Production and Operations Management Report Chapter 7 2012 2013
Design of Work Systems
Reported by: Sherinne Christie Ann Z. Albao, 12/10/12
MBM Class, Production and Operations Management, Monday,
DESIGN ON WORK SYSTEMS
• Work design involves job design, work measurement and the
establishment of time standard and worker compensation.
• The importance of work systems is underscored by the
organization’s dependence on human efforts to accomplish
• Work design is one of the oldest fields in operation
• It is now an important key to productivity and continuous
• It is important for management to make design of work
system a key element of its operations strategy. In spite of the
major advances in computers and manufacturing technology,
people are still the heart of the business. They can make or
break it regardless how advance the technology used.
Technology may be important but it is not enough.
• The topics that will be discussed lack the glamour of high
technology. They are the back-to-basics fundamentals of work
• Workers are a valuable source of insight and creativity since
they are the ones working and closest to the problems that
• Companies today are focusing some of their attention on
improving the quality of work life and instilling pride and
respect among workers.
• Many organizations are reaping surprising gains through
worker empowerment – giving workers more say on their
• People work for many reasons. Aside from economic
necessities, work is also a reason of giving meaning and
purpose to their lives, personal growth and many more. These
reasons can play an important role in the lives of workers and
should be taken serious considerations in the design f work
• “The act of specifying the contents and methods of jobs”
• The goal is to create a work system that is productive and
efficient, taking into consideration the costs and benefits of
alternative for the organization and the workers.
• Job designers are concerned with who will do the job, how
the job will be done and where the job will be done.
Successful job design must be:
1. Carried out by experienced personnel who have the necessary training
2. Consistent with the goals of the organization.
3. In written form
4. Understood and agreed to by both management and employees.
• Employees are still the source of valuable ideas for job
• A written record of the job design can serve as a basis for
referral if question arise about it.
Job Design contains (2) basic schools of thought:
1. Efficiency Approach
2. Behavioral Approach
Reminded managers of the
complexity of human beings and
that the efficiency approach
doesn’t always work.
e.g. Frederick Taylor’s
• “Work that concentrates on some aspect of a product/service”
• It is the primary issue of disagreement between the efficiency
and behavioral approaches.
• Describes jobs that have a very narrow scope.
• The main rationale for this is the ability to concentrate one’s
effort and thereby become proficient in some aspect of a
• Sometimes the amount of knowledge or training required of a
specialist and the complexity of work suggest that individuals
who choose such work are very happy with their jobs.
• Simplifies training
• High productivity
• Less wage costs
• Less education & skill requirements
• Minimum responsibilities
• Less mental effort needed
• Difficult to motivate quality
• Worker dissatisfaction resulting in
absenteeism, high turnover, disruptive
tactics, poor attention to quality…
• Monotonous work
• Limited opportunities for
• Little control over work
• Little opportunities for self-fulfillment.
• Job Enlargement – giving a worker a larger portion of the total
task, by horizontal loading – the additional work is on the
same level of skill and responsibility as the original job.
(Increase variety of skills and provide recognizable
contribution to overall output.)
• Job Rotation – workers periodically exchange jobs – use to
avoid having one or monotonous jobs – allows workers to
broaden their experiences and fill in for others in the event of
sickness or absenteeism.
• Job Enrichment – Increase responsibility for planning and
coordination tasks by vertical loading – focuses on motivating
potential of worker satisfaction.
• A team is a small group of people with complementary skills,
who work together to achieve a common purpose for which
they hold themselves collectively accountable.
• Self-directed (self-managed teams) – empower to make
certain changes in their work processes. Designed to achieve
a higher level of teamwork and employee involvement.
• Workers will work harder to ensure that the desired result is achieved.
• Fewer managers needed.
• Higher quality, higher productivity and greater work satisfaction.
• No difficulty in applying team concepts.
• The beginning of a job design in an overall operation.
• It moves from general to specific details.
• A good source of productivity improvements.
• Changes in tools & equipments
• Changes in product design
• Changes in materials/procedures
• Gov’t/contractual agreements
• Other factors (accidents, quality problems)
1. Identify the operation to be studied and
2. If the job is already in process, discuss the
input with the operator & supervisor.
3. Study and document present method using
process charts. For new jobs, develop
4. Analyze the jobs
5. Propose new methods.
6. Install the new methods.
7. Follow up installation to assure that
improvements have been achieved.
OPERATION TO STUDY
1. Have high labor content
2. Done frequently
3. Unsafe, tiring, unpleasant and/or noisy
4. Designed as problems.
DOCUMENTING PRESENT METHOD
• Verbal Descriptions.
ANALYZING JOB & PROPOSED NEW
1. Flow Process Charts
2. Worker-Machine Charts
3. Gang Process Charts
Guidelines for selecting a
job to study.
