time and motion study

  

Definition

Method for establishing employee productivity standards in which (1) a complex task is broken into small, simple steps, (2) the sequence of movements taken by the employee in performing those steps is carefully observed to detect and eliminate redundant or wasteful motion, and (3) precise time taken for each correct movement is measured. From these measurements production and delivery times and prices can be computed and incentive schemes can be devised. Generally appropriate only for repetitive tasks, time and motion studies were pioneered by the US industrial engineer Frederick Winslow Taylor (1856-1915) and developed by the husband and wife team of Frank Gilbreth (1868-1924) and Dr. Lillian Gilbreth (1878-1972). See also Taylorism.

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