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7-1 Design of Work Systems

William J. Stevenson
Operations Management
7-2 Design of Work Systems
Design of
Work Systems
Operations Management, Eighth Edition, by William J. Stevenson
Copyright © 2005 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
7-3 Design of Work Systems
The jobs that yield the highest productivity levels are the ones that
appear to generate the greatest amount of worker dissatisfaction,
posing somewhat of a dilemma for job designers. Lean production
puts added stress on workers. Managers should be aware of this,
and try to minimize negative effect. In this chapter we will talk
about job design, work measurement, establishment of time
standards and worker compensation.
- Job design involves specifying the content and methods of job,
practically speaking job designers are concerned with
- What will be done?
- Who will do the job ?
- How the job will be done ?
- Where the job will be done ?
- Ergonomics
Job Design
7-4 Design of Work Systems
Job Design Success
The objectives of job design include productivity, safety, and
equality of work life.
Successful Job Design must be:
- Carried out by experienced personnel with the necessary
training and background
- Without a good background in job design is likely to overlook
important aspects of it. Workers and managers should both be
consulted to take advantage of their knowledge.
- Consistent with the goals of the organization
- In written form, which can serve a basis for referral if question
arise about it.
- Understood and agreed to by both management and employees
7-5 Design of Work Systems
- Ergonomics in an important part of job design.
Ergonomics is the incorporation of HUMAN
FACTORS in the design of the workplace.
- It relates to design of equipment, design of work
methods & overall design of the work
- Ergonomics seeks to prevent common workplace
injuries such as back injuries and repetitive –
motion injuries by taking into account the fact that
people vary in their physical dimensions and
7-6 Design of Work Systems
Design of Work Systems

- Basic Schools of thought of Job Designers
- Specialization
- Teams
- Motivation and Trust
- Methods Analysis
- Motions Study
- Working conditions
7-7 Design of Work Systems
Basic Schools of thought of Job Designers
1. Efficiency school of thought;
- It’s a refinement of Frederick Winslow Taylors scientific
management concepts
- Emphasizes a systematic logical approach to job design;
- Efficiency approach may not be appropriate in every instance.
2. Behavioral school of thought
- Emphasizes satisfaction of wants and needs;
- It reminds managers of complexity of human beings;
- The basic issue seemed to be the degree of
specialization associated with jobs;
- High specialization appeared to generate the most dis-satisfaction
- It is noted that specialization is a primary issue of disagreement
between the efficiency and behavioral approaches.
7-8 Design of Work Systems
Behavioral Approaches to Job Design
- Job Enlargement
- Giving a worker a larger portion of the total
task by horizontal loading
- Job Rotation
- Workers periodically exchange jobs
- Job Enrichment
- Increasing responsibility for planning and
coordination tasks, by vertical loading
In order to make job, more interesting and meaningful, job
Designs frequently consider:-
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- This term has got a very narrow scope e.g. examples
range from assembly line to medical specialists;
- College professors often specialize in teaching
certain courses;
- Auto mechanics specialize in transmission repair;
- Some bakeries specialize in wedding cake;
- The workers who choose certain specialty are not
unhappy with their jobs. (this seems to be especially
true in professions like (doctors, lawyers, professors
- Specialists yield high productivity and low unit costs
7-10 Design of Work Systems
Specialization in Business: Advantages
For Management:
1. Simplifies training
2. High productivity
3. Low wage costs
For Labor:

1 . Low education and
skill requirements
2. Minimum
3. Little mental effort
Table 7.1
7-11 Design of Work Systems
For Management:
Difficult to motivate

2. Worker dissatisfaction,
possibly resulting in
absenteeism, high
turnover, disruptive
tactics, poor attention
to quality
For Labor:
1. Monotonous work
2. Limited opportunities
for advancement
3. Little control over work
4. Little opportunity for
Table 7.1
7-12 Design of Work Systems
- The job that are more susceptible to automation are those
that are repetitive, boring, and monotonous. Hence the
jobs that are least desirable from a human stand point.
Often lend themselves to automation.
- Automation yields a highly quality compared to human-
generated output.
- The rate of output generally exceeds human capabilities.
- Human conflicts are avoided.
Increased use of mechanization enables Designers to
free workers from repetitious work, which tends to be
monotones & boring

