A case Study: Application of BasicMOST in a Lock’s Assembly

Abdelrahman Rabie, Ph.D Associate Professor Integrated Science and Technology Department James Madison University Harrisonburg, VA 22807, USA Abstract
Increased market competition has moved companies more towards 'customization' of their products and services. Therefore, it has become the norm rather than the exception for companies to update their operations continuously. Predetermined Motion Time Systems (PMTS) have become attractive and useful evaluation tools in this endeavor. BasicMOST, as an example of PMTS systems, was applied to the assembly of door locks. The results showed no significant differences between the standard times determined from BasicMOST and these obtained from conventional time studies.

MOST, Time Study, PMTS, Accuracy

1. Introduction
Predetermined Motion-Time Systems (PMTS) combines the best practices from the principles of motion study of the Gilbreths with the techniques of time study of Taylor [1]. The PMTS utilize previously established standard time data of basic motions, to determine standard times of manual operations. The most well known of these systems is Methods-Time Measurement (MTM). For PMTS , work measurement became a matter of devising the best motion pattern to perform a specific task, and assigning the appropriate established time from catalogued data, for each basic motion in that pattern. As a result, PMTS became increasingly attractive to analysts because of their consistency [2,3]. In addition, PMTS circumvent one the controversial issue of ‘performance rating’ that is inherits in conventional work measurement methods. Several PMTS methods had been computerized which made them easier to learn, faster in determining standard, and more capable of mass data update [4]. The latter, made these system economically advantageous to meet the frequent changes in processes to meet the ever-changing customer needs.

2. BasicMOST System
BasicMOST system [1], compared to other PMTS systems, concentrates on the movement of ‘objects’ rather than the basic motions of ‘worker’. This lead to using fewer elements in describing operations that consequently made the technique simpler to use, faster to implement, and more economical to use when compared to other PMTS systems. The fewer elements used in describing the operation, together with the smaller number of parameter used with these elements, made the system less susceptible to applicator’s deviations. In that regard it can be looked at as an enhancement to other exiting PMTS systems BasicMOST is one of three available modules in the family of MOST (Maynard Operation Sequence Technique). Basic MOST [1] is recommended for operation time that extends from few seconds to 10 minutes, with 0.5-3.0 minutes being a typical time. 2.1Sequence Models of Basic MOST

In Basic MOST, an operation is broken down into sub-operations, which are in turn, broken down to ‘activities’ and sub-activities. Each activity (method step) is represented by a ‘sequence model’ and the sub-activities are represented by 'parameters' of the model. Each parameter is associated with (followed by) an ‘index’ that represents the ‘time’ that it will take to perform this sub-activity. Partial list of the parameters are included in Table (1). Table 1. Partial List BasicMOST Parameters (from Geneidy, et al [4]) Symbol Definition Covers all spinal movement or action of finger, hands, and/or feet either loaded A or unloaded. Any control of these actions by the surroundings requires the use of other parameters. Refers to either vertical motions of the body or the actions necessary to overcome B an obstruction or impairment to body movement Covers all manual motions (mainly finger, hand and foot) employed to obtain G complete manual control of an object and to sequentially relinquish that control. The G parameter can include one or several short-move motions whose objective is to gain full control of the object(s) before it is to be moved to another location Refers to action at the final stage of an object’s displacement to align, orient P and/or engage the object with another object(s) before the control of the object relinquished

Parameter Action distance Body action Gain control


BasicMOST has three types of sequence models, General Move, Controlled Move, and Tool Use. With the proper combinations of these models, any operation can be modeled [1,4]. The General Move Sequence is characterized by a sequence of unrestricted spatial displacement of an object under manual control. It is described as: 1.Use one or two hands to reach the object(s) with distance. The body movement might be used as appropriate in order to help the movement of the object. 2. Gain manual control of the object. 3. Move the object with a distance to the target point of placement. The body movement might be used as appropriate in order to help the movement of the object(s). 4. Place the object in a required position. 5. Return to workplace or in the normal working position. These five steps can be represented by five parameters in three distinct phases as Get Ax By Gz Put Ak Bl Pm Return An

