Time Study

Time study is concerned with the determination of the amount of time required to perform a unit of work. It consists of the process of observing and recording the time required to perform each element of an operation so as to determine the reasonable time in which the work should be completed.

Objectives of time study:

The main objective is ‘to determine by direct observation, the quantity of human work in a specified task and hence to establish the standard time, within which an average worker working at a normal pace should complete the task using a specified method.

The other objectives are:

1. To furnish a basis of comparison for determining operating effectiveness.

2. To set labor standard for satisfactory performance.

3. To compare alternative methods in method study in order to select the best method.

4. To determine standards costs.

5. To determine equipment and labor requirements.

6. To determine basic times/normal times.

7. To determine the number of machines an operator can handle.

8. To balance the work of operators in production or assembly lines.

9. To provide a basis for setting piece rate or incentive wages.

10. To set the completion schedules for individual operations or jobs.

11. To determine the cycle time for completion of a job.

Time study by stop watch:

The steps involved are –

1. Select the job to be studied

(a) New job taken for production.
(b) Change in manufacturing method.
(c) Design change.
(d) Change in raw material or components used for a job.
(e) Complaint about inadequacy of allowed time.
(f) For bottle neck operations.
(g) When labor cost is high.
(h) To establish standard time as a basis for incentive scheme.
(i) When new tools, jogs and fixtures are used.

2. Select the worker to be studied.

The ideal worker would be the ‘qualified worker’, as defined earlier in this article. Since the ideal worker or qualified worker may not be available in the organization, the best available worker is chosen and his rating is determined as compared with the qualified worker.

3. Conducting stop watch time study.

In this step, the various activities involved are –

(a) Obtain and record all information available about the job, operator and working conditions.

(b) Record the method of doing the job and break down the job into elements.

An element is a distinct part of a specified job selected for convenience of observation, measurement and analysis.

The various types of elements involved in a job are:

(a) Repetitive element:

Work element which occurs in every work cycle of the job like picking up components from the container for assembly operations.

(b) Occasional element:

This occurs at intervals e.g. setting a tool on a machine.

(c) Constant element:

In this case the basic or normal time remains constant, whenever it is performed; e.g. measuring a dimension.

(d) Variable element: for which the basic or normal time varies.

(e) Manual element is performed manually.

(f) Machine element is performed automatically by a machine.

(g) Governing element occupies a longer time than any other element in a job.

(h) Foreign element is found to be an unnecessary element of a job e.g. unexpected breakage of a tool.

(c) Examine the various elements to ensure that the most effective motions are used in the elements of job performed.

(d) Measure the actual time taken by the operator to perform each element of the job, using a stop watch.

Time study is defined by ILO as follows:

‘Time study is a work measurement technique for recording the times and rates of working for the elements of a specified job carried out under specified conditions and for analyzing the data so as to obtain the time necessary for carrying out the job at a defined level of performance’.