7-13 Design of Work Systems
- Sometimes automation results in more jobs rather than less,
although, it replaces humans. The jobs created are more
interesting than those lost.
- The fact that the workers must be retained, which adds to
the cost. Moreover, workers often tend resist any sort of
- Automated systems often involve substantial costs, and this
usually means that a fairly high volume of output is needed
to make the system economical
- Automated system can be inflexible, they are often
restricted by design to a narrow range of tasks.
7-14 Design of Work Systems
Case Study
- Japanese are much greater users of automated processing
compared to Americans in Automobile and steel industries.
But they are considerably less-automated in agriculture.
There are some reasons why in these countries the
managers of different firms still reluctant in using
automated process. Reasons are:
 Resistance of Labour unions
Enormous cost involved couples with a long period of
time before payoffs can be realized
Problems associated with integrated automated systems
into current operations like costs, technology;
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Motivation and Trust
It influences quality and productivity;
It also contributes to the work environment
People work for variety of reasons; compensation
is often the leading reasons; it is not the only
reason; other reasons include
 Socialization
 Self-actualization
 Status, the physiological aspects of work, and as
sense of purpose and accomplishment.

7-16 Design of Work Systems
Another factor that influences productivity and
employee management relations is TRUST
- In an ideal work environment, there is a high level
of trust between workers and managers.
- When manager trust employees, there is a greater
tendency to give employees added responsibilities.
- When employees trust management, they are more
likely to respond positively. Conversely, when
they do not trust management, they are more likely
to respond in less desirable ways.

7-17 Design of Work Systems
-The efforts of business organizations to become more
productive, competitive and customer-oriented have caused them
to form teams.
-Benefits of teams:
-Higher quality-Higher productivity-Greater worker satisfaction,
higher level of worker satisfaction can result in less turnover, &
absenteeism resulting in lower cost to train new worker
-Self-directed teams also called self managed Teams are
designed to achieve a higher level of team work & employee
-Groups of empowered to make certain changes in their work
process, fewer managers, one manager can handle several teams,
improved responsiveness to problems
7-18 Design of Work Systems
Methods Analysis
- Methods analysis focuses on:
- Analyzing how a job gets done
- Begins with overall analysis
- Moves to generals to specific details of jobs.
Concentrating on arrangement of the
workplace and movements of the worker
and/or materials.
- Method analysis can be a good source of
productivity improvements.

7-19 Design of Work Systems
Methods Analysis
- Changes in tools and equipment
- Changes in product design
or new products
- Changes in materials or procedures
- Other factors (e.g. accidents, quality
The need for methods analysis can come
from a number of different sources:
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Methods Analysis, Basic Procedure
Methods analysis is done both for existing jobs
and jobs that have not yet been performed.
1. Identify the operation to be studied
2. Get employee input
3. Study and document current method
4. Analyze the job
5. Propose new methods
6. Install new methods
7. Follow-up to ensure improvements have been
7-21 Design of Work Systems
Analyzing the Job, & Preparing new Methods
Job analysis requires careful thought about the 5W’s of the job.
By encouraging the analyst to take a DEVILS’s advocate attitude towards
both present and proposed methods. Analyzing and improving methods is
facilitated by the use of various charts such as flow process charts and
worker machine charts.
Experienced analysts usually develop a CHECKLIST of questions they
ask themselves to generate ideas for improvements some representative
questions are:-
1. Why is there a delay or storage at this point?
2. How can travel distances be shortened or avoided?
3. Can materials handling be reduced?
4. Would a rearrangement of workplace result in greater efficiency?
5. Can similar activities be grouped?
6. Would the use of additional or improved equipment be helpful?
7. Does the worker have any ideas for improvements?
7-22 Design of Work Systems
Process Flow Charts
- Flow process chart
- Chart used to examine the overall sequence of an operation
by focusing on movements of the operator or flow of
materials. These charts are helpful in indentifying non-
productive parts of the process (e.g., delays, temporary
storages, distances travelled. (The figure on the next slide
describes the symbols used in the constructing a flow
process charts, and figure 7.2 illustrates a flow process
- The uses of flow process charts include studying the flow of
material through a department.
- Studying the sequence that documents or forms take
- Analyzing movement

