Industrial Engineering Indicated in Shop Management by F.W. Taylor
The art of management has been defined, "as knowing exactly what you want men to do, and then seeing that they do it in the best and cheapest way."
What the workmen want from their employers beyond anything else is high wages, and what employers want from their workmen most of all is a low labor cost of manufacture.
This book is written mainly with the object of advocating high wages and low labor cost as the foundation of the best management, of pointing out the general principles which render it possible to maintain these conditions even under the most trying circumstances, and of indicating the various steps which the writer thinks should be taken in changing from a poor system to a better type of management.
That there is a difference between the average and the first-class man is known to all employers, but that the first-class man can do in most cases from two to four times as much as is done by an average man is known to but few, and is fully realized only by those who have made a thorough and scientific study of the possibilities of men.
It must be distinctly understood that in referring to the possibilities of a first-class man the writer does not mean what he can do when on a spurt or when he is over-exerting himself, but what a good man can keep up for a long term of years without injury to his health. It is a pace under which men become happier and thrive.
The aim in each establishment should be:
(a) That each workman should be given as far as possible the highest grade of work for which his ability and physique fit him.
(b) That each workman should be called upon to turn out the maximum amount of work which a first-rate man of his class can do and thrive.
(c) That each workman, when he works at the best pace of a first-class man, should be paid from 30 per cent to 100 per cent according to the nature of the work which he does, beyond the average of his class.
The essence of task management lies in the fact that the control of the speed problem rests entirely with the management;
With accurate time knowledge as a basis, surprisingly large results can be obtained under any scheme of management from day work up;
To many of the readers of this book both the fundamental objects to be aimed at, namely, high wages with low labor cost, and the means advocated by the writer for attaining this end; namely, accurate time study,
In almost all of the other more complicated cases the large increase in output is due partly to the actual physical changes, either in the machines or small tools and appliances, which a preliminary time study almost always shows to be necessary, so that for purposes of illustration the simple case chosen is the better, although the gain made in the more complicated cases is none the less legitimately due to the system.
In 1895 the writer read a paper before The American Society of Mechanical Engineers entitled "A Piece Rate System." His chief object in writing it was to advocate the study of unit times as the foundation of good management. Unfortunately, he at the same time described the "differential rate" system of piece work, which had been introduced by him in the Midvale Steel Works. Although he called attention to the fact that the latter was entirely of secondary importance, the differential rate was widely discussed in the journals of this country and abroad while practically nothing was said about the study of "unit times." Thirteen members of the Society discussed the piece rate system at length, and only two briefly referred to the study of the "unit times."
The writer most sincerely trusts that his leading object in writing this book will not be overlooked, and that scientific time study will receive the attention which it merits. Bearing in mind the Bethlehem yard labor as an illustration of the application of the study of unit times as the
foundation of success in management, the following would seem to him a fair comparison of the older methods with the more modern plan.
Before starting to make any changes in the organization of a company the following matters should be carefully considered: First, the importance of choosing the general type of management best suited to the particular case. Second, that in all cases money must be spent, and in many cases a great deal of money, before the changes are completed which result in lowering cost. Third, that it takes time to reach any result worth aiming at. Fourth, the importance of making changes in their proper order, and that unless the right steps are taken, and taken in their proper sequence, there is great danger from deterioration in the quality of the output and from serious troubles with the workmen, often resulting in strikes.
The writer has already indicated that he thinks the first object in management is to unite high wages with a low labor cost. He believes that this object can be most easily attained by the application of the
(a) A LARGE DAILY TASK. --Each man in the establishment, high or low, should daily have a clearly defined task laid out before him. This task should not in the least degree be vague nor indefinite, but should be circumscribed carefully and completely, and should not be easy to
(b) STANDARD CONDITIONS. --Each man's task should call for a full day's work, and at the same time the workman should be given such standardized conditions and appliances as will enable him to accomplish his task with certainty.
(c) HIGH PAY FOR SUCCESS. --He should be sure of large pay when he accomplishes his task.
(d) LOSS IN CASE OF FAILURE. --When he fails he should be sure that sooner or later he will be the loser by it.
