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How often have you heard or said something like "We are running behind again!" or "We are not meeting our output Targets", "The System says it should only take", "We have timed it and know how long it takes!". I've heard them quite a few times over the years and after a few questions and a little digging I come to largely the same conclusion each time, you're doing it wrong.
Many people mistakenly believe that by whipping out a stopwatch (or the timer on their mobile phone) and timing a couple of cycles of an operation they get the duration it should take and that's what goes into "the system" as a target, but, I'm sorry to say it won't, not remotely.One of my jobs as part of my university course (I studded Manufacturing & Industrial Engineering) was at a vehicle manufacturer as an Industrial engineer working in the Time Study department – yes they had a department back then.
While explaining how to do a full blown Time Study here would be too much I thought that a few hints to help improve your method when you are capturing your times and setting your targets may be helpful so here goes:
I am also prone to take my study and go back to review again, this time without telling the operator and ensuring that they are unaware they are being studies. The aim of this is to just reverify my findings and confirm that the rate of work doesn't vary between being observed & not being observed. At the end of the exercise, I always go and talk to the person and let them know what I have seen.
Out of this exercise, you will get not only really accurate timings but an understanding of the steps in the process, this helps in training others as well and you get to identify waste elements that you can take into a Lean 5s, waste reduction Kaizen or 6 sigma events to further improve the process. Put the initial timings into the system and as you improve the process update the system. When you believe you have hit the limit you will be able to accurately measure your improvement as well because you have the base data.
Getting things set up well for your time study is important, to help you on your way feel free to download our Free Basic Time Study Sheet Template which will get you off to a good start, you are free to modify it as you feel you need to.
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