7-23 Design of Work Systems
Fig. 7.1 Symbols used in Method Analysis

Process Chart Symbols
7-24 Design of Work Systems
Job Requisition of petty cash
Details of Method
D. Kolb
1 of 2
Requisition made by department head
Put in “pick-up” basket
To accounting department
Account and signature verified
Amount approved by treasurer
Amount counted by cashier
Amount recorded by bookkeeper
Petty cash sealed in envelope
Petty cash carried to department
Petty cash checked against requisition
Receipt signed
Petty cash stored in safety box
7-25 Design of Work Systems
Worker-machine chart
A worker Machine Chart is helpful in visualizing the
portions of a work cycle during which an operator and
equipment are busy or idle.
The analyst can easily see when the operator and
machine are working INDEPENDENTLY and when
their work overlaps or is interdependent.
Fig. 7.3 is an example of worker –machine chart.
Among other things, the chart highlights worker
and machine UTILIZATION.
Worker-machine chart
7-26 Design of Work Systems
FIG. 7.3 Worker Machine Chart
Worker-Machine Chart
7-27 Design of Work Systems
Motion Study
There are number of Techniques that motion
study analyst can use to develop efficient
1 Motion study is the systematic study of the
human motions used to perform an
2 Analysis of therbligs
3 Micromotion study
4 Charts
7-28 Design of Work Systems
Motion Study Techniques
Motion study principles - guidelines for designing
motion-efficient work procedures. The guidelines are
divided into three categories:
-Principles for use of the body;
-Principles for arrangement of workplace;
-Principles for the design of tools and equipment.

7-29 Design of Work Systems
Developing Work Methods
In developing work methods that are motion
efficient, the analyst tries to:
-Eliminate unnecessary motions;
-Combine activities;
-Reduce fatigue;
-Improve the arrangement of the workplace;
-Improve the design of tools and equipment

7-30 Design of Work Systems
Analysis of therbligs - basic elemental motions into
which a job can be broken down.
The idea behind the development of therbligs is to
break jobs down into minute elements and base
improvements on an analysis of the basic elements by
eliminating, combining, or rearranging them. A
complete description of therbligs is outside the scope
of this text; a list of some common ones will illustrate
the nature of these basic elemental motions;- Search,
Select, Grasp, Hold, Transport load, Release load,
Inspection position, plan, rest, and delay.

7-31 Design of Work Systems
Frank Gilbreth and his wife, Lillian, an industrial
Psychologist, were also responsible for introducing
motion pictures and slow motions to study motions that
otherwise would be too rapid to analyze is called
Micromotion study. This approach is applied not only in
industry but in many other areas of Human Endeavor,
such as sports and health care. Use of camera and slow
motion replay enable analyst to study motions that would
otherwise be too rapid to see.
Additionally these films can also provide a permanent
record that can be referred to, not only for training
workers and analysts but also for settling job disputes
involving work methods.
7-32 Design of Work Systems
- Charts - can be used to study simultaneous
motions of the hands
- Motion study analyst often use Charts such as
those described earlier can be quite helpful. In
addition, analysts may use a Simo-Chart to study
simultaneous motion of the hands.
7-33 Design of Work Systems
- Working Conditions are an important aspect of job
design, physical factors such as temperature,
humidity, ventilation, illumination, color and noise
can have a significant impact on worker performance
in terms of productivity, quality of output and
1. Temperature and Humidity:
- Although human beings can work under a family
wide range of temperatures. There is a very narrow
“Comfort Band”.

7-34 Design of Work Systems
-Office workers and other who exert little physical effort
perform best when temperatures are between 65
F – 72
-Strenuous activities and other who exert little physical
effort perform best when temperatures are between 55
F –
F are best.
-Heating or cooling are less of a problem in offices than
they are in factories and other work environments.
-Humidity is also an important factor in maintaining a
comfortable working environment. 50 to 30% humidity is
comfortable. For cooling, less humidity is desired than
high humidity; for heating on a cold day, less heating is
required for a warm day for high humid environment.

7-35 Design of Work Systems
Working Conditions
Temperature &
Illumination Color
7-36 Design of Work Systems
Working Conditions (cont’d)
Noise & Vibration
Causes of Accidents
Work Breaks
7-37 Design of Work Systems
2. Ventilation unpleasant and noxious odors O
3. Illumination depends upon the type of work being
- More detailed work;
- Mental work
- From safety standpoint; good lighting in stairways,
hall, gates entrances etc.
7-38 Design of Work Systems
There are two features of color that are important from
job design:
- One is the ability of colors to affect moods and
- Other is the visual discriminations it permits
Color produces emotional and psychological effects in
many situations. Some of the effects of the various
colors are:
- Red: conveys warmth, action, and stimulation. It is a
high visibility color.