In the case, for instance, of a machine shop doing miscellaneous work, in order to assign daily to each man a carefully measured task, a special planning department is required to lay out all of the work at least one day ahead. All orders must be given to the men in detail in writing; and
in order to lay out the next day's work and plan the entire progress of work through the shop, daily returns must be made by the men to the planning department in writing, showing just what has been done. Before each casting or forging arrives in the shop the exact route which it is to take from machine to machine should be laid out. An instruction card for each operation must be written out stating in detail just how each operation on every piece of work is to be done and the time required to
do it, the drawing number, any special tools, jigs, or appliances required, etc. Before the four principles above referred to can be successfully applied it is also necessary in most shops to make
important physical changes. All of the small details in the shop, which are usually regarded as of little importance and are left to be regulated according to the individual taste of the workman, or, at best,
of the foreman, must be thoroughly and carefully standardized; such. details, for instance, as the care and tightening of the belts; the exact shape and quality of each cutting tool; the establishment of a
complete tool room from which properly ground tools, as well as jigs, templates, drawings, etc., are issued under a good check system, etc.; and as a matter of importance (in fact, as the foundation of scientific management) an accurate study of unit times must be made by one or more men connected with the planning department, and each machine tool must be standardized and a table or slide rule constructed for it showing how to run it to the best advantage.
A point of analogy between modern engineering and modern management lies in the fact that modern engineering proceeds with comparative certainty to the design and construction of a machine or structure of the maximum efficiency with the minimum weight and cost of materials, while the old style engineering at best only approximated these results and then only after a series of breakdowns, involving the practical reconstruction of the machine and the lapse of a long period of time. The ordinary system of management, owing to the lack of exact information and precise methods, can only approximate to the desired standard of high wages accompanied by low labor cost and then only
slowly, with marked irregularity in results, with continued opposition, and, in many cases, with danger from strikes. Modern management, on the other hand, proceeds slowly at first, but with directness and precision, step by step, and, after the first few object lessons, almost without opposition on the part of the men, to low cost of production, low labor cost and high wages and low labor cost;
There is no question that the average individual accomplishes the most when he either gives himself, or some one else assigns him, a definite task. Very few of them, however, would be willing to record a daily failure to accomplish their task
In many cases the greatest good resulting from the application of task system of paying wages is the indirect gain which comes from the enforced standardization of all details and conditions, large and small, surrounding the work. All of the ordinary wage systems can be and are almost always applied without adopting and maintaining thorough shop standards. But the task idea can not be carried out without them.
Time study was described by Taylor in detail in shop management. The explanation is given in separate article.
Time Study - Explanation by F.W. Taylor
The first move before in any way stimulating them toward a larger output
was to insure against a falling off in quality. This was accomplished
through over-inspection.After insuring in this way against deterioration in quality, effective
means were at once adopted to increase the output.
In the writer's experience, almost all shops are under-officered.
Invariably the number of leading men employed is not sufficient to do
the work economically.
This can, in the judgment of the writer, be best accomplished by
abandoning the military type of organization and introducing two broad
and sweeping changes in the art of management:
(a) As far as possible the workmen, as well as the gang bosses and
foremen, should be entirely relieved of the work of planning, and of all
work which is more or less clerical in its nature. All possible brain
work should be removed from the shop and centered in the planning or
laying-out department, leaving for the foremen and gang bosses work
strictly executive in its nature. Their duties should be to see that the
operations planned and directed from the planning room are promptly
carried out in the shop. Their time should be spent with the men,
teaching them to think ahead, and leading and instructing them in their
(b) Throughout the whole field of management the military type of
organization should be abandoned, and what may be called the'
"functional type" substituted in its place. "Functional management"
consists in so dividing the work of management that each man from the
assistant superintendent down shall have as few functions as possible to
perform. If practicable the work of each man in the management should be
confined to the performance of a single leading function. Under the
ordinary or military type, the workmen are divided into groups. The men
in each group receive their orders from one man only, the foreman or
gang boss of that group. This man is the single agent through which the
various functions of the management are brought into contact with the
men. Certainly the most marked outward characteristic of functional
management lies in the fact that each workman, instead of coming in
direct contact with the management at one point only, namely, through
his gang boss, receives his daily orders and help directly from eight
different bosses, each of whom performs his own particular function.
