Optimizing the Methods Engineering Process.

The first steps of any engineered labor standard implementation are to initiate a global review of the current work process.The target of this review will be the inefficiencies inherent in the current process.The initial savings associated with the first step of this process will be used to fuel additional savings that will in turn create even more opportunities to save, creating a sort of chain reaction of savings. To achieve such results, it is important to include methods engineering in the first step of the engineered labor standard program.This combination of methods engineering and work measurement becomes an extremely potent tool in eradicating
unproductiveness, as it attacks both the technical and psychological nature of the inefficiencies. The elimination of wasted time and effort will always remain an essential attribute of engineered labor standards projects.Any engineered labor standards implementation should be regarded as a golden opportunity, not only to quantify our processes, but also to improve their efficiency.

Traditionally, work measurement has been the second step of the work study process.
Adhering to this method, an industrial engineer would first apply methods engineering to improve the task, then resort to workmeasurement tomeasure the newlymodified process. Since it is common to discover additional improvements during the workmeasurement phase, using a linear approach falls short of realizing the true potential of work study.

This modifies our perspective of the traditional relationship between methods engineering and work measurement. We can no longer view methods engineering as a simple prerequisite to work measurement. By the same token, it is dangerous to think of methods engineering as a stand-alone process by which we can improve productivity.Experience has shown that it is one thing to identify potential savings and yet another to reap the benefits.Work measurement is the mechanism by which accountability is added to themethods engineering phase to ensure that any identified savings willmake it to the bank. (See Fig. 5.2.1.)

We are in essence defining the existence of a symbiotic relationship between methods engineering and work measurement.These two processes work in tandem, not only by completing each other, but also by maximizing their individual and collective yields. The necessity to improve a task before measuring it has to become intuitive to every industrial engineer. It would be falling short of our goals if, as industrial engineers, we were satisfied to implement engineered labor standards on improperly designed methods. By the same token, it should be logical for us to recognize that the only way to harvest the true potential of methods engineering is to implement engineered labor standards.This will enable upper management to hold people accountable for the identified savings.With such a process in place, companies will be guaranteed to benefit from the savings generated by their methods engineering process.

FIGURE 5.2.1 Symbiotic relationship between methods engineering and work measurement.


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