7-39 Design of Work Systems
- Yellow: is also a high visibility color. It can give the
impression of cheerfulness and freshness.
- Blue: is a low visibility color. It may convey
coolness and may promote thoughtfulness or
- Green: is a low visibility color. It may convey calm
and restfulness.
- Brown: is a natural and low visibility color. Gives
peaceful feeling.
- Orange: high visibility color and attracts the attention
more than any other color and imparts the feelings of
warmth and stimulation.
7-40 Design of Work Systems
Some of the common uses are:
- Red: used for fire protection equipment, gasoline strong
tanks, danger signs, emergency warning lights and hot pipes.
- Yellow: indicates caution. Used to designate walkways,
edges of stairs, corners, and ends of loading docks, school
buses, heavy equipment and forklifts because of its high
- Blue: used to mark control devices, water pipes and valves.
- Green: designate safety areas or equipment.
- Purple: Radiation hazards.
- Orange: Dangerous parts of equipment and safety starting
buttons and switches.
7-41 Design of Work Systems
- Noise is unwanted sound; can be annoying or
distracting, leading to errors and accidents; can
also damage or impair hearing if it is loud enough.
- It is caused by vibrations of machines or
equipment as well as by humans.
- In a new operation, selection and placement of
equipment can eliminate or reduce many potential
- In an existing equipment, it may be possible to
redesign the equipment or substitute other
7-42 Design of Work Systems
- In some cases the source of noise can be
isolated from other work areas. If that is not
feasible, acoustical walls and ceilings or baffles
that deflect sound waves may prove useful.
- Sometimes only protective devices for those
working in the immediate vicinity are feasible (e.g.
personnel who guide jet aircraft into landing gates
wear protective devices over their ears).

7-43 Design of Work Systems
Working Conditions
Decibel Values of Typical Sounds (db)
7-44 Design of Work Systems
Vibration only can be a factor in job design even without a
noise component, so merely eliminating sound may not be
sufficient in every case.
Vibrations can come from tools, machines, vehicles,
human activity, air conditioning systems, pumps and other
sources. Corrective measures include, padding,
stabilizers, shock observers, cushioning and rubber
6) Work breaks: The frequency, length and time of work
breaks can have a significant impact on both productivity and
quality of output. One indication of the relationship between
worker efficiency and work breaks is shown in fig (8.7)
transparency. It shows:

7-45 Design of Work Systems
Working Conditions
A typical relationship between
worker efficiency and time of day
7-46 Design of Work Systems
i) Efficiency generally declines as the day wears on, but it also shows
ii) How breaks for lunch and rest can cause an upward shift in efficiency
- The factors which effect the efficiency is the amount of physical and/or
mental requirements of the job. Steel workers, for instance, may need
rest breaks of 15 minutes per hour due to heavy/strenuous nature of
their job. Working on CRTs, moreover, you have undoubtedly
experienced the benefits of study breaks.
7) Safety is perhaps one of the most basic issues in job designs.
- This is the area that needs constant attention from management,
employees and designers.
- From an employer standpoint, accidents are undesirable because they
are expensive (insurance and compensation); they usually involve
damage to equipment and/or product. They require hiring, training and
make-up work and generally interrupts work.
7-47 Design of Work Systems
- From worker standpoint, accidents mean physical suffering, mental
anguish, potential loss of earnings, and disruption of work routine.
- There are two basic causes of accidents:
- Worker carelessness: rash driving, drinking and driving, failure to use
protective equipment, overriding safety controls.
- Accident hazards: disregarding safety procedure, improper use of tools
and equipments (e.g. running, throwing objects, cutting through, failure
to observe one way signs).
- Failure to use reasonable caution in danger areas (zones).
- Unsafe conditions include unprotected pulleys, chains, material handling
equipment, machinery and so on.
- Also poorly lighted walkways, stairs, and loading docks constitute
- Toxic wastes, gases and vapors and radiation hazards must be contained.

7-48 Design of Work Systems
- In many instances, these cannot be detected without special equipment, so
they would not be obvious to workers or emergency personnel.
- Protection against hazards involves:
- Use of proper lighting;
- Clearly marking danger zones;
- Use of protective equipment (e.g. hard hats, gloves, goggles, ear muffs,
heavy shoes and clothing).
- Safety devices (e.g. machine guards, dual control switches, that require an
operator to use both hands);
- Emergency equipment (e.g. emergency showers, fire extinguishers, fire
- Through instruction in safety procedures;
- Use of regular and emergency equipment;
- House keeping (clean floors, open aisles, waste removal etc.) is another
important safety factor.

