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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. 


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

ISEs are necessary for the real world to work

The August issue of ISE magazine offer many articles to comment about, while simultaneously showing how pervasive industrial and systems engineering is.

Take "Let's go to the video," for instance. Intuitively, it appears that digital video recording would be the panacea of time studies. But honestly, it raises more questions than it appears to solve.

For "Winning the drone race," my nephew's son is working on a special drone project at the University of Nebraska's school of engineering.

Kevin McManus' Performance column, "Three times a process," also struck a chord. In one of my past lives I was a jet pilot instructor and trained student pilots from 15 nations. The question back then was, "How many loops did a student pilot perform to pass?" Paul Engle's Management column made several great points in "Guarding against fearful disruption." The big competitors are slow to change, and the little ones sneak up on you and capture your market share. Regarding Ricardo Valerdi's Systems Engineering column about applying Moneyball-type thinking to engineering projects, "What we can learn from baseball analytics," well, the "team players" are the ones who win championships.

Concerning "Print production profitability," the sidebar to Thomas Cutler's article "Production automation gets IEs off the shop floor," well, I am in the process of valuing a multimillion-dollar printing business.

The Institute's coverage of the IISE Annual Conference and Expo 2017 also brought back memories. This year's conference convened in Pittsburgh, near my hometown. I grew up 50 miles north on the Allegheny River and spent a lot of time in Pittsburgh touring businesses. An IE serves on the city council. My son is on the city council of our hometown, Raymore. He is an attorney who also works full time in the county auditor's office. He is steeped in business, as I taught him all the business courses in college.

Further proof of the value of IISE comes from our local Kansas City chapter, which has annual, in-service training. I attend, as all professions should have mandated, annual training. The October session on Kansas State University's Olathe campus is about decision-making. It should be illuminating, as I taught that subject at the college.

Who says that industrial and systems engineering doesn't invade the real world?

R. Wayne Moorhead
Moorhead Business Brokerage LLC
Leawood, Kansas


Check out new videos on the IISE YouTube channel like the IISE Annual 2017 series of attendee chats with Joan Wagner, Sean Genovese, Chitralekha Beniwal and more. View and subscribe at



Bianca Garcia @BGarcia003
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