PROGRESS PROCESS CHARTS
For a process improvement study, progress process charts are to be made.
Maynard and Stegmerten
When a job is studied in great detail operation by operation, a number of suggestions for improvement will almost inevitably be made. Some of these will be adopted and put into effect at once.
Others will be held up pending the decision of another depart- ment or supervisor. Still others will require experimentation to determine their feasibility, or several suggestions affecting the same point will have to be tried out to see which is the best.
As a result of this, the exact status of a study at any particular
moment is often uncertain. This is particularly true if the study
is being made by a group. Because a number of different view-
points are brought to bear upon the job, greater accomplishments
are likely to be made by a group than an individual. At the same
time, because several people are involved, it is more difficult to
keep their efforts pointed in the same general direction and to
give them the same understanding of the problem and its solution.
In order to avoid working at cross-purposes, the group should
pause from time to time to review what has already been accom-
plished, what is pending, and what remains to be done.
The progress process chart is a device that is designed for this
purpose. It shows clearly and in a related manner the status of
the job and of each operation of the job at the moment the chart
was drawn up.
Typical Progress Process Charts. The progress process chart, or progress chart, is ccgnmonly prepared in two different forms. It may be drawn in the same manner as the operation process chart, or it may be a mere tabulation.
Figure 31 in Chap. VII showed the operation process chart that
was prepared at the beginning of a study of the manufacture of an
electric-clock motor and drum.
To give everyone concerned a common understanding and to
furnish a fresh starting point for further study, the progress chart,
This form of progress chart has certain definite advantages. It
is in the same form as the operation process chart previously
prepared and hence can be readily interpreted by anyone who is
familiar with the operation chart. Further, it shows the opera-
tions in. order and in. their relation to one another; since the
suggested changes on one operation often affect other operations,
this is highly desirable.
The other form of progress chart in tabulated form is shown by
Fig. 107. This chart covers the stamping for which the flow
chart, Fig. 36 of Chap. VIII, was prepared. The tabulated form
of progress chart possesses the advantage of being easy to pre-
pare, since the whole chart may be made on a typewriter. If the
job that it covers is fairly simple, this form is entirely satisfactory.
Uses of Progress Process Charts. The use of the progress
chart in connection with methods studies made by a group has
already been pointed out. When the job is at all complicated
and a number of different changes are contemplated, it will prove
desirable to prepare an up-to-the-minute progress chart immedi-
ately before each meeting. If each group member has this chart
before him, it will inform him of what has been accomplished on
those phases of the study with which he himself is not connected
and will prevent much unnecessary discussion and comment.
Free discussion should, of course, be encouraged at all meetings,
but it should be discussion that will develop new ideas rather than
a review of what has gone before.
The individual analyst will also find the progress chart a useful
tool. It is seldom that a methods study can be started and
carried through to a conclusion without interruption. Some-
times the methods study of a job must be carried on in conjunc-
tion with regular, routine rate-setting work. Again, because
progress is often halted while information or a decision is being
awaited, methods studies of several jobs may be conducted at the
same time. In any case, it will prove helpful from time to time
to construct a progress chart to show how the methods study
stands and to make sure that future efforts will be directed
The analyst will in addition sometimes be questioned by his
supervisor or other interested individuals concerning the accom-
plishments that are resulting from his studies. .A progress chart
will answer such questions clearly and will enable the analyst to
show what he is doing.
Conclusion. The purpose of this volume has been first to give
a general description of the various techniques of methods engi-
neering and their relation to one another and then to discuss in
some detail the procedures employed in connection with the first
and a very important step of methods study, namely, operation
It will be seen that operation analysis is an entirely practical
subject. The analyst, far from dealing with theoretical con-
siderations, seeks for practical result-getting improvements.
The various tools that he uses operation process charts, flow
charts, the analysis sheet are designed principally to guide his
thinking and to keep clearly before him the points that he should
study and seek to improve. The real accomplishments, however,
are made by the analyst himself rather than by the tools that he
uses. No chart or form will take the place of sound reasoning
and constructive thinking.
The examples given of improvements that resulted from opera-
tion analysis were taken from a number of different industries.
Many kinds of operations performed on many kinds of products
were described. It is impossible, of course, to include all opera-
tions encountered in industry, but it is hoped that enough have
been given to show once and for all the baselessness of the "our-
work-is-different " attitude mentioned in Chap. III.
To the analyst, all work is much the same. The externals are
different, of course, for every job studied, but there are many
fundamental points of similarity. In most cases, a part is picked
up, worked upon, and set down. Certain motions are employed
that are common to all jobs. If they can be improved on one
job, they can be improved on many jobs.
Analysis work is not limited to methods engineers but may be
conducted by anyone who is interested in bringing about job
improvement. If the analysis work is done systematically in
accordance with the procedure described in this book, more will
be accomplished than if the work is done haphazardly. Anyone
connected with industry can apply the procedure outlined, for
there is nothing particularly difficult or technical about it. The
trained observer with a background of previous experience in
making improvements will undoubtedly accomplish more than
the man making his first analysis, for he will be able to recognize
many possibilities for improvement at first glance and will know
the action to take that will be most effective in getting the
improvements made. The beginner should not be discouraged
by this, however, for he too will accomplish more as he becomes
more experienced, and the only way experience can be gained is by
making a number of analyses.
A group consisting of a superintendent, design engineer, fore-
man, inspector, group leader, and perhaps others, led by an
experienced methods engineer, when formed for the purpose of
studying a job in which all are interested, will accomplish much.
Each member will approach the problem from his viewpoint, and
if the viewpoints are coordinated by capable leadership, the
results are likely to be much greater than an individual working
alone can secure.
A methods study properly made consumes time and effort.
Most industrial supervisors are so loaded with responsibilities and
duties that they may find it difficult to give time to operation
analysis. Nevertheless, the time should be found and used for
that purpose. Progress is essential if an industry is to maintain
its competitive position. Therefore, the type of analysis work
that leads to improvement and progress is also essential. Just
getting work out in accordance with an established routine is
not sufficient. To advance, the work must be put out better
today than it was yesterday and better still tomorrow.
Any industrial executive or supervisor who has the interests of
his company at heart should, therefore, devote a portion of his
time to analyzing the work that comes under his supervision and
to improving it. Current problems are important, but at least
5 to 10 per cent of a week's time should be set aside for seeking
improvements. If each supervisor of an organization will do this
and will conscientiously do his best to make changes that will
reduce waste and increase productive effectiveness, the organiza-
tion will soon attain an enviable position.
Management has a certain responsibility in this connection.
It should encourage the* search for improvements; it should con-
sider all suggestions made, adopting as many as seem practical;
and, finally, it should reward outstanding accomplishments as an
incentive to further effort.
It should be~ remembered that any job can be improved if
sufficient study is given it. This is literally true. There may be
jobs here and there that cannot be improved further, but the
authors have rarely encountered them. If they exist, they may
be considered to be the exceptions that prove the rule. Through-
out industry there are countless opportunities for improvement.
Every operation in every plant offers a challenge. It can be done
better. The problem is to find out how. Operation analysis is
a method of finding out,