7-49 Design of Work Systems

Protection against hazards is necessary where material or equipment may pose a
danger. An employee wears protective clothing and an air mask while spray painting a
Porsche in Stuttgart. Baden-Wurttenberg, Germany. One the customer selects from
among 2000 color, the car is spray painted by hand in 2-3 days. Only the primer and
undercoating are done by robot.
7-50 Design of Work Systems
- Worker must stay vigilant and point out to the management
- Management must enforce safety procedure and use of safety
- However accidents cannot be completely eliminated and a freak
accident may seriously affect worker morale and might even
contribute to additional accidents.
- Posters can be very effective, particularly if they communicate in
specific terms
“How to avoid Accidents” e.g.,
“Be Careful”
“Wear Hardhats”
“Walk don’t run”
“Hold on to rail and so on”

7-51 Design of Work Systems
- Accidents that cause serious injury and loss of work
time beyond the day of the injury are called lost-time
- Although minor accidents can serve as a warning of
impending major accidents. FREQUENCY,
SEVERITY, and SERIOUSNESS are defined as
Frequency = No. of lost-time accidents/million labour-
hours worked
Severity = No. of days lost/million labour hours worked
Average Seriousness = Severity / Frequency (avoids the
need to determine the no. of hours worked)
7-52 Design of Work Systems
Work Measurement
- Standard time
- Stopwatch time study
- Historical times
- Predetermined data
- Work Sampling
7-53 Design of Work Systems
Work Measurement
- Work measurement is concerned with determining the “length
of time” it should take to complete the job
- Job times are vital inputs for manpower planning, estimating
labour cost, scheduling, budgeting and designing incentive
- From worker’s standpoint, time standard provide an indication
of expected output
- Time standards reflect the amount of time it should take an
average worker to do a given job working under typical
conditions. More formally, STANDARD time is the amount of
time it should take a qualified worker to complete a specified
task working at a sustainable rate, using given methods, tools
and equipment, raw material inputs, and workplace

7-54 Design of Work Systems
Work Measurement
The most commonly used methods of work measurement are:
- Stopwatch time study
- Historical times,
- Predetermined data 1940 MTM
- Work sampling L.H.C. Tippett 1934
Stopwatch time study
- Introduced by Frederick Winslow Taylor in Late 19
- Today it is the most widely used method of work measurement.
- It is especially appropriate for short, repetitive tasks.
- It involves developing a time standard based on observation of
one worker taken over a number of cycles. Once established, it is
then applied to the work of all others in the organization who
perform the same task.

7-55 Design of Work Systems
Work Measurement
The basic steps in a time study are:-
Define the task to be studied and inform the worker who
will be studied
Determine the No. of cycles to observe
Time the job and rate the worker’s performance.
Compute the standard time.
Workers might attempt to include extra motions during
study in the hope of gaining as standard that allows more
time per piece (i.e; the worker will be able to work at a
slower pace and still meet the standard)
the analyst who will study the job should be thoroughly
familiar with it.
7-56 Design of Work Systems
Work Measurement
- Sometime an analyst will want to break all but very short
jobs down into basic elemental motions (e.g, reach
grasp) and obtain times for each element.
There are several reasons for this:-
One is that some elements are not done in every cycle
Breakdown enables that analyst to get a better
perspective on them.
- It is important to inform the worker to avoid suspicion or
misunderstanding. Workers sometime feel uneasy about
being studied, and they may fear changes that might

7-57 Design of Work Systems
Work Measurement
- The No. of cycles that must be timed is a function of 3
- Variability of observed times
- Desired accuracy
- Desired level of confidence for the estimated job time. Very
often desired accuracy is expressed as a % of the mean
observed times. e.g: the goal of a time study may be to
achieve as estimate that in within ± 10% of the actual mean.
- The sample size that will be needed to achieve that goal can
be determined using this formula:
n =


x a
7-58 Design of Work Systems
Work Measurement
Z= No. of normal st.devi. needed for desired confidence.
S = is sample standard deviation
- Typical values of Z used in this computation are:
90 1.65 These values
can be
obtained form
appendix B
table A& B
95 1.96
95.5 2.00
98 2.33
99 2.58
7-59 Design of Work Systems
Work Measurement
- An alternative formula that is used when the desired accuracy is
stated as an amount (e.g; within 1 minute of the true mean)
instead of a % age is;

n = where e is accuracy or maximum error desired
- Initially small No. of sample size are taken, then compute the
value of & S and find n. At the end the analyst may want to
recomputed n based on increased data available.
Example A time study analyst wants to estimate the time
required to perform a certain job. A preliminary study yielded a
mean of 6.4 mins. & S of 2.1 mins. The desired confidence is
95%. How many observations will be needed (including those
already taken) if the desired maximum error in (a) ±10 % of the
sample mean? (b) one half minute?