Provides understanding of the job
and basis for comparison against
FLOW PROCESS CHART
Chart used to examine the overall
sequence of an operation by
focusing on movements of the
operator or flow of materials.
Describes the symbols used in
constructing a flow process
Illustration of a Flow Process
Checklist of questions they
ask to generate ideas for
1. Why is there a delay/storage at this point?
2. How can travel distances be shortened/avoided?
3. Can material handling be reduced?
4. Would rearrangement of the workplace result in
5. Can similar activities be grouped?
6. Would the use of additional/improved equipment
7. Does the worker have any ideas for improvement?
Chart used to determine portions of
a work cycle during which an
operator and equipment are
busy/idle. Helps determine how
many machines or equipment can
an operator manage.
• Motion Study – systematic study of the human motions used
to perform an operation. Purpose is to eliminate any
unnecessary motions and identify the best sequence of
motions for maximum efficiency.
• Motion Study Principles – Guidelines for designing motion
efficient work procedures. Divided into three: Principles for
the body, arrangement of workplace and design of tools &
• Therbligs – Basic elemental motions of a job that can be
• Micromotion study – Use of cameras to slow down motion so
it can be studied if the job is too rapid to analyze.
• Important aspect of job design.
• Physical factors can have a significant impact on worker
performance in terms of productivity, quality of output and
Temperature & Humidity
Noise & Vibration
Humans can function in a wide range of
temperature. It’s not a big problems in
offices than in factories, field work and
other work environmental areas that
make it difficult to control the
temperature. Solutions range from
suitable clothing and devices. The choice
of temperature depends on humidity
level since we are more sensitive to
variations in temperatures in high
Unpleasant, noxious odors, smoke and dust
can be distracting and dangerous to
Solely depends on the type of work. The
more detailed the work, the higher the
level of illumination. Illumination in
dangerous points of the workplace is
important. It is very expensive. Sunlight
could be another source.
1.) Produces emotional and psychological
effects in workplace situations.
2.) Designate safe and hazardous
Unwanted sounds. Can be annoying and
distracting, leading to errors and
An important variable in the rate of
decline of efficiency and potential
effects of work breaks is the amount of
physical/mental requirements of the
Most basic issues in job design. Needs
constant attention to all people involved.
Workers cannot be effectively motivated
if they feel physically safe. Two basic
causes: carelessness & accidental
• “Concern with det. The length of time it takes to complete a
• Standard Time – the amount of time it should take a qualified
worker to complete a specified task working at a sustainable
rate, using given methods, tools and equipment, raw
materials, and workplace arrangements.
• Stopwatch Time Study – developed a time standard based on
observations of one worker over a number of cycles. Most
widely used method and appropriate for short, repetitive
1. Variability of observed times
2. Desired accuracy
3. Desired level of confidence for the estimated job time.
(1) Desired accuracy is expressed in percentage of the mean
of the observed times.
(2) Alternate formula used when the desired accuracy is
stated as an amount.
STANDARD ELEMENTAL TIMES
• “Time standards derived from a firm’s historical time data.”
• Potential savings in cost & effort
• Less disruption in work
• Performance ratings are generally in
• Times may not exist for enough
standard elements to make it worthy
• File times may be biased or
PROCEDURE FOR USING THIS METHOD
CONSIST OF THE FF. STEPS:
1. Analyze the job to identify the
2. Check the file for elements that have
historical times and record them.
Use time study to obtain others (if
3. Modify the file times if necessary
4. Sum the elemental times to obtain
the normal time, and factor in
allowances to obtain the standard
PREDETERMINED TIME STANDARDS
• “Involved the use of published data based on extensive
research to determine standard elemental times.”
• Commonly used system: Methods-time measurement.
Divide the job into basic elements
Measure the distances involved
Rate the difficulty of the element
Refer to appropriate table of data.
Sum of all Basic Elements = Standard Time for the
Times of basic elements are measured in time
measurement units (TMU)
1 TMU = 0.0006 minutes.
ADVANTAGES OF PREDETERMINED
Based on large numbers of workers in
Analyst are not required to rate
performance in developing the
No disruption of operation
Standards are established even before
the job is finished.
• “Technique for estimating the proportion of time
that a worker/machine spends on various
• Does not require timing an activity nor does it even
involve continuous observation of the activity.
• The observer is required to make short observations
of a worker/machine at random intervals and note
• Two primary uses: Ratio delay studies & Analysis of
• Ratio-delays Studies – percentage of a worker’s time
that involves unavoidable delays or the proportion of
time a machine is idle.
• Analysis Nonrepetitive jobs – involved a broader
range of skills than repetitive jobs and workers in
these jobs are often paid on the basis of the highest
skill involved. It is important to determine the
proportion of time spent on the high-skill level.
