Time Study... Is it intimidating!?

Updated: Feb 21, 2020


Determining the current level of performance might be intimidating. There is always a tendency to avoid the truth. One can avoid stepping on a scale when he knows his clothes are getting tighter!




“Hardly a competent workman can be found who does not devote a considerable amount of time to studying just how slowly he can work and still convince his employer that he is going at a good pace.”

Frederick Winslow Taylor


In his book, the most influential management book of the 20th century as voted for by the academy of management, The Principles of Scientific Management, Taylor initiated the time study technique for work methods improvement. Nowadays, Time study is not only present in industrial applications, but also in services, like healthcare, banking, and education.


What Is a Time Study?

Time study is a structured process of directly observing and measuring human work using a timing device to establish the time required for completion of the work by a qualified worker when working at a defined level of performance.

Time study is commonly performed when the processes are characterized by being repetitive and has a wide range of different operations performed in short to long cycle duration.

Operations management experts have provided some guidelines for best practices when conducting a time study, which are summarized in four points:

  • Identifying the purpose of the study

  • Designing the study

  • Collection of data

  • Data analysis


Benefits of Performing Time Studies

Time study results have a direct effect on performance improvement throughout the organization, affecting many of its functional departments, for example:

  • Operations/production: it provides a baseline by evaluating the processes and methods used and defining standards against which new methods/materials will be compared to. It also allows the organization to identify waste and enforce the implementation of lean concepts for more efficient utilization of available resources.

  • Accounting: by provides a baseline, time study can help for cost and effectiveness evaluation and the identification of deviations between actual and planned costs.

  • Marketing: It is the foundation for determining the lead time. Time study allows the organization to improve its fulfillment capabilities by improving its processes.

  • Information systems: It provides valid data for the required time and resources needed which allows accurate scheduling and tracking, in addition to boosting the readiness level.

  • Human resources: It provides the organization with a realistic recruitment strategy, where the availability of creating detailed work planning will allow short- and long-term staffing levels, and full time vs. part-time needs.


Why Outsource Time Studies

Time study involves interactions with people, and that can induce bias in the results. For example, The Hawthorne effect or the observer effect is where people alter the way they do things because they are aware that they are being watched. Also, capturing the right “time” and determining the number of observations, in addition to the statistical analysis, can be challenging. That’s why organizations with exceptional performance depend on operations experts and consulting firms for reliable results.


Techam Solutions has performed a number of time studies for multiple clients, to provide reliable information and tools to assist with continuous improvement efforts, waste elimination, data generation for rate readiness, and labor planning as it relates to full time vs. part-time needs.