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Various Ways to Measure Work

There are four basic ways to set 'standards' for measuring work:

  1. Estimates (a prediction of the time it should take)
  2. History (how long it has taken; ‘averages’ from past experience)
  3. Time Study (using a stop watch; how long it takes an observed worker)
  4. Predetermined (time values established for ‘worldwide’ acceptance based on the analysis of motions.

Master Standard Data (MSD) is a predetermined time value system. We use MSD because it is the most accurate, efficient, flexible, and economical way to determine time values in most situations.

Why measure work? Management will generally get what it expects from its labor. After years of using historical standards, management believes that the company has after all survived and grown; surely this means workers must be efficient! They overlook the fact they may have never really known what they should expect.

Historical standards can be a basis for a cost system, but they are not a good base on which to motivate or to measure productivity.

The advantages of MSD are:

  •  Consistency.
  •  No operator rating – a skill that an analyst must acquire that ultimately is the analyst’s opinion of the operator's efficiency.
  •  Objective, not subjective.
  •  Easy to maintain.


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