The indexes (subscripts x, y, etc) associated with each parameter are catalogued on data cards.Table(2) shows a representative column from data card for the values of index ‘x’, in TMU (Time Measurement Units) Table 2. Index values for parameter Index ‘x’ (x10) 0 1 3 6 10 16 Parameter A ‘Action Distance’ ≤ 2 in within reach 1–2 steps 3-4 steps 5 -7 steps 8-10 steps

In the BasicMOST software, there are drop-down lists of indexes values for all parameters. The time of the activity that is represented by the model is determined by adding the values of the indexes (x, y, etc). As shown in Table (2), the value of the index will depend on the description of the parameter. Therefore, it

becomes necessary for the user to understand the different descriptions of each parameter, as it will affect the calculated time of the model, and hence, the accuracy of the sub-operations and operations. The same applies for both the Controlled Move and the Tool Use sequence models. Details on these modules can be found Zandin[1].

3. Case Study
A mortise door lock with 26 components to be assembled was selected to study the accuracy of the BasicMOST. The workstation ( Fig. 1) was designed to permit the operator to assemble two locks every cycle. Components, tools (power, manual testing/inspection), labeling, and assembled locks were placed within reach from the operator. The components were placed in multi-rows gravity feed bins and power tools were suspended in front of the operator. The operator chooses the most comfortable posture to do the work (sitting, standing, etc). The work environment is clean, the ambient temperature is very comfortable, and the lighting is good with adjustable lamp position. The operator is expected to assemble 150 locks (i.e. 75 cycles) during the production time of 6.5 hours.

Label Stickers

Power Screwdriver

Assembly Table

Parts’ Bins

Figure1. Door lock workstation The ‘operation’ time will be determined using conventional standard time method (CM) and BasicMOST. The results will be compared and analyzed 3.1 Conventional time study procedure There are seven steps to be followed to determine a standard time for an operation [5]; selection of a qualified worker, breaking down of operation into work elements, selection of sample size (number of cycles to be observed), timing of work elements, determining of performance rating, calculation of allowances, and synthesis of the standard time. 3.1.1 Selection of the qualified Worker A qualified worker is one who has acquired the skill, knowledge and other attributes to carry out the work in hand to satisfactory standards of quantity, quality and safety. The supervisor of the lock assembly section from the seven available workers selected an average worker. From observation, the worker was consistent and worked at normal (average) pace. The worker was informed of the study and that he would be video taped. 3.1.2 Breaking down of operation into work elements The time study person, for ease and convenience of recording and measuring, breaks down the operation into work elements that are distinct and easily identifiable. The separation point between the elements is called the “break point”. It means the ending point of the previous element and the starting point of the next element. The break point could be an activity, a sound, or any other distinguishable form of signal. The lock assembly operation was broken down into six elements as shown in Table 3. 3.1.3 Selection of sample size

To ensure the normality assumption, a sample size of 30 was initially selected. However, 4 cycles were discarded due to intrusion of foreign elements, which resulted in a sample size of 26. Based on Mayer’s formula [6] a sample size n calculated using {(40/∑x)*√n′ ∑x2 – (∑x)2}2, where n′ is the preliminary sample size (normally n′ = 5) and the x’s are the observed times, will determine the measured time within + 5% accuracy at a confidence level of 95.45%. The preliminary sample of element 5 showed that the largest sample size to be used for the study is 19. Therefore, the 26-sample size used in the study, should result in more accurate results at a higher level of confidence. Table 3. Work elements of Lock assembly Element 1 2 3 4 5 6 Description (#activities, # sequence models)* Pick and place two lock-casings on the table (1,2) Assemble components inside the casings (1, 27) Attach front covers and labels to the casings and flip them over (3,3) Attach back covers and labels (2, 2) Inspect and test the locks (1, 11) Place finished locks into a box (1, 1)
* See section 3.2.1 for interpretation

