Time study

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Time study
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Time study - known also as motion and time study. It is a method to establish workers’ productivity standards. The time study is a procedure for determining the amount of time required to do some task, under standard conditions of measurement.

Motion and time study [1] is used to find the best and most efficient way of doing work. However it can not be use for every kind of work. This method is used to find the preferred way to be applied in factory work, hotel work, farm work, housework and other activities which are repeatedly done.

Characteristics of motion and time study

The characteristics of motion and time study are:

  1. dividing complex task into small and simple steps
  2. observing all of the moves of the employee to detect and eliminate useless movements
  3. precise time needed to do each movement

Direct time study procedure

Mikell Groover [2] developed procedure for the direct time study.

  • Identify and evidence the standard method.
  • Divide the task into work items.

These first two stages are carried out before the real time. They acquaint the analyst with the task and allow the analyst to try to improve the work procedure before the standard time is defined .

  • Time of work elements to get the time observed for the exercise.
  • Estimate the employee's work rate relative to the standard performance to determine the normal time

It must be note that steps 3 and 4 are performed simultaneously. Over these steps, a few different work cycles are determined over time, and the performance of each cycle is evaluated independently. Finally, the values ​​collected at these stages are averaged to obtain normalized time.

  • Apply the addition to the normal time to calculate the standard time. The tolerance factors that are needed at work are then added to calculate the standard time for the job.

Purposes to use standard times

The standard time for a work will be 130/100 of the amount of time that is essential to perform a unit of work[3]. The main purposes to do it are:

  • To set schedules
  • To specify supervisory goals
  • To specify standard costs
  • To set labor standards
  • To specify the number of machines that a person can run
  • To specify hardware and work requirements
  • To stability the work of crews, coordinate or in sequence
  • To specify labor standards.


The beginning of the idea of motion and time study was in 1890’[4]. It was used by Frederick W. Taylor, who was working at the Midvale Steel Company. Not too much time later, Frank B. Gilbreth coworking with his wife Lillian Gilbreth started developing the idea.



  1. Marvin E. M., (1960)
  2. Groover M. P., (2007)
  3. Marvin E. M., (1960)
  4. Pigage L. C., Tucker J. L., (1954)

Author: Klaudia Trączyk