7-60 Design of Work Systems
Work Measurement
(a) s = 2.1 Mins. Z= 1.96; (from table) = 6.4 Mins.
a = 10%
n = = 41.36 = rounded to 42

(b) e= 0.5; n= 67.77 = rounded to 68

s can be found either of the two formulas

x a
7-61 Design of Work Systems
Work Measurement
- Development of a time standard involved computation of three
- The observed time (OT) is simply the average of the observed
OT = Σ x
/ n
- Normal time (NT)
- & the standard time (ST)
- Normal time is the observed time adjusted for worker performance.
- NT = OT x PR (performance rating = adjustment factor is used
that either the worker is trying to slow the pace or because of the
worker nature abilities differ from the normal
- NT = Σ (x
. PR
); if PR is 0.9 indicates a pace that is 90% of
normal while 1.05 indicates pace that is slightly faster than

7-62 Design of Work Systems
- Normal time is the length of time a worker should take to perform
a job if there are no delays or interruptions. It does not take into
account such factor, as personal delays (getting a drink of H
O or
going to the restroom) or unavoidable delays i.e machine
adjustment and repairs, talking to a supervisor, waiting for
materials or rest breaks.
- ST = NT x AF (allowance factor)
- Allowance factor can be computed is one of two ways, depending
on how allowances are specified.
1. If allowances are based on JOB TIME, AF must be computed
using the formula:
= 1 +A Allowance % based on job time.

7-63 Design of Work Systems
2. If allowance are based on a % of the time worked (i.e the
workday); the formula is:
= 1/(1-A) (Allowance % based on workday)
Some typical allowance % ages (A) are listed in Table: 8.3
Example :- Compute the allowance factor for these two
(a)- The allowance is 20 % of Job time;
(b)- The allowance is 20 % of Work time;
Solution (a) AF = 1+A = 1.20 or 120%
(b) AF = 1/1-A = 1/1.0.2 = 1.25 or 125%

7-64 Design of Work Systems
Example: A time study of an assembly operation yielded the
observed times shown below, for which the analyst gave a
performance rating of 1.10. Using an allowance of 15% of job
time, determine the appropriate standard time for this

1 4.2
2 4.15
3 4.08
4 4.12
5 4.15
6 4.18
7 4.14
8 4.14
9 4.19
∑ 37.35
7-65 Design of Work Systems
Table 8.3 Typical allowance percentages for working conditions
7-66 Design of Work Systems

Limitation of time study

- Due to subjective nature of “Performance Rating”
created innumerable conflict between labor and
management in some companies is a continual sore spot.
- Only those jobs that can be observed can be studied.
This eliminates most manageable and creative jobs that
involve mental as well as physical aspects.
- It also rules out its use for irregular operations and
infrequently occurring jobs
- Finally, it disrupts the normal work routine, and workers
resent it in many cases.

7-67 Design of Work Systems
Standard Elemental Times
- Standard Elemental Times are derived from a firms
own historical time study data.
- Over the years a time study department can
accumulate a file of elemental times that are common
to may jobs.
- After the certain point, many such times can be
taken from the file instead of having to go through a
complete time study to get them, although others
may required actual timing.

7-68 Design of Work Systems
Standard Elemental Times
Procedure for using standard elemental times consists
of the following steps:
- Analyze the job to identify the standard elements
- Check the file to see which elements have historical times
and record them use time study to obtain others, if necessary
- Modify the file times if necessary and factor in allowances to
obtain the standard time.
- In some cases the file times may not pertain exactly to a
specific task.
- Interpolate between values on file to obtain the desired time
estimate e.g: move the tool 3 cm and 9 cm while the task in
question involves a move of 6 cm.
7-69 Design of Work Systems
Standard Elemental Times
Main Disadvantage: The times may not exist for
enough standard elements to make it worthwhile and
the file times may be biased or inaccurate.
1) Potential advantage is savings in cost and effort
created by not having to conduct a complete time
study for each job
2) Less disruption of work, again the analyst does not
have to time the worker.
3) Performance rating do not have to be done, they are
generally arranged in the file times.

7-70 Design of Work Systems
Standard Elemental Times
Main Disadvantage: The times may not exist for
enough standard elements to make it worthwhile
and the file times may be biased or inaccurate.
1) Potential advantage is savings in cost and effort
created by not having to conduct a complete
time study for each job
2) Less disruption of work, again the analyst does
not have to time the worker.
3) Performance rating do not have to be done,
they are generally arranged in the file times.

