Working in manufacturing means ensuring everything gets done as quickly and efficiently as possible. But is there a method for measuring something like that? Can you determine the best way to do something, and if so, how? As it turns out, there are ways to assess production methods and determine which is the best. One of the most effective ways to determine the fastest and most efficient production method is by performing manufacturing time studies. This article will guide manufacturing time studies—including what they are and how to perform them—so you can incorporate this strategy into your own manufacturing and production line.
What is a Manufacturing Time Study?
A manufacturing time study is a structured process of observing and recording the time it takes to complete a task. A time study aims to find ways to improve efficiency and eliminate waste in the manufacturing process.
Time studies observe and measure human work using a timing device to determine the time required for completing the work by a qualified worker. The time study also considers the time required for any equipment or tools used in the task.
Time studies are appropriate for studies involving sequences of repetitive, identical tasks that recur in a cycle. For example, this approach is useful for measuring how much time employees spend on each part of a process divided into multiple discrete tasks.
A Brief History of Time Studies
The time study was first developed in the late 19th century to improve factory efficiency. The time study was created by Frederick Winslow Taylor, the father of scientific management.
In his time studies, Taylor observed workers and timed them with a stopwatch to determine the time it took to complete a task. He then used this data to develop new, more efficient methods for performing the tasks.
Taylor’s theory was that if workers were able to complete tasks more quickly, factories would be able to produce more goods in a shorter amount of time. This would ultimately lead to higher profits for the company.
What Can Time Studies Be Used for?
The engineers at the Industrial Time Studies Institute came up with five main objectives for time studies:
- The improvement of procedures and processes.
- The establishment of time standards to improve the plan, service, or office area layout
- The development of work methods to boost the economy in human effort while reducing fatigue.
- Determining the time necessary to train a new employee to improve the use of materials and machinery.
- Setting time budgets to develop a better and more efficient working environment.
When done correctly, manufacturing time studies provide a normalized, granular view of an effective multi-step process. These steps can then promote efficiency, improve factory and process design, and improve the overall worker’s output and experience. With that said, some common uses for time studies are :
- Setting and standardizing step times in a process
- Eliminating waste and non-value added time from a process
- Documenting the time associated with a task for cost analysis or budgeting purposes
- Analyzing and improving the ergonomics of a task
- Establishing Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for a particular process.
- Locating and eliminating potential inefficiencies in processes.
- Identifying skill gaps and creating targeted training programs.
- Collecting data to help foresee annual output and revenue.
Structuring a Time Study
Manufacturing time studies can be broken down into three core phases: analysis, measurement, and synthesis.
Decide what you would like to measure and identify a tangible goal for the study:
- Speed up process times
- Determine steps that might require targeted training
- Set standard times
When you know which process you’re interested in, break it down into its small, more manageable parts. Each task should be well-defined with an established starting point and end point. You should also ask relevant questions to further reinforce your time study.
- What’s the estimated time workers spend on each constituent task?
- Can this task be completed faster?
- Are there any unnecessary steps in this task?
- Is there a better and more efficient way to complete tasks?
- Are there any potential bottlenecks in this task?
Using a stopwatch, or any other time device, measure the time it takes for workers to complete each task. If you’re measuring a process of multiple workers, be sure to time each worker individually. Consider the allowances that might impede a worker’s ability to accomplish a task.
Using a spreadsheet or template, input your collected data and analyze it. This will help you identify which tasks are time-consuming, which might need improvement, and what the standard time for a task should be. These will change based on the designs and goals of your time study.
Tips To Get the Most from Your Time Study
Now that you understand the basics of time studies, here are some tips to get the most from your time study:
- Plan and design your Time Study before you begin. This will ensure that you collect the data you need and that your time study is structured correctly.
- Use the largest sample size possible. The more data you have, the more accurate your time study will be.
- Use a variety of time devices to measure time. This will help you cross-check your data and ensure accuracy.
- Take worker skills into account. Some workers might be faster than others, which should reflect your time study.
- Document all data, including time, date, worker, and task. This will help you track trends and identify areas for improvement.
- Beware of the Hawthorne effect. Workers change their behavior because they know they’re being observed. To avoid this, be sure to time workers, unaware they’re being timed.
Create Workflows for Manufacturing Time Studies Using DATAMYTE
If you want to implement time studies in your workplace, creating a workflow is important to ensure that time studies are conducted properly. To do this, you can use DATAMYTE’s Digital Clipboard software. With the DataMyte Digital Clipboard, you have a software solution that can help you create workflows, checklists, and other useful tools for time studies.
DATAMYTE’s Digital Clipboard software is a versatile tool that can be used for time studies and other data collection purposes. With the DataMyte Digital Clipboard, you can create workflows to ensure that time studies are conducted properly, and that data is collected accurately.
With our easy-to-use drag-and-drop interface, creating workflows for time studies is simple and easy. And, with our built-in checklists, you can ensure that all-time study data is collected accurately.
Contact us today to learn more about how you can use DATAMYTE to improve your time studies. We’ll be happy to answer any questions about our software and how it can help you improve your time studies.
Manufacturing time studies are a valuable tool that can help you improve your manufacturing process. Following the tips in this guide ensures that time studies are conducted properly, and that accurate data is collected. And With DATAMYTE’s Digital Clipboard software, you have a versatile tool that can help you improve your time studies. Book a demo with us now to learn more about how our software can help you improve your time studies.