• Work sampling can be part of a program for
validation of job content that is needed for
“occupational qualifications” – advertised jobs
requiring the skills that are specified.
• Work sampling estimates include some degree of
error: the same no. of observations taken at different
times during the week will probably produce slightly
different estimates and all estimates will usually
differ from the actual (unknown) values.
For large samples, the maximum error e can be computed:
In most instances, management will specify the desired
confidence level & amount of allowable error and the analyst
will be required to det. a sample size sufficient to obtain these
• Random number table – table consisting of
unordered sequences of numbers, used to determine
random observation schedules.
ADVANTAGES OF WORK SAMPLING OVER STOPWATCH TIME STUDY
1. Observations are spread out over a period of time making results less susceptible to short-
2. There is little or no disruption of work
3. Workers are less resentful
4. Studies are less costly & less time-consuming and the skill requirements are less.
5. The study can be interrupted without affecting the results
6. Many different studies can be conducted simultaneously
7. No timing device is required
8. Lends itself to non-repetitive tasks.
1. There is less detail on the elements of the job
2. Workers may alter their work patterns when they spot the observer resulting in invalid
3. In many cases, there is no record of the method used by the worker.
4. Observers may fail to adhere to a random schedule of observation
5. It is not well suited for short, repetitive tasks.
6. More time may be required to move from one workplace to another and back to satisfy the
A significant issue in design systems. It is important to develop
suitable compensation plans for your employees since the failure
and success of a firm depends in large measure on employee
efforts. A firm used two basic systems of compensation:
1. Time based system – compensation based on time an
employee has worked during the pay period. (hourly and/or
measure daywork systems)
2. Output based system – compensation based on amount of
output an employee produced during the pay period.
• Individual incentives could disrupt the even flow of work.
• Group incentives are sometimes successful in some cases.
• Quality considerations vs. Quantity considerations.
TIME-BASED 1. Stable labor cost.
2. Easy to administer
3. Simple computation
4. Stable output
1. Stable pay
2. Less pressure to produce than under
Disadvantages 1. No incentives for workers to
1. Extra efforts not rewarded
OUTPUT BASED 1. Less cost per unit
2. Greater output
1. Pay related to effort
2. Opportunity to earn more
Disadvantages 1. Difficult wage computation
2. Need to measure output
3. Quality may suffer
4. Difficult in adjusting increase
5. High scheduling problems
1. Pay fluctuates
2. Workers may be penalized because of
factors beyond their control.
• There situations where incentives are desirable.
• Incentives reward the workers for their output.
• In order to obtain the maximum benefit from an incentive
plan it should be:
2. Easy to apply
4. Easy to understand
• Individual incentive plan - it takes in different forms.
• Group incentive plan – sharing productivity gains with
• Knowledge – based pay systems – a pay system used by
organizations to reward workers who undergo training that
increases their skills.
• Management compensation – a tradition that rewards
managers/executives on the basis of output but is currently
• Human performance of activities typically shows
improvement when the activities are done on repetitive basis.
• Learning curves summarize this phenomenon.
The curve will never
touch the horizontal
line because the
time per unit will
never be zero.
Improvements may create a scallop effect in the curve:
On a log-log scale, learning curves are straight lines:
• Time reduction per unit is less and less as the number of
• There are two ways to obtain the times: Formula & Table of
Learning curve theory has found useful applications in a number
1. Manpower planning and scheduling
2. Negotiation of prices
3. Pricing new products
4. Budgeting, purchasing, and inventory planning.
• Managers use learning curves to avoid under/over pricing.
• Learning curve helps plan costs, labor, purchasing and
• Failure to refer to learning curves would lead to substantial
overestimates of labor and underestimates of raw materials.
• Can also be used to evaluate worker performance. The
comparison reveals which workers are under qualified,
average and overqualified for the given work.
CAUTION & CRITICISM
1. Learning rates differ from organization to organization and
the type of work.
2. Projections from learning curves should be regarded as
approximations of actual times and must be treated as such.
3. Be cautious in the time estimates for the first unit prior to
4. It is possible that at some point the curve might level off or
even tip upward. The potential for savings at that point is so
slight that most jobs do not command the attention or
interest to sustain improvements.
5. Some improvements may be apparent than real:
Improvement in times may be caused in part by increase in
indirect labor cost.
CAUTION & CRITICISM
6. Learning curves are useful for production start-up but not
usually for mass production.
CAUTION & CRITICISM
7. Users of learning curves sometimes fail to include carryover
effects, previous experience with similar activities can reduce
the activity times, although it should be noted that the
learning rate remains the same.
8. Shorter product life cycles, flexible manufacturing and cross-
functional workers can affect the ways in which learning
curves may be applied.