7-71 Design of Work Systems
Predetermined time standards
The following methods avoid some of these problems.
Predetermined time standards Involve the use of published
data on standard elemental times.
- A commonly used system in MTM (method time
measurement) was developed in 1940s by the Methods
Engineering Council.
- MTM tables are based on extensive research on basic
elemental motions and times.
- In order to use this approach, the analyst is required to divide
the job into its basic elements (reach, move, turn, disengage),
measure the distances involved (if applicable), rate the
difficulty of the element, and then refer to the appropriate table
of data to obtain the time for that element.

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Time measurement units (TMUs)
The standard time for the job is obtained by adding
the times for all of the basic elements.
-Times of the basic elements are measured in time
measurement units (TMUs) and 1 TMU = 0.0006
-One minute of work may involve 100 or more basic
elements, and a typical job may involve several
hundreds or more these basic elements.
-Requires considerable amount of skill on the part of the
-A few MTM tables are presented in table (8.5) to give
the idea of the kind of information they provide.

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Predetermined time standards
Advantages of predetermined time standards:-
- Based on large numbers of workers under controlled
- Analyst is not required to rate performance in
conditions developing the standard
- There is no disruption of the operation
- Standard can be established even before a job is done
This approach provides much better accuracy than

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A portion of the MTM tables
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Work sampling
- Work sampling (introduced by L.H.C.Tippet in 1934 in the textile
industry), is a technique for estimating the proportion of time that a
worker or machine spends on various activities. It is widely now
used to study work activities. Unlike time study work sampling
does not require timing an activity
- In fact, it does not even involve continuous observations of the
- Instead, an observer is required to make brief observation of a
worker or machine at random intervals over a period of time and
simply note the nature of the activity.
e.g; a machine may be “Busy” or “Idle” a secretary may be
typing, filling, talking on the phone, and so on; and a
carpenter may be carrying supplies, taking measurements,
cutting wood, and so on.

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Work sampling
-The resulting data are “COUNTS” of the number of times each
category of activity or non-activity was observed.
-Although work sampling is occasionally used to set time standards,
Ratio-delay studies, which concern the % age of a worker’s time that
involves unavoidable delays or the proportion of time a machine is
-In a Ratio-Delay study, a hospital administrator, e.g; might want to
estimate the %age of time that a certain piece of X-Ray equipment is
not in use.
-Analysis of non-repetitive jobs.
-In a non-repetitive job such as secretarial work, maintenance and
others, it can be important to establish the % age of time an employee
spends doing various tasks.

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Non-repetitive jobs
- Non-repetitive jobs typically involve a broader range
of skills them repetitive jobs, and workers in these jobs are
often paid on the basis of the highest skill involved.
- Work sampling verify those %age that secretary is typing,
taking shorthand, or filing or receiving phone calls.
- Work sampling estimate include some degree of error;
therefore, sampling should be done at different times of the
day and different days of a week.
- Hence it is important to treat work sampling estimates as
“Approximations” of actual proportion of time devoted to
any given activity.

7-78 Design of Work Systems
Work sampling
-The goal of work sampling is to obtain an estimate that provides a
specified confidence of not differing from the true value by more
than a specified error.
-e.g; a hospital administration might request an estimate of x-ray idle
time that will provide a 95% confidence of being within 4% of the
actual %age.
-Hence, work sampling is designed to produce a value, ∆P which
estimates the true proportion, ∆P within some allowable error, e; ∆P
± e.
-The variability associated with sample estimates of ∆P tends to be
approximately normal for large sample sizes. Fig (8.8) A confidence
interval for the estimate of the true proportion is based on a normal
-The amount of maximum probable error is a function of both the
sample size and the desired level of confidence.

7-79 Design of Work Systems
Work sampling
- For large samples the maximum error, e, can be
computed using the formula:

Z = No of standard time deviations needed to
achieve desired confidence (mostly given by the
management) also the amount of allowable error.
∆P = sample proportion
n = sample size
- Analyst is required to determine “n” that will be
sufficient to determine those results.

