Read this essay to learn about:- 1. Meaning of Method Study 2. Causes of Method Improvement 3. Indicators 4. Techniques.
Essay # 1. Meaning of Method Study:
Method study is examination of work performance and its subsequent rearrangement to produce the same result with less effort. The work performance of an organization depends on a number of interrelated operations and activities.
Any combination of these operations/activities to achieve the desired goal is called Method. The function of the method analyst is to study the way in which something is being done with a view to develop a procedure which when adopted would increase the level of performance.
If best method of performing the operations/activities is to be employed, the nature of the methods and the weakness there in should be thoroughly studied. This can help in determining the improvements possible in operating methods.
Essay # 2. Causes of Method Improvement:
Operation and route sheets of a production process contain instructions that how a particular component/item can be produced. This usually contains the details about the time required to perform respective operations.
A design engineer will try to develop a design, which minimizes production costs without affecting the consumer’s acceptability and the nature of the product. But he is not responsible for actual implementation of the method designed by him. Similarly a process engineer will try to select product methods having most economical sequence of operations, using most efficient equipment with minimum processing time.
But again there are many factors that influence the effectiveness of work methods where the process engineer does not concern himself. These factors or activities will be directly affected by the action of design and process engineers viz., activities of purchase and dispatching section, machine repair crew, inspection department etc. Due to all these reasons, the firm should have methods analysis activity to evolve most appropriate strategy.
Also due to continuous development in technology the best available method at one point of time may not remain best at some later period. Thus there is a need of a regular method study analysis to keep the system up to date.
The average firm will find that due to technological advancements the existing methods can be improved or due to failure to select efficient production methods in the beginning one may realize the necessity of improvements from experience.
Entire method analysis activity is based on an approach, which requires the analyst to have some natural ability, knowledge of alternative work methods and good judgment. There are no definite steps to yield the best possible method.
Essay # 3. Indicators of Method Study:
Some common indicators, which show that there is a necessity of method study investigation in a production process, are:
(i) Bottlenecks in the system resulting in long delivery time or unbalanced workflow.
(ii) Idle plant labor shows under-utilization of resources.
(iii) Poor moral of workers may affect the quality of the product. Due to this there may be high absenteeism.
(iv) Inconsistent earnings also advocate for the review of production method.
Essay # 4. Techniques of Methods Study:
Method study is simply a technique requiring more of a common sense than any other technical supremacy in its application.
The procedure of method study can be broadly divided in following steps:
(i) Selection of Job to be Studied:
This is one of the important tasks to select appropriate job for method analysis and mainly it is a managerial responsibility.
Method study and its implementation will cost money. Thus the job should be selected only when there are some valid reasons for method study. Maximum cost benefit is the normal objective.
(ii) Collection, Recording, and Presentation of Necessary Information:
Information is collected from the place where the job under study is being executed by direct visual observation.
This can be done by:
(a) Recording the movement of equipment or material.
(b) Recording the clerical procedure involved in the job.
(c) Recording the work done by an operator with on board basis.
(d) Recording the movement of operators with respect to machines and other operations.
(e) Recording information from micro motion study.
(f) Recording the path of movement to improve work place layout.
(g) Recording material wastage.
There are many recording techniques for different type of jobs and situations. The recording can be done on some specified forms of charts. Presentation of the recorded information into a form convenient for further analysis;
The observation recorded in the shape of words and figures cannot be used for proper understanding and analysis of the phenomenon explained by them. Different types of charts and graphs can portray these. The chart can be a Process chart, Time scaled charts, Movement charts etc.
(iii) Analysis of the existing method:
The information from graphs obtained in Step (ii) can now be thoroughly studied and analysed to locate the stages of production process where improvement in the method is possible. The success in development of new methods requires two main qualities in the analyst (i) an open mind and (ii) a systematic approach.
The information provided by charts and graphs is critically examined and screened by asking some searching questions. In practice, delays and transportation stages should be attacked first.
