Principles of breaking the job into elements


The principles of time and motion studies help the organization, management and workers’ or labor unions to know the optimum time required to complete a job cycle. This will in turn facilitate negotiation of production incentives, piece rate or wage negotiations where productivity is linked.

Selection of Elements

1. Elements should be easily identified and should have distinct beginning and end. These beginnings and ends are many times to be recognized by a distinct sound like the stopping of the machine which creates a clinching sound; pressing of a tool on the table which will give a sound. Such clear points are known as break points and should be clearly described by breaking the job into elements and recoding them on time study charts.

2. Elements should not be too small in time variations (0.08 to 0.1 of a min) nor too large (20 sec). If the elements are too large then the performing rate may vary and too small it may difficult to rate it properly.

3. Elements should be as unified as possible. This means that certain group of basic motions like ‘reach for’, ‘grasp’, and ‘move’ can be combined together because they achieve the given purpose.

4. Measure each element in terms of time.

The next stage is concerned with groups of activities and the way they are combined together for timing. This is known aa breaking the job into elements.

The definition of an element is a distinct part to a specified job selected for convenience of observation , measurement and analysis.

For the purpose of timing, the whole jo is broken down into elements. In time study those elements will be anything between 0.05 to 0.5of minute. An expert is capable of choosing the timing and rating short elements based on his own expertise. The information to be obtained from the group of motions has been brought together as an element. The reason why a cycle of work has to be broken down into elements arises from the need to be able to identify the causes of time variation that will appear in actual practice. Timing the overall cycle does not provide the opportunity for isolating these causes and measuring their individual effect. Elements breakdown enables to:

a) Account for variation in time—human, environmental, material and equipment

b) Separate productive from unproductive activities

c) Increase accuracy in rating

d) Increase accuracy in assessing relaxation allowance by isolating those elements containing different elements of fatigue

e) Produce a detailed work specification – easier to check for coverage, insertions or omissions

f) Extract synthetic data for recurring elements

Certain motions must be grouped into an element with a definite purpose in mind, case of measurement being only one part of this. The beginning and end of an element must consist o something that is clearly recognizable, so that the observer knows precisely when it starts and when it finishes. The instant at which one element in a wok cycle ends and another begins is known as a break point. The best possible sort of break point to choose would be an activity that can be identified at a precise instant of time by the sound that it makes, a part falling into a bin or the starting of a machine. It must be understood that this is a thing if convenience only. There may be more important reasons why the job should be broken down in another way.

If sound cannot be used in the method then visual methods can be adopted. But whatever is the method it must be capable of precise recognition otherwise one element overlaps into other element.

In conclusion such studies must be conducted taking labor union or employee union into confidence. Once optimum production cycle time is determined then the output per shift can be worked out. When such data is available the wage negotiations can take place with mutual confidence and there will be no conflict between management and labor unions.