Monday, March 13, 2017

Method Study - ILO Book Description

Work Study Focus is Human Effort

Work study is only motion and time study. It does not deal with technical aspects directly. Subjects that deal with improvements in technical aspects directly are needed in industrial engineering so that it contributes in a significant way to productivity improvement of engineering systems.
Work Study - Important Issues to Notice

Method study is the systematic recording and critical examination of existing and proposed ways of doing work, as a means of developing and applying easier and more effective methods and reducing costs.

The term "method study" is being increasingly used in place of "motion study", although the latter was intended by its inventor, Frank Gilbreth, to cover almost exactly the same field.

Industrial Engineering Terminology, published by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, gives separate definitions for "method study" and "motion study", the latter being confined to hand and eye movements at the workplace. However, "motion study" is used in most United
States textbooks with the same meaning as "method study". Method study as a term is not popular in USA. But methods design as a term was used by some authors.

The objects of method study are

The (productivity) improvement of processes and procedures.

The improvement of factory, shop and workplace layout and of the design of plant and equipment (at the operation stage).

The development of a better physical working environment.

Economy in human effort and the reduction of unnecessary fatigue.

Improvement in the use of materials, machines and manpower.


SELECT the work to be studied.
RECORD all the relevant facts about the present method by direct observation.
EXAMINE those facts critically and in ordered sequence, using the techniques best suited to the purpose.
DEVELOP the most practical, economic and effective method,having due regard to all contingent circumstances.
DEFINE the new method so that it can always be identified.
INSTALL that method as standard practice.
MAINTAIN that standard practice by regular routine checks.


A process has to be selected to do method study investigation based oncertain factors that indicate that the job is priority in terms of benefits that will be realized. These are-

Economic considerations.
Technical considerations.
Human reactions.

Economic considerations.

Obvious early choices are

  • "bottlenecks" which are limiting the production
  • movements of material over long distances between shops, or operations involving a great deal of manpower and equipment;
  • operations involving repetitive work using a great deal of labour and liable to run for a long time.

Technical considerations.

Are technical experts available to participate in the studies?

Human reactions.

Avoid jobs where human resistance is present.

Select the job most likely to have the greatest over-all effect on the productivity of the enterprise as a whole.


The most commonly used of these recording techniques are charts and diagrams. There are charts indicating sequence and charts indicating time scale. Diagrams are used to record movements in a layout. Diagrams supplement charts.

In the charts called process charts five different activities are represented.

Inspection    []
Temporary Delay
Permanent Delay

OPERATION Indicates the main steps in a process, method or procedure.
Usually the part, material or product concerned is modified or changed during the operation.

INSPECTION Indicates an inspection for quality and/or a check for quantity.

TRANSPORT Indicates the movement of workers, materials or equipment from place to place.

TEMPORARY STORAGE OR DELAY Indicates a delay in the sequence of events: for example,
work waiting between consecutive operations, or any object laid aside temporarily without record until required.

PERMANENT STORAGE Indicates a controlled storage in which material is received into or issued from a stores under some form of authorisation; or an item is retained for reference purposes.

The Outline Process Chart

A "bird's-eye" view of a whole process or activity can be obtained by using an outline process chart.

An outline process chart is a process chart giving an over-all picture by recording in sequence only the main operations and inspections.

The time being taken for each step, if it is observed during the study is also added.

The outline process chart is intended to provide a first "bird's-eye" view of the activities involved. The work study man will understand the operations and inspections being carried out in the process. The chart may be used for the purpose of eliminating unnecessary operations or combining those that could be done together (It is to be noted that technical persons may be required to give the opinion or to answer the questions posted by the work study analyst). (Page 102)

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