Revamping Time and Motion Studies

Revamping Time and Motion Studies

January 31, 2019

A new survey indicates that humans, not machines, perform 72 percent of manufacturing tasks.  However, when companies look at improving efficiency, they often overlook how to make humans more productive and focus instead on how to replace them with automation.

Robots are well suited for some tasks, but many other tasks still require the human touch.  In addition, industrial engineers often use time and motion study techniques which, while valuable, have been in use since Henry Ford’s days in the early 1900’s.

Perhaps it’s time to use new data gathering methodologies to increase worker productivity.

This post is based on the Design News article, Is it time to make human workers more efficient?, by Rob Spiegel, January 2, 2019. Image source: auremar/123RF.

Discussion Questions:

1. Why don’t companies spend more time analyzing workers to improve their efficiency?

Guidance: According to the article, manufacturers often put a greater emphasis on the potential benefits of automation because of the difficulties in quantifying investments and potential payoffs associated with improving worker proficiency.

Also, it takes a great deal of time for industrial engineers to conduct these studies. The measurement techniques have not changed to reflect the digital age.

2. Continue reading

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UPSNav: Save a minute, save $14 million

UPSNav: Save a minute, save $14 million

January 14, 2019

Known for its focus on efficiency, UPS is always on the lookout for ways to save time and offer better service to its customers.

UPSNav, due to be in place by 2020, updates United Parcel Service’s previous route optimization system for its 60,000 drivers.  The new system will recalculate routes all day long, taking traffic, remaining deliveries, and pick-up requests into account.

UPS drivers make about 125 stops per day, so shaving even seconds off each stop can result in huge savings.  For example, saving drivers one minute per day multiplies to $14.5 million in labor cost savings per year.

UPS competes in a tough market with FedEx, the U.S. Postal Service, and Amazon.  Figuring out how to make the “last mile delivery” as cost-effective as possible is a constant challenge, especially in suburban and rural areas where the stops are further apart.


Video Spotlight: A look at UPS Orion, the current UPS navigation system


This post is based on the Reuters article, New UPS navigation tool aims to save time and money with each turn, by Lisa Baertlein, December 4, 2018; and the YouTube video, UPS Orion, by lolrus15, September 6, 2017. Image source: Continue reading

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