Z94.17 - Work Design and Measurement

The definitions in this section are essentially an update of those in the 1989 volume.  Work measurement concepts and practices have changed little in the past ten years.  Use of the techniques is on a plateau.  As industry and commercial organizations mechanize their operations, less attention is given to individual workplace productivity measurement.

Increased use is being made of techniques to measure groups and even entire organizations.  As traditional measurement practices are converted to measuring groups, the terminology employed requires few changes to accommodate macromeasurement concepts.  Many of the traditional terms are used in organization-wide measurement programs.

With the increased encouragement of employees by industry and commercial firms to become involved with management to raise productivity and reduce costs, there is less need for management to rely on work measurement and so-called fair day's work standards.  As human resources concepts improve relations between employees and management, there is less reliance on work measurement to improve productivity.  Traditional work measurement will continue to be used in planning and managing operations, and in incentive programs.


Mitchell Fein, P.E., C.M.C.
Mitchell Fein, Inc.


Marvin E. Mundel, Ph.D., P.E.

Alan V. Owen
Woods Gordon

John L. Zalusky
AFL-CIO Research Department

Jack Niles, P.E., C.M.C.
Rath & Strong

Arnold J. Ellenson, P.E., C.M.C.
Mitchell Fein, Inc.

Thomas H. Lennon
Mitchell Fein, Inc.

Joseph E. May
H.B. Maynard and Company, Inc.


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ABNORMAL TIME. A time value which is outside of statistical or policy variance limits. Syn: abnormal reading.

ACCEPTABLE PRODUCTIVITY LEVEL (APL). The work pace established by management, or jointly by management and labor, at a level considered satisfactory; it is established at a given relationship to the motivated productivity level. (See NORMAL PERFORMANCE.)

ACCUMULATIVE TIMING. A multiple (usually three) stopwatch technique for time study in which a mechanical linkage pressed at successive cycle breakpoints instantaneously stops, starts, and resets the individual watches so that, respectively, they may be: read for recording the latest element time, timing the element currently being observed, and ready to time the next element.



ACTUAL TIME. The unadjusted time for the accomplishment of a defined task or task element as obtained by a timing device. Syn: observed time.

ALLOWANCE. (1) Work measurement: a time value or percentage of time by which the normal time is increased, or the amount of non-productive time applied to compensate for justifiable causes or policy requirements. The normal time plus allowances equal the standard time. Usually includes irregular elements, incentive opportunity on machine controlled time, minor unavoidable delays, rest time to overcome fatigue, and time for personal needs. (2) Dimensional: the minimum clearance or maximum interference distance between two interpenetrated objects. (See TRAINING ALLOWANCE.)


ALLOWED TIME. A normal time value increased by an appropriate allowance(s). (See STANDARD TIME.)

ARBITRATOR. An impartial third party to whom disputing parties submit their differences for a decision (award). An adhoc arbitrator is selected to act in a specific case or a limited group of cases. A permanent arbitrator is selected to serve for the life of the contract or a stipulated term.

ASSIGNABLE CAUSE. A source of variation in a process which can be isolated, especially when its significantly larger magnitude or different origin readily distinguishes it from random causes of variation.

AUXILIARY PROCESS TIME. The time required for essential supplementary process operations which assure the continuity and completion of the principal process operations. Such auxiliary operations as deburring, straightening, cleaning, and finishing usually result in relatively minor changes in the appearance of physical characteristics of the workpiece in comparison with the effects due to such principal operations as cutting, forming, welding, casting, and assembly.

AVAILABLE MACHINE TIME. The portion of a time cycle during which a machine could be performing useful work.

AVAILABLE PROCESS TIME. The portion of a time cycle during which a process agent or system could be acting usefully on the product.

AVERAGE CYCLE TIME. (1) The sum of observed or actual work times, divided by the number of such cycle observations. Abnormal times should be accounted for and usually should be prorated into cycle time. (2) The sum of the average elemental times. (See AVERAGE ELEMENT TIME.)

AVERAGE ELEMENT TIME. The sum of a series of observed or actual element times, divided by the number of such element observations. Abnormal times should be accounted for and usually should be prorated into cycle time. (See AVERAGE CYCLE TIME.)



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