Main Components of Method Study

The main components in the method study are:
1. Gaining information about and understanding the process, men carrying out the process and their work, machines carrying out the work, the tools, and the working conditions.
2. Information and understanding is to be sought in detail (as much as it makes sense) about the various components of process, and human, material and machine movements. This is preferably put in a graphic or visually simple-to-understand fashion for further analysis.
3. Analyzing critically:
(a) What? (operations, delays, inspections, or hand-and-body motions, etc.)
(b) Who? ( number and skills of person/s doing it)
(c) When? (sequence or time schedule of operations)
(d) Where? (work place)
(e) How? (use of tools, raw materials, etc.)
The questions are to be asked in that order.
4. After the critical examination, chalk out improved alternative methods which might be acceptable to the labor and the management.
5. Check acceptance and follow-up implementation to iron out wrinkles if any in the improved methods.
6. Much after the production is undertaken, a re-evaluation and maintenance of the method.

Criteria for Methods Improvement:

The improvement in method refers to criteria which are relevant to the organization, such as
* improved cost performance,
* improved time or delay in performance;
* improved worker satisfaction, or
* improved standardization of operations and products;

The last two aspects, although mentioned last, are not of less significance; in fact, sometimes the Method Study has much to do with improving the always important industrial relations and with changes in product design in consultation with marketing and other appropriate departments.

Time Study Standards:

Once the method is established, the next thing to do would be to set the standard times for the work. This aspect of work study is called the ‘Time study’. The ‘standard time’ by its very meaning should be a consistent and truthful measurement of the time required to perform the job or components of the job with the established method, incorporating established number of adequately skilled and healthy human beings, their actions, machines, materials and work place conditions. The consistency of the time standard should hold good for the same job done day after day without any harmful physical effects.

Uses of Time Study:

The utility of the time study comes in,
(1) determining the work content and thereby setting wages and incentives;
(2) arriving at cost standards per unit of output for the various jobs used for cost control and budgeting for deciding on sales price;
(3) comparing the work efficiency of different operators;
(4) arriving at job schedules for production planning purposes;
(5) manpower planning;

(6) aiding in the method study
(a) to appropriately sequence the work of an operator and the machines or that of a group of workers,
(b) to highlight time consuming elements, and
(c) to compare costs of alternative methods

(7) Product design by providing basic data on costs of alternative materials and methods required to manufacture the product.
Three Basic Systems of Time Study:

The setting of time standards is done basically by following three methods:
(a) Using a stop-watch
(b) Using synthetic time standards
(c) Using statistical sampling.

In the first, the actual performance is studied by collecting data while the worker/s is working, and the data so obtained are synthesized into the time standard. In the second, any work is subdivided into certain standard components for which the standard times are available from previously established time-studies; and these predetermined times are totaled, with appropriate allowances to compute the standard time for the job as a whole. Much of the skill of the time study man lies here in identifying the standard components of a job; the rest is arithmetical computation on paper. The third method is different from previous two in that it relies on statistical sampling.