3.1.4 Timing of work elements The operation was observed and the work elements were recorded and timed using traditional clipboard and stopwatch. The snapback stopwatch method was used in recording the time. In addition, videotape was recorded to complement the limited experience of the person conducting the study (graduate student). The normal time NTi for element ‘i’ is calculated from the observed time OTi NTi = OTi × Ri where, Ri is the performance rating of the worker who carries out element i. 3.1.5 Determining of performance rating Normal performance of a worker can be defined as the average rate of output, which a qualified worker will naturally achieve over a fair working day. This performance should be judged to be normal (average) and should be assigned 100% rating by the time study person. The performance rating of the worker was determined using the Westinghouse System [7]. The performance rating is still a controversial part of traditional time study because of its dependence on the experience and judgment of the time study person. 3.1.6 Calculation of allowances Allowances are the time to be added to the normal time to cover for the lost time due to fatigue, personal needs, interruptions, delays and slowdowns. International Labor Organization (ILO) recommendations for such allowances and their calculations can be found in [5]. Similar to performance rating, allowance calculations are subjective and are a controversial in all time studies techniques. Efforts in the area of ergonomics start to produce objective data for some of the allowances. The allowance is usually expressed as a percentage of the normal time. 3.1.7 Synthesis of standard time This is the last step to determine the standard time for an operation. First, The normal time of the operation is calculated from the individual normal times of elements (1). That is Normal Time = ∑Nti. Secondly, the standard time is calculated Standard time = Normal Time + Allowance Time Or, Standard Time = Normal Time × (1 + % Allowance) (3) (4) (2) (1)

When the allowance is presented as a percentage of the normal time. It should be pointed out that the objective of this work is to compare the techniques of Basic MOST and traditional method and not to calculate a standard time for the assembly. Therefore, the normal times are used in the analysis instead of the standard times. It should be also added that the allowances are independent from the measurement techniques.

3.2 The Basic MOST procedure
A five steps procedure is used to develop the normal time of the operation 1. Observe and document the methods of operation 2. Break down the sub-operation into logical activities 3. Select the appropriate sequence model for each activity 4. Select the appropriate ‘indices values’ for the parameters of the models, including their repetitions (frequencies). 5. Synthesis the normal time of the operation. For ease of analysis and comparison of results with these from the CM, the same work elements, Table (3), that were developed for the CM, were used as the sub-operations of BasicMOST (step 1). From the video recorded earlier for the CM, the sub-operation is broken down to logical activities that are represented by adequate sequence models (step 2&3). The values of the indices are selected for the parameters of the models (step 4). Finally, adding the values of indices give the normal time of the operation (step 5) which is required for this study. However, if needed, the standard time of the operation can be determined as explained in section 3.1.7. The BasicMOST software (university version) was used in this study. It is designed so that models, parameters, and indices can be easily selected and the normal times calculated. It can develop database that can be used to store, retrieve, modify and/or develop time standard. The editing and printing capabilities are also included.

5. Results and Analysis
Table (4) shows the normal time (in TMU) for both the conventional stopwatch method (CM) and the Basic MOST for the individual elements and the operation. Included also in the Table are the accuracies associated with these times. Table 4. Normal times and associated accuracies Time (TMU) CM BasicMOST Element 1 197 + 17* 180 + 20 Element 2 5593 + 186 5680 + 111 Element 3 814 + 50 760 + 41 Element 4 425 + 48 330 + 27 Element 5 847 + 73 830 + 42 Element 6 63 + 6 70 + 12 Operation 7940 + 227 7850 + 133 Time
*Accuracies are rounded to the nearest whole numbers

The accuracies of the CM times are calculated from {+ tα,n-1*[ (s/(n)0..5] } where tα,n is t-value from Student’s distribution at significance level of α and degree of freedom (n-1), s is the standard deviation from observations, and n is the number of observed cycles. The results shown in Table (4) were calculated for α=0.05 (confidence level 95%), n=26, and t (0.025,25) =2.060.