Four of these bosses are in the planning room and of these three send
their orders to and receive their returns from the men, usually in
writing. Four others are in the shop and personally help the men in
their work, each boss helping in his own particular `line or function
only. Some of these bosses come in contact with each man only once or
twice a day and then for a few minutes perhaps, while others are with
the men all the time, and help each man frequently. The functions of one
or two of these bosses require them to come in contact with each workman
for so short a time each day that they can perform their particular
duties perhaps for all of the men in the shop, and in their line they
manage the entire shop. Other bosses are called upon to help their men
so much and so often that each boss can perform his function for but a
few men, and in this particular line a number of bosses are required,
all performing the same function but each having his particular group of
men to help. Thus the grouping of the men in the shop is entirely
changed, each workman belonging to eight different groups according to
the particular functional boss whom he happens to be working under at
The following is a brief description of the duties of the four types of
executive functional bosses which the writer has found it profitable to
use in the active work of the shop: (1) gang bosses, (2) speed bosses,
(3) inspectors, and (4) repair bosses.
The gang boss has charge of the preparation of all work up to the time
that the piece is set in the machine. It is his duty to see that every
man under him has at all times at least one piece of work ahead at his
machine, with all the jigs, templates, drawings, driving mechanism,
sling chains, etc., ready to go into his machine as soon as the piece he
is actually working on is done. The gang boss must show his men how to
set their work in their machines in the quickest time, and see that they
do it. He is responsible for the work being accurately and quickly set,
and should be not only able but willing to pitch in himself and show the
men how to set the work in record time.
The speed boss must see that the proper cutting tools are used for each
piece of work, that the work is properly driven, that the cuts are
started in the right part of the piece, and that the best speeds and
feeds and depth of cut are used. His work begins only after the piece is
in the lathe or planer, and ends when the actual machining ends. The
speed boss must not only advise his men how best to do this work, but he
must see that they do it in the quickest time, and that they use the
speeds and feeds and depth of cut as directed on the instruction card In
many cases he is called upon to demonstrate that the work can be done in
the specified time by doing it himself in the presence of his men.
The inspector is responsible for the quality of the work, and both the
workmen and speed bosses must see that the work is all finished to suit
him. This man can, of course, do his work best if he is a master of the
art of finishing work both well and quickly.
The repair boss sees that each workman keeps his machine clean, free
from rust and scratches, and that he oils and treats it properly, and
that all of the standards established for the care and maintenance of
the machines and their accessories are rigidly maintained, such as care
of belts and shifters, cleanliness of floor around machines, and orderly
piling and disposition of work.
The following is an outline of the duties of the four functional bosses
who are located in the planning room, and who in their various functions
represent the department in its connection with the men. The first three
of these send their directions to and receive their returns from the
men, mainly in writing. These four representatives of the planning
department are, the (1) order of work and route clerk, (2) instruction
card clerk, (3) time and cost clerk, and (4) shop disciplinarian.
Order of Work and Route Clerk. After the route clerk in the planning
department has laid out the exact route which each piece of work is to
travel through the shop from machine to machine in order that it may be
finished at the time it is needed for assembling, and the work done in
the most economical way, the order of work clerk daily writes lists
instructing the workmen and also all of the executive shop bosses as to
the exact order in which the work is to be done by each class of
machines or men, and these lists constitute the chief means for
directing the workmen in this particular function.
Instruction Card Clerks. The "instruction card," as its name indicates,
is the chief means employed by the planning department for instructing
both the executive bosses and the men in all of the details of their
work. It tells them briefly the general and detail drawing to refer to,
the piece number and the cost order number to charge the work to, the
special jigs, fixtures, or tools to use, where to start each cut, the
exact depth of each cut, and how many cuts to take, the speed and feed
to be used for each cut, and the time within which each operation must
be finished. It also informs them as to the piece rate, the differential
rate, or the premium to be paid for completing the task within the
specified time (according to the system employed); and further, when
necessary, refers them by name to the man who will give them especial
directions. This instruction card is filled in by one or more members of
the planning department, according to the nature and complication of the
instructions, and bears the same relation to the planning room that the
drawing does to the drafting room. The man who sends it into the shop
and who, in case difficulties are met with in carrying out the
instructions, sees that the proper man sweeps these difficulties away,
is called the instruction card foreman.
