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Time and Motion Study

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  • December 19, 2012
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PERFORMING A MOTION STUDY
AND
PERFORMING A TIME STUDY

A time and motion study (or time-motion study) is a business efficiency technique combining the Time Study work of Frederick Winslow Taylor with the Motion Study work of Frank and Lillian Gilbreth (not to be confused with their son, best known through the biographical 1950 film and book Cheaper by the Dozen). It is a major part of scientific management (Taylorism). After its first introduction, time study developed in the direction of establishing standard times, while motion study evolved into a technique for improving work methods. The two techniques became integrated and refined into a widely accepted method applicable to the improvement and upgrading of work systems. This integrated approach to work system improvement is known as methods engineering and it is applied today to industrial as well as service organizations, including banks, schools and hospitals. Time and motion study have to be used together in order to achieve rational and reasonable results. It is particularly important that effort be applied in motion study to ensure equitable results when time study is used. In fact, much of the difficulty with time study is a result of applying it without a thorough study of the motion pattern of the job. Motion study can be considered the foundation for time study. The time study measures the time required to perform a given task in accordance with a specified method and is valid only so long as the method is continued. Once a new work method is developed, the time study must be changed to agree with the new method.

HISTORY
Scientific Management
Time & Motion studies have their roots in the work of Frederick Winslow Taylor who in 1911 published his famous article The Principles of Scientific Management. Essentially this involved getting the best person for each job and training them to do it the best way possible. Although Taylor believed in cooperation between management and workers,...