Asking five set of question can test these:
1. What is to be done
2. Why it is to be done
3. What else could be done
4. What should be done
1. Where to be done
2. Where else could be done
3. Where should it be done
1. When it is to be done
2. Why it is to be done at that time
3. When else it could be done
4. When should it be done
1. Who done it
2. Who else could do it
3. Who should do it
1. How it is done
2. Why it is done that way
3. How else it can be done
4. How it should be done
These questions can help in the development, of new method by getting the answers for:
(i) What should be done,
(ii) Where should be done,
(iii) When should be done,
(iv) Who should do it
(v) How should it be done.
The following improvement can be suggested by these questions:
(a) Improvement in material flow: by better layout, material handling, and storage methods.
(b) Improvement in operating conditions: Elimination of delays, limitation in movement of operators etc.
(c) Improving in manufacturing methods.
(d) Improvement to clerical routine.
(e) Reduction in material waste.
The first part of analysis is confined to those activities in which something actually is happening to the material or the product i.e. it is moving into some constructive work. These activities can be further divided into make ready, do and put away activities. The make ready activities are required to prepare the material or work piece and set in a position ready to be worked upon.
The do activities occur whenever the material or product is changed in shape, condition to composition ‘and the put away activities occur when the material or product is moved away from the machine or work place.
The value is added to the end then carried towards completion of final product through the process of do activities only. Hence there should be a high proportion of do activities and low proportion of other activities in a method.
A well-conducted examination will determine the purpose, place and sequence of activities, the person performing these activities and the resources by which it can be performed in order to select the best out of all possible alternatives.
Develop a New Method:
The device specially designed for improving work method is known as the process improvement formula.
The four steps in the procedure are:
(iii) Sequence and
(iv) Simplify, each separate activity in the job.
Complete elimination of unnecessary activities is clearly the most important step in developing an improved method.
If further elimination is not possible then possibility of combining the activity with some activity of the process should be explored. In many cases set of two or more activities may be usefully combined e.g. drilling and facing holes can be combined together.
Next strategy in development stage is to identify scope of changes in the sequence of activities. Last and the most expensive step in the process of method development is simplification of the activity to permit the worker to complete the job more quickly and easily by reducing the number of operations, reducing or eliminating delays and storage or minimization of transportation.
Finally having determined the work method to be adopted, certain amount of experimental work will be necessary in order to locate/eliminate snags or teething problem.
The new method should possess following aspects:
(a) Use of Worker’s Body:
Both hand are occupied, complete habitual and natural movement is possible. Hand, arm and body movements should be confined to the lowest classification with which it is possible to perform the work satisfactorily.
(ii) Finger and wrists
(iii) Fingers, wrists and forearm
(iv) Finger, wrists forearm and upper arm.
(b) Arrangement of Work Place:
This is characterized by:
(i) Provision of fixed position near the work place for tools, equipment and material.
(ii) Illumination facilities.
(iii) Height or vertical space available.
(iv) Seating at good and comfortable position.
(v) Clean and adequate ventilation and heating arrangements.
(vi) Minimization of vibrations and noise.
(c) Design of Tools and Equipment:
(i) Clamp, jigs, fixtures etc. should be used to hold work.
(ii) Two or more tools should be combined
(iii) Tools and equipment should be prepositioned.
(iv) Load should be evenly distributed.
Accept of the new method will mainly depend upon the cost benefit, trade unions approach, work level, work hours, security requirements etc.
The installation of the new method should then be entrusted to some responsible person. Tact and restraints are essential at this stage. The method implemented can be further improved by continuous observations and discussions.
A programme of installation of the method should be used showing the main steps. Those responsible for carry them out should be listed and timetable and dates should be specified. Sometimes extension of the job training may be necessary.
Any time desired is ultimately to be performed by the employee’s in an environment created by the management. So employee and management should be subjected to intensive analysis so that the proposed method is operated in the best possible manner. The success of method study is based on the assumption that the output of men can be achieved.