Industrial engineering

Work Study: what is Work Study? |Method Study, Work Measurement

What is Work-Study?

Work-study examines organizational operations to optimize the use of industrial resources such as manpower, materials, machinery, and finances. Companies aim to produce high-quality products in the shortest time possible.

The production time for an item is influenced by the manufacturing process. Method study, a component of work-study, seeks to identify the most efficient manufacturing procedures that minimize time and prevent worker fatigue. This is achieved by eliminating unnecessary motions in a process or implementing the most suitable sequence of operations.

Definition of Work-Study

"Work Study is a broad term for techniques like Method Study and Work Measurement. These methods are used to analyze human work in various settings, systematically investigating all factors influencing efficiency to drive improvement.”

Importance of Work-Study

Work study holds significant importance in industrial engineering for several reasons:

Enhanced Efficiency and Productivity:

Work study is all about streamlining processes. By meticulously analyzing current methods and identifying inefficiencies, unnecessary steps, and bottlenecks, it paves the way for designing and implementing improved methods. This translates to workers completing tasks in less time and with less effort, leading to a significant boost in overall productivity.

Reduced Costs:

Increased efficiency through work study has a direct impact on costs. When processes are optimized, there’s less waste of time, materials, and resources. This translates to cost savings for the organization across various aspects of production.

Improved Quality:

Standardization is a key outcome of work study. By establishing the most effective method for completing a task, consistency is achieved throughout production. This reduces errors and variations, ultimately leading to a higher quality product or service.

Enhanced Worker Ergonomics and Safety:

Work study isn’t just about output; it also considers worker well-being. The analysis of work methods can reveal areas where tasks can be redesigned to reduce physical strain or fatigue. This not only improves worker comfort but also promotes a safer work environment by minimizing the risk of injuries.

Improved Employee Morale:

When workers are equipped with efficient methods and tools, they experience greater job satisfaction. The elimination of unnecessary tasks and the focus on ergonomics can also contribute to a more positive work environment, potentially leading to improved employee morale.

Universality of Application:

Work study isn’t limited to just manufacturing. Its principles can be applied across various industries and settings. Whether it’s an office environment, a service industry, or even healthcare, work study techniques can be used to analyze and improve work processes, leading to better outcomes.

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Benefits of work Study

Work study offers a multitude of benefits for industrial engineering, leading to a more streamlined and effective production process. Here’s a breakdown of its key advantages:

1. Optimized Production Flow and Shorter Lead Times:

  • Work study helps identify and eliminate bottlenecks and inefficiencies in the production process.
  • By establishing the most efficient methods, work study ensures a smooth and uniform flow of production, minimizing delays.
  • This translates to completing production in the minimum possible time, leading to faster turnaround times and shorter lead times for deliveries.

2. Increased Efficiency and Reduced Costs:

  • Work study promotes the efficient utilization of manpower, materials, and machinery. This eliminates waste and unnecessary resource consumption.
  • Optimized processes lead to significant cost savings across various aspects of production, including labor, materials, and energy consumption.

3. Improved Quality and Faster Deliveries:

  • Standardization of work methods through work study ensures consistency throughout production.
  • This reduces errors and variations, leading to a higher quality product or service.
  • Faster production cycles, achieved through work study, enable companies to meet tighter deadlines and deliver products to customers efficiently.

4. Enhanced Worker Well-being and Improved Relations:

  • Work study analysis considers worker ergonomics and physical demands.
  • By identifying areas for improvement, tasks can be redesigned to reduce strain and fatigue, creating a safer and more comfortable work environment.
  • This not only improves worker well-being but also fosters a more positive work environment, potentially leading to better relations between employees and employers.

5. Increased Job Satisfaction and Worker Motivation:

  • Work study equips workers with efficient methods and tools, allowing them to complete tasks more effectively.
  • The elimination of unnecessary steps and the focus on ergonomics can contribute to a more positive work experience, leading to increased job satisfaction and improved worker motivation.

