the work done?

Time


When is the work done?

Means


How is the work done?
This includes method, movement, equipment and supervision.

 Methods of collecting and getting information


Information provided through records


Organization charts, work distribution lists, work statistics, statements of procedures and actions taken reports etc. are useful and valuable sources of information.

Job description by staff


The staff members are asked to write down their job description as they feel they are doing it, under various heads, for a representative period – work, month etc. They are asked to prepare a statement of duties and responsibilities under selected heads and to make an estimate of the total attendance time devoted to each activity as well as time absorbed by miscellaneous affairs, waiting, etc.

Direct observation of work


The system study person can himself observe procedures and record. He can discuss various steps of the procedure with the employee concerned at the time of observation.

Interview and discussion


Interviewing is a most important part of the fact collection exercise. Arrangement for an interview should always be made through, or with the knowledge of, the immediate supervisor of the person to be interviewed. The system study person should make a rough plan of the enquiry indicating the kind of information needed and the scope of enquiry based on the job description provided to him by the organization as well as the employee concerned.

During an interview the analyst should have an informal manner. He should take great trouble to put the other person at ease. He must pose his questions carefully, avoiding anything which implies criticism of the individual, or of the work done, or which may be interpreted as injuring prestige. He should be impersonal, making it clear that he is engaged upon a study of the work and is not probing into the actions of the individuals. He needs to play down any idea that he is an expert in the specific work and stress the value of the main features of efficiency study approach. It helps if he uses the term ‘we’ rather than ‘I’ in conversation and interview. He should listen patiently and attentively – but also be able to guide the conversation over the required subject matter without dominating it.

As far as possible, interviews should be time to suit the work requirements and staff convenience. Normal work should not be seriously disturbed. Incoming telephone calls, enquiries and the like must be recognized as inevitable disturbances; the extent of such interruptions, the reasons for them and the manner n which they are treated may provide useful information about the job.

The best point at which to examine work is where it is done; this may mean that interviews are undertaken by the side of the desk where the employee is functioning.

Written questionnaires


Written questionnaires can be used where more number of similar jobs are being performed to get information in a structured manner.


Discussions with senior staff


Discussion with senior staff regarding the facts recorded for each staff member may reveal additional facts.

Sampling


Sampling studies are undertaken to record relevant facts.
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