Suggestions on Time study Methods

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    Hello everyone,
    We are trying to set a standard for our employees.  How ever predetermined standards such as MODAPTS, MOST-Office, etc. will not be applicable since the job elements are not physical.  The elements are specific to computer systems, such as opening a claim, going to record tabs, reading and understanding benefits, and other mental workload. 
    We also want to avoid using the average employee times.  We were considering:
    1. looking at similarly skilled employees in the company (not necessarily they are doing the target work) .
    2-     looking at our vendor’s employees (in some cases they do exactly the same work but faster) .
    3-     looking at industry benchmarks for similar work.
    Are these methods reliable? Can you suggest any other methods we could use?
    Thank you for your time



    Perhaps I have misunderstood your posting, but my first reaction is put down Frederick Taylor and pick up W. Edwards Deming.Do not set standards. Measure your current performance: mean & s.d. and identify and prioritize root causes to variation. Eliminating those causes will naturally improve your variation and likely reduce your mean. The only outcome from setting standards is to drive more variability into the process as each employee implements their own “work-around” into the process.



    If you have a lot of variability in the time, then you will first need to some gross work standardization or categorize the work differently depending on the type of process (opening a claim vs. closing a claim, rather than just one standard time for both).  Time and use the actual times, but use the minimum times, not the average.  Toyota would measure the process 10 times and use the best time as the standard — again, you may want to use the 2 sigma time as the standard.  Then use the standard as the Plan part of PDCA; with a feedback loop for the employees (C & A) for improvement. When there is a problem meeting the standard time, then you will need to do root cause analysis to understand why (5-why) and improve the process.  The reason for setting a slightly lower goal (2 sigma) would be to reduce overwhelming the problem solving process.  This standard serves the same purpose as the green-yellow-red lines painted on the assembly line floor for signaling the andon.
    Deming wasn’t against standards as in standard work.  Deming was against standards as quotas, and evaluation by performance alone. He was also against workers training other workers (Rule #4, Funnel Experiment), so standard work needs to be established as the way to eliminate variability in the process, and to develop a work Plan. (Deming was also a proponent of PDCA). However, the focus should be on the “work process” and the “improvement process”, not on the results — in other words, if the workers don’t meet the standard times — exhortations telling the workers to work faster is not the right approach. 



    I would suggest skipping the benchmarking.Start by measuring process cycle times for everyone and plotting the results as a control chart over time. I think you would do well to use an X-bar R chart, groupping across individuals, rather than plotting individuals’ times using an XmR or ImR chart.Then decide whether you want to reduce variation or reduce process (cycle) time for each measured process, and initiate projects to do so, with a well-thought-out goal (e.g. “50% reduction in variance for process X”). A Six Sigma Black Belt would be valuable as the project leader. It may be that the first such project’s actions will consist primarily in establishing the cycle time measurement system standardizing (documenting) your process, and training everyone to the standard process.Be sure to continue measuring and plotting your control chart (or whatever) after the improvement project to ensure that whatever new controls were put in place are maintained and continue to be effective (no backsliding!).Finally, initiate another improvement project. Rather than set a specific cycle time goal for the processes, make continuous improvement–reducing variation, cycle time and error rates–the goal.


    Michael Schlueter

    Hello Kardi,
    Just wondering: which question do you really want to answer, or which hint are you really seeking?
    Kind regards, Michael Schlueter


    J. Brewton

    Hello Kardi,Your question is one I would like to answer in detail but, wanting to
    respect and adhere to the guidelines of this important website, will
    try to provide you information that will be helpful without
    promoting my company’s PDTS.You mentioned looking into pre-determined time systems for
    establishing time and performance standards for your employees
    which, by your description, appear to be involved with using
    desktop or laptop computers for processing their work. There is a pre-determined time system that can accurately
    measure computer work and related activities including
    keystroking and mouse movement, reading and comprehending,
    and decision-making. It is a system designed specifically for
    accurately measuring, staffing and fully “leaning” administrative /
    office work processes. It is comprised of 17 categories and 133
    engineered time standards that cover virtually all work actions that
    can be performed in an administrative work environment. Performance times established using this system are based upon
    that which can be expected for an average, well-trained employee
    working at a normal pace and producing acceptable quality work. This system leverages the real benefit of pre-determined time
    systems – time measurement and methods improvement. This
    system allows discovering the best methods on which to
    standardize your work processes and the establishment of
    employee performance standards accurate enough for
    performance-based incentive plans.I hope this helps.

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