Time and Motion Study: Efficiency Tool that Improves Processes

4 Min Read
Time and Motion Study: Efficiency Tool that Improves Processes

People have been searching for the most efficient ways to work for the longest time. Frederick W. Taylor is one of the experts who wrote a book on the subject, both literally and figuratively. 

Taylor’s concepts contributed a great deal to efficiency studies. The time and motion study is among his significant contributions.

Put simply, the study is about evaluating the movements that it takes to achieve a certain role and the time consumed. Time & motion study, at its core, seeks to drive productivity from a workforce.

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What is Time and Motion Study?

The time and motion study consists of two components – time study by Frederick Taylor and motion study by Frank B. and Lillian M. Gilbreth. Taylor began time studies in the 1880s to determine the duration of particular tasks occurring under specific conditions. A few other studies came before Taylor, but his had the most impact. The time study was a component of the scientific management theory. Taylor’s approach focused on reducing time wastage for maximum efficiency.

Motion study by the Gilbreths evaluated movements and how they can improve work methods. Frank and Lillian Gilbreth pursued the motion study in a bid to expound on scientific management. Taylorism, as the theory is called, had a major flaw. It lacked a human element. Critics said that Taylor’s approach was solely about profits. 

The Gilbreths included several variables while studying how to increase efficiency. Some of them are health, skills, habits, temperament and nutrition. In the book Gilbreth and Gilbreth, the two experts explain that motion study looks at the fatigue that workers experience then finds ways to eliminate it. They recommended solutions like rest-recovery periods, chairs and workbenches.

Implementation of the scientific management theory was one of the first instances that process improvement and process management were treated as a scientific problem.

Application of Time-Motion Study in Today’s Business

Every task you do, except for thinking, requires some movement. Whether it’s typing code, plugging in a pressure washer or sketching and building a plan, movement is key. It’s why’s the time & motion study is applicable even in the modern environment. 

By analysing how employees operate, and the time they spend, a company can pinpoint where the problem is. Removing inefficiencies increases the productivity of your staff. 

For example, finding a better way to manufacturer a car means that production time reduces and output increases. Excessive motion is the biggest cause of time wastage. Completing a task in ten steps, when seven could have easily accomplished the same results means that a worker is wasting a lot of resources.

Implementation The Study Improves Processes

Proper implementation time-motion study allows you to improve processes and optimisation of performance. Better working methods boost efficiency and decrease fatigue in workers. Effectiveness is not just about how hard you work, but how smart. 

Time-motion theory enhances resource planning and allocation. When you know how much time and movements particular tasks require, you can apportion the necessary resources. Decreased costs is another advantage. The better you plan resources and the more work the staff accomplishes, the higher the cost savings. Remember to measure how much time workers save after implementing changes.

Once you grasp how time and motion study fits into everyday operations, you can use the time and motion study theory to get the most out of employees.

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