People from many business sectors regularly ask us for “a time and motion study”. We can definitely help.
What does time and motion mean to you? The following examples are just a selection of projects we’ve been asked to get involved in, under the request for a “time and motion study”.
• Do I really need to employ more people?
• Why are we stopping so long between changeovers?
• How can we work out why things are taking so long and costing more than we budgeted?
• Why is so much re-work passed down the line and how much capacity is lost?
• Why are two sites each doing the same thing yet not costing us the same?
• How can we get more accurate times to improve the problems with balance and flow?
• What improvements can we make to layout and stock location to minimise travel time?
• How can we identify our staffing levels to react to volume and mix fluctuations on a day to day basis?
• Why am I seeing a lot of idle equipment?
• Is the process getting enough attention at critical times?
• How can we reduce the excessive queueing our customers have to endure at certain times?
• How can we improve the time and cost of materials, equipment and people movement on our construction site?
Improving productivity is often about reducing wasted movement and time. Nearly all human work, other than thinking time, is about motion and movement: fingers, limbs, body movement, steps, moving materials, operating equipment, using controls, keyboard depressions, telephone etc. This applies in every business sector. The time taken is really important as all motion takes time.
In the past, the concept of time and motion was an investigation into how hard or how fast people were working. In reality, it’s more about making the work easier, quicker; it’s about finding better and more consistent methods, being better organised so that people aren’t stopped from working.
Productivity is linked to time and motion. Excessive motion is a waste of time, it’s more tiring and it adds cost.
If you reduce, eliminate or simplify any movements, you will save time. When an activity becomes easier and quicker, you’ll have more capacity and be more productive.
You need to measure to identify how much time has been saved and then benefit from the reduced work content. Unless you action higher targets or reduce input time you’ll lose the benefits of the changes.
With better methods, higher targets and with good measures you will benefit from reduced costs, improved capacities and better planning and use of your resources. So you can see it really isn’t about working harder.