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4. Time Study. The major objective of this chapter is to learn how to calculate a time standard based on stopwatch time study procedures. Time Study. A process for measuring the required time for performing a given task, by a given method, by a trained worker, working in a normal pace.

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4 time study l.jpg

4. Time Study

The major objective of this chapter is to learn how to calculate a time standard based on stopwatch time study procedures.

Time study l.jpg

Time Study

  • A process for measuring the required time for performing a given task, by a given method, by a trained worker, working in a normal pace.

  • Why needed?

    • For methods improvement

    • For determining time standards

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Needs for Time Standard

  • Developing schedules

  • Determining wage payment plans

  • Estimating production costs

  • Providing a base for estimating productivity goals

  • Appraising employee performance

  • Evaluating alternative process, equipment

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Methods for Creating Time Standards

  • Direct time study

    • Cyclic work

    • Non cyclic work

  • Work sampling

  • Synthetic data

    • Predetermined times

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Direct Time Study - Tools

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Direct Time Study

  • Methods improvement

  • Selection of the examined workers

  • Explanation (union, managers, workers)

  • Collecting and recording information

  • Task division into elements

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  • Who to choose?

    • Select an Average Worker (What is average?)

    • Experienced operator

    • Normal pace

      • Consistency (well defined, understood by all)

      • No undue strain for entire day (speed/effort)

      • Pace that should be performed, not average of current rate

    • Rating accuracy

    • Worker acceptance

  • Can you suggest a better method?

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Preparation for Timing

  • Identify the TASK/ CYCLE to be studied before time study

  • Analyze the Complete Task

    • Method

    • Layout of workplace

    • Equipment used

    • Environmental conditions

    • Machine speeds and feeds

    • Inspection equipment

  • Communications with foreman, workers

    • Documents for process, task instructions

    • Establish relationship

  • Elemental analysis

    • Break task into elements

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Fundamental definitions

  • What is an ELEMENT?

    • Element is a component of job or task that are logical divisions with easily identifiable starting and end points, and are repeated on a regular basis

  • What is a CYCLE?

    • Cycle is the completion of the activities (elements) required to perform the job under study.

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Element Analysis

  • Every element must have an easily identifiable starting and ending point (breakpoints)

  • No discontinuities between elements

  • Elements times: 0.04min (short), 0.25min (reasonable)

  • Relative frequency must be included

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Timing Methods

  • Continuous

    • Advantage: Clock never stops, no time omitted

    • Disadvantage: observer does not know at the job how individual elements vary

  • Snapback

    • Advantage: Observer can note individual variability within an element and eliminate substraction

    • Disadvantages: difficult to coordinate eye, watch and task! Especially when operations are short

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Determining Number of Cycles

Time measurement

  • Measuring time of each element

  • The number of observation of each element depends on the significance level and required level of accuracy

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Recommended number of cycles/observations

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Maytag Company Approach

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Rules for Performing Time Study

  • Don’t comment to the worker during the task

  • Stand (don’t sit) beside the worker

  • Write every event (even though it may seems not important)

  • Have a good position to observe

  • Stop the study if the worker seems to be under pressure and it affects his/her work

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Time Study On Cyclic Work

  • Rating evaluation may be written once in a couple of cycles

  • Elements times: 0.04min (short), 0.25min (reasonable)

  • Denoting non-cyclic elements

  • The breakpoint between elements should be clear (touch, push, etc.).

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Types of Elements

  • Manual/machine (determines the task duration)

  • Cyclic/non cyclic

  • Fixed time/ variable time (i.e. loading time as a function of weight)

  • Avoidable/unavoidable unproductive elements (sometimes hard to identify)

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Time Study on Non Cyclic Work

  • Use continuous timing

  • Divide the task into relatively large elements

  • Write the evaluated performance rate at the end of each element

  • Multiply the observed time with the rate and summarize the data

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Do we expect the average worker to work in normal rating ?

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Rating Evaluation Methods

  • Subjective judgment

  • Practice by watching movies

  • For a study with long elements, rate each separately

  • Methods:

    • Speed rating

    • Westinghouse

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Performance Rating Table (Westinghouse)

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Criteria for Successful Speed Rating Evaluation

  • Experience in the class of work performed

  • Selection of an operator who gives performances between 85 and 115

  • Use of the average value of three or more independent studies

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Elements of Allowances

Personal Need

Basic Fatigue

Variable Fatigue

Unavoidable Delays

Avoidable Delays

Extra Allowances

Constant Allowances

Special Allowances

Total Allowances Allowances


Normal Time


Standard Time

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Standard Data Systems

Elemental times, based on previous time studies, which have been proven to be accurate and reliable.

Tabulated element standards that allow the measurement of a specific job without the use of timing devices.

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Construction Cost Estimating

Given we have the plans for a new building, how much labor is needed and what will it be used for?

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Punch Press Standard Data(40” strip)

Given we have a new part to run through the punch press, what will be the standard time for the part?

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Advantages Over Direct Time Study

  • More consistent standards results

  • Duplicate time studies on similar operations are eliminated

  • Standards are established more rapidly

  • Less experienced analysts can calculate standards (use the formula not develop it)

  • Accurate labor costs and production times can be estimated before production begins

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To Illustrate the development of standard data…

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Possible Drivers

ModelNT 3/4/5D1D2



22010.62 2.50 1.50

31011.06 3.00 7.25



32911.35 3.00 8.00

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Is there a relationship between D1 and the combined time for elements 30, 40, and 50?

n X1 X2 X1^2 X2^2 X1*X2

115.7218.00 247.1184324.00 282.96

216.8823.50 284.9344552.25 396.68

310.62 2.50 112.7844 6.25 26.55

411.06 3.00 122.3236 9.00 33.18

518.4725.00 341.1409625.00 461.75

612.3412.00 152.2756144.00 148.08

711.35 3.00 128.8225 9.00 34.05

Sums96.4487.00 1389.3998 1669.50 1383.25

r = 0.977

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Linear Regression

Y = b0 + b1X

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Standard Times for Machining Operations

  • How long will it take to drill a 1-inch hole through two inches of malleable cast iron?

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