6. Higher Wages and Reduced Health Risks:

  • Improved efficiency achieved through work study can lead to increased productivity, potentially allowing companies to offer higher wages to their employees.
  • A focus on ergonomics translates to a safer work environment, minimizing the risk of injuries and work-related health hazards.

7. Enhanced Product Quality:

  • Standardized and optimized processes ensure consistent quality throughout production.
  • By minimizing errors and variations, work study ultimately leads to a higher quality product meeting customer expectations.

What is Method Study?

Method study is a systematic method of analyzing the manufacturing procedure of doing a job including human movements involved in it. In other words, it is the process of analyzing the methods and finding the best possible method which involves minimum time, not make fatigue to the workers and increase productivity. That’s why it is also termed as work simplification.

Method study is generally done by eliminating all unnecessary motions involve in a certain manufacturing procedure or by changing the sequence of operation or change the whole process.

Method Study procedure

  1. Select the work which deserves to work-study and define the objective we need to achieve. Generally objective is to reduce the manufacturing cost, reduce bottlenecks or reduce fatigue of the worker with the aim of increase the efficiency.
  2. Record all the relevant data which are essential for the method in chart form to obtain a more clear picture of the respective methods. Process of recording can be easily done with the help of the following aids-
  3. Examine all the recorded data in sequence. During the Critical examination process number of question can be asked, like –
    • Purpose of the event,
    • Who does it? ,
    • The place where it is done? ,
    • How?
    • When the event is done?
    • How differently we can be done? etc.
  4. Develop the best method of doing the event from the Critical Examination and record the method. But we have to keep in mind that Developed method should be practical, safe, economical and effective at the same time.
  5. Install the finally developed method or improve the method. The installation process involves three phases, Planning, Arranging and Implementing. During the planning and arranging phase programme of installation, making time table, the necessary arrangement of resources, equipment, tools are made. In the implementation or actual installation phase, the developed method is introduced as the standard practice.
  6. Maintain the new method, and ensure the proper functioning of the installed method by periodic inspection and verification. the aim of check and verification is to ensure if the method is being practised the same or it has deviated from the authorized one. Take the views of workers, supervisors it helps to explore further improvements.

What is Work Measurement in Work-Study?

Work measurement is one of the two foundational components of work study in industrial engineering. It focuses on establishing the standard time it should take a qualified worker to complete a specific task using the most efficient method identified through method study (the other half of work study).

Here’s a breakdown of work measurement in work-study:

  • Focus: Determining the time a qualified worker needs to complete a task at a defined level of performance.
  • Techniques:┬áCommon techniques include:
    • Time Studies: An analyst directly observes and records the time taken for specific tasks by a worker.
    • Predetermined Motion Time Systems (PTS): Assigns standard time values to basic human motions, allowing for quicker estimation of task times.
  • Benefits:
    • Provides a benchmark for evaluating worker performance and identifying areas for improvement.
    • Sets realistic production targets based on achievable timeframes.
    • Enables effective scheduling and planning of production activities.
    • Forms the basis for establishing fair and reliable incentive pay schemes for workers.

In essence, work measurement helps quantify the efficiency gains achieved through method study. It provides a data-driven approach to ensure tasks are completed within a reasonable timeframe while considering worker capabilities.


Work study plays a critical role in optimizing industrial processes. Through method study, engineers meticulously analyze current methods, identifying inefficiencies and bottlenecks. This paves the way for designing and implementing improved methods that eliminate unnecessary steps and streamline workflow. The result? Significantly increased productivity with less time and resources wasted.

The benefits extend beyond just efficiency. Work study also promotes worker well-being by focusing on ergonomics and minimizing physical strain. Standardized methods ensure consistent quality, while faster production cycles allow for quicker deliveries. Overall, work study is a powerful tool that enhances production efficiency, reduces costs, improves quality, and fosters a safer and more productive work environment.

Sukanta Maiti

I am a Mechanical Engineer by profession, Blogger, and Youtuber by passion. I have been in the engineering field since 2014. I am passionate about sharing all my knowledge about engineering, management, and economics to my readers.

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