What is Time Study?

Time Study is the original technique of work measurement, simple in concept though it does require a high degree of concentration and expertise on the part of the observer. Direct time study is the technique principally used for the measurement of repetitive work, ie work which follows a defined pattern and method. The accuracy of the technique is dependent on a number of factors although the most important and essential ingredient is the number of observations recorded of the same operation, process or procedure to establish a representative time.

Essentials for Time Study

The four essentials for the formal time study of any activity are:

  • An accurate specification of where the job starts and ends and a precise description of the method used including details of the workplace layout, materials, machines, tools, equipment and conditions etc.
  • A system of recording the actual element times (observed times) taken to carry out the job under observation, highlighting any occasional elements or time to be excluded.
  • A clear concept of ‘standard rate of working’ and to be able to performance rate to adjust observed time.
  • A means of assessing the amount of rest which should be associated with the job.

The official definition of Time Study

The British Standard (BS) definition of this recognised industry standard technique is:
“Observing, recording and rating of human work to establish the times required by a qualified worker to perform specified work under stated conditions at a defined rate of working.” BS3138: 22806

Time Study Board

A stopwatch or an electronic work measurement device are the main tools of time study. To become proficient in the skill of taking time studies it is essential to read the watch or device accurately at the right time. Formal training and developed skill is the only way to achieve the required degree of accuracy.

Anyone qualified to undertake Time Study should renew their certification for Performance Rating annually on a Performance Rating Clinic. If Time Study has not been undertaken for some time, a comprehensive Time Study Refresher is offered.

Productivity Pointer

The real responsibility for productivity or performance improvement should be largely in the hands of those organising the work rather than the individual worker.

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How to learn more about Time Study

Scott-Grant is widely acknowledged as “outstanding” in delivering training for people wanting to learn about Time Study

Productivity Pointer

Find and address bottlenecks otherwise improving
other areas in the process or sequence of events may have little beneficial effect.


Training courses that cover Time Study

Here is a list of training courses where Time Study is included in the content.

What to do next

If you need to improve capacity or reduce costs, or you need accurate data to determine how best to cope with change, we can provide the right way forward – cost-effectively. Remember that improving productivity is about making the better use of all your resources and vitally, making much better use of the critical ones.

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