Time and Cost Clerk. This man sends to the men through the "time ticket"
all the information they need for recording their time and the cost of
the work, and secures proper returns from them. He refers these for
entry to the cost and time record clerks in the planning room.
Shop Disciplinarian. In case of insubordination or impudence, repeated
failure to do their duty, lateness or unexcused absence, the shop
disciplinarian takes the workman or bosses in hand and applies the
proper remedy. He sees that a complete record of each man's virtues and
defects is kept. This man should also have much to do with readjusting
the wages of the workmen. At the very least, he should invariably be
consulted before any change is made. One of his important functions
should be that of peace-maker.
Thus, under functional foremanship, we see that the work which, under
the military type of organization, was done by the single gang boss, is
subdivided among eight men: (1) route clerks, (2) instruction card
clerks, (3) cost and time clerks, who plan and give directions from the
planning room; (4) gang bosses, (5) speed bosses, (6) inspectors, (7)
repair bosses, who show the men how to carry out their instructions, and
see that the work is done at the proper speed; and (8) the shop
disciplinarian, who performs this function for the entire establishment.
The greatest good resulting from this change is that it becomes possible
in a comparatively short time to train bosses who can really and fully
perform the functions demanded of them, while under the old system it
took years to train men who were after all able to thoroughly perform
only a portion of their duties. A glance at the nine qualities needed
for a well rounded man and then at the duties of these functional
foremen will show that each of these men requires but a limited number
of the nine qualities in order to successfully fill his position; and
that the special knowledge which he must acquire forms only a small part
of that needed by the old style gang boss. The writer has seen men taken
(some of them from the ranks of the workmen, others from the old style
bosses and others from among the graduates of industrial schools,
technical schools and colleges) and trained to become efficient
functional foremen in from six to eighteen months. Thus it becomes
possible with functional foremanship to thoroughly and completely equip
even a new company starting on a large scale with competent officers in
a reasonable time, which is entirely out of the question under the old
system. Another great advantage resulting from functional or divided
foremanship is that it becomes entirely practicable to apply the four
leading principles of management to the bosses as well as to the
workmen. Each foreman can have a task assigned him which is so
accurately measured that he will be kept fully occupied and still will
daily be able to perform his entire function. This renders it possible
to pay him high wages when he is successful by giving him a premium
similar to that offered the men and leave him with low pay when he
The writer introduced five of the elements of functional foremanship
into the management of the small machine shop of the Midvale Steel
Company of Philadelphia while he was foreman of that shop in 1882-1883:
(1) the instruction card clerk, (2) the time clerk, (3) the inspector,
(4) the gang boss, and (5) the shop disciplinarian. Each of these
functional foremen dealt directly with the workmen instead of giving
their orders through the gang boss. It was
some years later that the writer subdivided the duties of the "old gang
boss" who spent his whole time with the men into the four functions of
(1) speed boss, (2) repair boss, (3) inspector, and (4) gang boss, and
it is the introduction of these four shop bosses directly helping the
men (particularly that of the speed boss) in place of the single old
boss, that has produced the greatest improvement in the shop.
When functional foremanship is introduced in a large shop, it is
desirable that all of the bosses who are performing the same function
should have their own foreman over them; for instance, the speed bosses
should have a speed foreman over them, the gang bosses, a head gang
boss; the inspectors, a chief inspector, etc., etc. The functions of
these over-foremen are twofold. The first part of their work is to teach
each of the bosses under them the exact nature of his duties, and at the
start, also to nerve and brace them up to the point of insisting that
the workmen shall carry out the orders exactly as specified on the
Before leaving this portion of the subject the writer wishes to call
attention to the analogy which functional foremanship bears to the
management of a large, up-to-date school. In such a school the children
are each day successively taken in hand by one teacher after another who
is trained in his particular specialty, and they are in many cases
disciplined by a man particularly trained in this function. The old
style, one teacher to a class plan is entirely out of date.