Discuss the concept and objectives of Work Measurement.

Nowhere is the application of work measurement likely to generate more productivity improvement and cost reduction than in maintenance. Maintenance represents the largest single variable operating cost in most enterprises when you include physical plant value, maintenance, labor, materials and overhead. And yet, maintenance does not receive a proportionate amount of higher management attention. High productivity maintenance contributes to better customer service, higher quality, on-time delivery and ultimately satisfied customers.

Application of time and motion study and activity sampling techniques to determine the time for a qualified worker to complete a specific job at a defined level of performance. Work measurement is used in budgeting, manpower planning, scheduling, standard costing, and in designing worker incentive schemes.

Determination of the length of time it should take to complete a job. Job times are vital inputs for manpower planning, estimating labor costs, scheduling, budgeting, and designing incentive systems. In addition, from the workers standpoint, time standards provide an indication of expected output. Time standards used under Standard Cost Systems reflect the amount of time it should take an average worker to do a job under typical operating conditions. The standards include expected activity time plus allowances for probable delays.

The most commonly used methods of work measurement are:

  • Stopwatch time study.
  • Historical times.
  • Predetermined data.
  • Work sampling.

Work Measurement is a term which covers several different ways of finding out how long a job or part of a job should take to complete. It can be defined as the systematic determination, through the use of various techniques, of the amount of effective physical and mental work in terms of Work units in a specified task. The work units usually are given in standard minutes or standard hours.

Why should we need to know how long a job should take? The answer to this question lies in the importance of time in our everyday life. We need to know how long it should take to walk to the train station in the morning, one needs to schedule the day’s work and even when to take out the dinner from the oven.

In the business world these standard times are needed for:

  • Planning the work of a workforce.
  • Manning jobs, to decide how many workers it would need to complete certain jobs.
  • Scheduling the tasks allocated to people.
  • Costing the work for estimating contract prices and costing the labor content in general.
  • Calculating the efficiency or productivity of workers – and from this providing fair returns on possible incentive bonus payment schemes.

On what are these standard times set? They are set, not on how long a certain individual would take to complete a task but on how long a trained, experienced worker would take to do the task at a defined level of pace or performance. Who sets these standard times? Specially trained and qualified observers set these times, using the most appropriate methods or techniques for the purpose i.e. horses for courses.

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