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With summer in our rearview mirror, these IISE members take us back to a sultry August commenting on articles from that month's issue of ISE. Enjoy their perspectives along with new videos on the IISE YouTube channel. 

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In work study, different systems can make for different times

Speaking of time, I wanted to comment on your article "For work study, let's go to the video" (August 2017). I did a lot of "paper stopwatch" work for General Electric at the corporate staff level. I will call this "a large manufacturing company (LMC)."

I taught users and I taught teachers the system this company used. And I found time to make comparisons between this company's system and MTM (methods-time measurement). Both were used for incentive systems. Both were acceptable to courts and somewhat to unions. I was not acceptable to unions, however.

Both systems have roots in the work of Frank and Lillian Gilbreth and Frederick W. Taylor. Both systems employed cameras and mathematical methods to determine times for certain moves. But when the same job was analyzed, the results were different. I do not know how this was explained. But I do know that the LMC focused on methods, saying "the method determines the time."

Well, sort of. If the times are correct.

A word of caution is important about cameras. People have the right not to be photographed in most places. Those who agree to be photographed could be called management stooges by some, and the rate at which they worked in front of a camera could be challenged.

At any rate, the LMC sold off its labor-intensive businesses. In doing so, it lost the need for a large hunk of its labor measurement corporate staff. It gave up court cases about incentive systems and physical damage from repetitive operations, too. The LMC probably came out ahead. I moved on to VP of general management in other companies, where we developed general mathematical systems of work measurement.

"Paper stopwatch systems" sound very modern and accurate. But they seem to employ guesswork of all kinds.

They must be used judicially.

Thomas S. Fiske
Fullerton, California

Correction
"Building infrastructure in Haiti with chocolate," the case study on Page 50 of October's ISE magazine, reported an incorrect age range for Askanya employees and a few other errors. Company workers mainly range from 19- to 33-yearsold. In addition, Corinne Joachim Sanon, who has no children, partnered with a Haitian cooperative, Federation of Northern Haiti Cacao Growers Cooperatives, or FECCANO. The factory is located in Ouanaminthe, and the machine-refining stage takes up to 72 hours.

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