ΔP) ΔP(1
Z e
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1) Observations are spread out over a period of time, making
results less susceptible to short-term fluctuations.
2) There is little or no disruption of work.
3) Workers are less resentful.
4) Studies are less costly and less time consuming and the
skill requirements of the analyst are much less.
5) The study can be interrupted without affecting the results.
6) Many different studies can be conducted simultaneously.
7) No timing device is required.
8) Lends itself to non-repetitive tasks.
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Work sampling
- Disadvantages:
- There is much less detail on the elements of a job.
- Workers may alter their work patterns when they spot the
observer, thereby invalidating the results.
- In many cases there is no record of the method used by the
- Observation may fail to adhere to a random schedule of
- It is not well-suited for short, repetitive tasks;
- Much time may be required to move from one workplace to
another and back to satisfy the randomness requirements.
- Overall work sampling is less formal, less detail approach to
determine job times and that work sampling is best suited to
non-repetitive jobs.
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- Organizations use two basic systems for compensating
1. Time based systems/hourly and measured day work
system; Compensates the worker for the time the employee
has worked during a pay period.
- Salaried workers also represent a form of time based
- Time based systems are more widely used than incentive
systems; particularly for office, administrative and
managerial employees, but also for blue-collar workers.
2. Output based systems/Incentive according to the amount
of output they produce during a pay period, thereby tying
pay directly to performance.
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Reasons for using time based compensation
• Computation of wages is straight forward and
managers can readily estimate labor costs for a given
manpower level.
- Employee also often prefer because the pay is steady
and they know how much they will receive for each
pay period.
- In addition, the employees may resent the pressures
associated with an output based system.
- Jobs that require creative or mental work cannot be
easily measured on an output basis.

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- Some jobs may include irregular activities or have so
many different forms of output that measuring output
and determining pay is fairly complex.
- Also in the case of assembly lines, the use of
individual incentives would disrupt the even flow of
work. (However, group incentives are sometimes
used successfully in such cases).
- Finally Quality considerations may be more
important than Quantity e.g. in health care, greater
emphasis is generally placed on the quality of
patient’s care than on the number of patients
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-Some workers increase their output.
-Certain (fixed) costs do not vary with increase in output, so
the overall cost per unit decreases if output increases.
-Compensation is a significant issue related to the design of
work system.
-If the wages are too low, organizations may find it difficult to
attract and hold competent workers and managers.
-Conversely, if wages are too high, the increased costs may
result in lower profits or force the organization’s to increase its
prices, which might adversely affect demand for the
organization’s products or services.
One negative side of incentive system involve a
considerable amount of paperwork, computation of wages is
more difficult than under time based systems.
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In order to obtain the maximum benefit from an
incentive plan, the plan should be:
- Accurate;
- Easy to apply;
- Consistent;
- Easy to understand;
There have different scheme which are
being followed and there explained next:
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Form of Incentive Plan
Individual Incentive Plan:
- Under this plan, a worker’s pay is direct linear function of his or her
- In the past, piecework plans were fairly popular.
- Now minimum wage legislation makes them somewhat impractical.
- This protects workers from pay loss due to delays, breakdowns, and
similar problems.
- In most cases, incentives are paid for output above standard, and the
pay is referred to as a “Bonus”.
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Group Incentive Plans:
- Which stress on sharing of productivity gains with employees;
- The following four plans reflect the main features of most of the plans
currently in operation.
1. Scanlon Plan:
- The late Joseph Scanlon developed this plan during 1930s in
cooperation with the management of a machine tool company that
was on the brink of bankruptcy.
- The main feature of the plan is to encourage reductions in labor
costs, by allowing workers to share in any reductions achieved.
- The plan involves formation of worker committees to actively seek
out areas for improvement.
2. Kaiser Plan:
- In 1960s Like Scanlon Plan, it involves the use of committees to
suggest ways of reducing costs, with savings shared by employees.
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3. Lincoln Plan:
- The Lincoln Electric Company in Cleveland, Ohio,
developed this plan over a period of 20 years (1914-1934).
It involves:
- Profit sharing;
- Participative management;
- Job enlargement
4. Kodak Plan:
- The plan uses a combination of premium wage levels and
an annual bonus related to company profits instead of more
traditional incentives.
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Knowledge-Based Pay Systems:
It is a portion of a worker’s pay that is based on the knowledge and
skill that the worker possesses.
Knowledge based pay has three dimensions:
- Horizontal Skills: reflect the variety of tasks the worker is capable of
- Vertical Skills: reflect the variety of tasks the worker is capable of
- Depth Skills: reflect quality and productivity results.
Management Compensation:
Many organizations that:
Traditionally rewarded managers and senior executives on the basis of
OUTPUT, but now this approach is being replaced. Now they are
being rewarded on the basis of:
- Customer Service;
- Quality
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- Their pay is now a days is tied up with the
company’s success; compared previously,
workers' were being laid off whereas managers
pay use to rise and company was losing large
amounts of money!