Taylor’s studies on Shop floor

In this article we are giving some brief work of Taylor who has significantly contributed to the efficient methods on the shop floor for higher productivity resulted in increased production. Taylor is regarded as the pioneer in the work of Industrial engineering in the late 19th century and all the modern factory applications for efficiency owe the benefits to him.

Taylor came up with questions “which is the best way to do this job?” and “what should constitute a day’s work?”

Taylor explained his objectives in the following way:

The development of science for each element of man’s work there by replacing the old rule-of-thumb methods.

The selection of the best worker for each particular task and then training, teaching and developing the workman; in place of the former practice of allowing the worker to select his own task and train as best he could.

Development of a whole hearted cooperation between the management and the workers of the plant carrying the work in accordance with the principles. The principles were based on a developed science carrying the activities.

The division of the work into almost equal shares between the management and the workers, each department taking over work for which it is better fitted; instead of the former condition, in which almost all of the work and greater part of the responsibility were thrown on the men.

A case – Taylor’s investigation of Shoveling:

In 1898, Taylor went to the Bethlehem steel works and undertook to improve methods in various parts of the plant. One task which came to his attention was shoveling. 400 to 600 men were employed in the year and much of their work was shoveling. Iron ore was shoveled the most and then nice coal came next in tonnage. Taylor found that each good workman owned his own shovel; he preferred to do this rather than to have the company furnish it. A foreman supervised 50 to 60 men, and they shoveled a variety of materials in the course of a day. The yard was approximately 2 miles long and a quarter mile wide.

Taylor found that each man was lifting shovel loads of 3 ½ pounds when handling nice coal and up to 38 pounds when moving ore. He immediately set about to determine what shovel load permitted a first-class shovel to move the most materials in a day. Taylor took two good shovels, set them to work in different parts of the yard, and detailed two time study men with stop watches to study the work of these men.

At first large shovels were used so that heavy loads were taken. Then the end of the shovel was cut off to permit a smaller shovel load, and again the tonnage handled was noted. The results of this study showed that with a load of 21 ½ pounds on the shovel, a man could handle a maximum tonnage of a material in a day. Thus, a small spade shovel that would just hold 21 ½ pounds was provided for the worker when he handled ore, and a large scoop was provided for light materials such as ashes.

A tool room was established and special shovels were purchased and issued to the workers as needed. In addition Taylor inaugurated a planning department to determine in advance the work to be done in the yard. After 3 ½ years at the Bethehem plant Taylor was doing the same amount of the work in the yards with 140 men as was formerly done by 400 to 600. He reduced the cost of handling material from 7 to 8 cents to 3 to 4 cents per ton. After paying for all added expenses, such as planning the work, measuring the output of the workers, determining and paying bonuses each day, and maintaining the tool-room, Taylor showed a saving during the last 6 month period at the rate of $78,000 per year.

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