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Work measurement is determining how long it takes to do a job. Managing human resources requires managers to know how much work employees can do during a specific period. Otherwise they cannot plan production schedules or output. Without a good idea of how long it takes to do a job, a company will not know if it can meet customer expectations for delivery or service time. Despite the unpopularity of wage-incentive systems among some quality proponents, they are still widely used in the United States, and work measurement is required to set the output standards on which incentive rates are based. These wage rates determine the cost of a product or service.
Work measurement has also seen a revival within the ever-growing service sector. Services tend to be labor-intensive, and service jobs, especially clerical ones, are often repetitive. For example, sorting mail in a postal service, processing income tax returns in the IRS, making hamburgers at McDonald's, and inputting data from insurance forms in a computer at Prudential are all repetitive service jobs that can be measured, and standards can be set for output and wages. As a result, work measurement is still an important aspect of operations management for many companies.
The traditional means for determining an estimate of the time to do a job has been the time study, in which a stopwatch ...