The accuracy of the BasicMOST time is determined from [+ t * re] where t is the operation (or element) time, and ‘re ‘ is the allowed deviation ‘re’ in any element of the operation that is repeated ‘n’ times over the production period ‘BP’ and which would guarantee the + 5% accuracy in the calculated total operation time. The values of ‘re’ are determined from {+ 0.05 * [BP/(n*t)] 0.5 } using BP=6.5 hours and n =75 cycles ( See section 3). More Details about the accuracies for both CM and BasicMOST can be found in Rabie [8] and Zandin [1] Examining the times in Table (4), CM (column 2) and BasicMOST(column3), and taking into account the accuracies, it can be seen that these times overlap. This indicates that there is no significant difference between the two methods in determining the normal ‘true times’. This could be supported with the argument that, as stated in [1], that the ‘true time’ in work measurement is indeterminate. . The use of direct observations in CM methods does not lend the determined normal times to be automatically exact or true. This is because the ‘performance ratings’ used in calculating these times, involve subjective judgments from analysts, which would vary from one analyst to the other. Therefore, if it is assumed that the time study and measurements are thoroughly conducted for both methods, and that calculated times overlap, it is creditable to assume that the ‘true time’ would lie some where in the overlapping region. (More case studies should be analyzed to be able to assert this fact with some level of confidence).

1. There is no significant difference between the normal times evaluated from BacisMOST and conventional time study methods 2. Compared to conventional methods, the accuracy of BasicMOST can be predicted in advance from statistically developed expressions 3. The procedure of Basic MOST eliminates the controversial calculation and time consuming efforts used in the conventional work measurements, i.e., worker qualifying, performance rating, and the selection of sample size. 4. Standard times calculated by BasicMOST are faster to obtain when compared to conventional methods. In addition of its cost advantages, it makes BasicMOST more responsive to the ever-changing processes to meet customer needs.

The author would like to thank Mr. P. Putthawong, B.S, M.S, for performing the time study when he was in the M.S Industrial Engineering graduate program at The University of Southern Colorado (Pueblo). At present, Mr. Putthawong works in quality control at LTEC Ltd (a subsidiary of Fujikura, Japan), ChiangMai, Thailand

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. Zandin, K.B., 1990, MOST: Work Measurement Systems, Marcel Dekker, Inc., New York Brown, A., 1992, “Office Work Measurement by PADS”, Work Study, 4, 18-26 Gowan, C., 1999, “Which Work Measurement Tool?” Manufacturing Engineering, 122, 18 Genaidy, A.M., Agrawal, A., and Mital A, 1990, “Computerized Predetermined Motion-Time System in Manufacturing Industries”, Computer Industrial Engineering, 18,571-584 Kanawaty, G.(ed), 1992, Introduction to Work Study, ILO Mayer, R., 1975, Production and Operation Management, McGraw Hill, New York Lowry, S., Maynard, H., and Stegemerten, G., 1940, Time & Motion Study and Formulas for Wage Incentives, 3rd ed, McGraw Hill, New York, New York Rabie, A., 2001,”Evaluation of the Accuracy of BasicMOST,” Proc. IERC-2001, May 20-23, Dallas, Texas (to be published)

Biographical sketch
Abdelrahman Rabie

Current position : Associate Professor Integrated Science and Technology Department James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Virginia Education: 1982 PhD 1974 M.Sc 1996 B.Sc

Mech. Eng, Univ. of Nottingham, England Manufacturing Techn., Univ. of Manchester, England Production Eng., Cairo Univ, Egypt

Experience: Have academic experience in higher education in different engineering programs in USA, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt. Have technical management experience of manufacturing plants. I Current research and interests: Manufacturing systems, Methods Engineering, Manufacturing Processes, and Integration of Science/Engineering/Technology in higher education

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