10, Job design, Work methods, and Organization


10.1, People make the difference

The keys to the production system are the workers in the system. In thoery, all organizations have accesss to essentially the same standard equipment, materials, and facilities. It is an organization's personnel that provides the competitive advantage and makes one organization more successful than another. It is the people who create new and better products and devise better ways to make and distribute them.

Recruiting well-educated, responsible, and skilled people is a good starting point for creating a productive workforce. But, how employees are trained, organized, and motivated ultimately determines the success of the company.

10.2, Job design

A job can be defined as the set of tasks and responsibilities of a workers. These tasks and responsibilities, along with performance expectations, work conditions (time and place of work), general skills, and possibly methods to be used, are normally contained in a written job description.

A central aspect of job design is to define the tasks the employee is supposed to do-the job content. Simple job content such as folding boxes can be listed clearly. More complex job such as executive assistant or project manager, encompass a much wider range of tasks, many of which are performed infrequently, and some of the tasks cannot be described ahead of time. In fact, some jobs deal with solving problems that arise unexpectedly and are not secifically assined to anyone. In these cases, the job content has to be defined more in terms of general problem areas, skill areas, or responsibilities than in specific task descriptions.

Scientific management school just treats people as machine who is driven by money without considering their boredom and motivation advocated by Frederic Taylor. Their performance are improved by training and skills. Behavior (Psychological) school has shown that the quality and quantity of work performed are affected by psychological and organizational factors, such as how interesting the work is, how much control the worker has over the job, and how workers interact with coworkers. We must combine two schools to develop effecient work methods and exploit specialization of repetitive tasks while providing workers with variety, control over their work, and a satisfying work enviroment. The goal has been to reduce the layers of management, move decision making down to first-line workers, and utilize the capabilities of workers more fully, thereby making their jobs more interesting while increasing their contribution to the production process.

Job enlargement is a horizontal expansion of job tasks having a worker do several tasks at a work station rather than only one or two. In a bank, it might mean training a person to write home loans, car loans, and installment loans rather than only one of these.

Job enrichment involves vertical expansion of a job's responsibilities and skills to include the design of the product or production process, is responsible for her own quality testing, handles customer complaints etc. Some companies even sends assembly line workers to visit customers and dealers to advise them on using their products and to get advice on how to improve product quality. It is an integral component of so called Japanese or lean production systems and of total quality management to let the wokers be the real owner to contribute more.

Job Rotation can make the desirable and undesirable jobs are equally shared without being boring. Some rotates every 2 hours, but simply rotating among several undesirable jobs is not always beneficial.

An essential part of job rotation is cross-training of wokers. Some companies even eliminated the need for almost all supervision; there is only one supervisor for every 60 line workers.Operators are trained on several machines so that they can be moved around easily if one worker is sick, and they are trained in maintenance so that when a machine breaks down, they do not have to wait for a separate maintenance crew to repair it.

Although there is evidence that job enlargement, job enrichment, and job rotation improve productivity, product quality, and worker satisfaction, it is important to recoganize that some workers prefer specialized, low responsibility jobs, they simply work to earn a living. How or if these people should be incorporated into a production system remains an open question.

Traditional quality department work continues to be transferred to operators called TQM which is one job enrichment. One advantage people have over machine have over machines is their ability to perceive complex patters, learn from experience, and think. This ability makes workers a primary source of ideas for improving the production process. For example, Jerry McCoy, a worker at General motors, has had over 75 of his suggestions for improving GM's products and processes implemented. Periodical review, autonomous work teams, quality circles, suggestion boxes and so one are now the sources of improvement suggestions.

Automation sometimes is a good improvement of human-machine interface in which it may impede productivity addressed by GE vice president Gary Reiner. Only people can summarize the experiences to improve. Some company even removed installed expensive and complex devices to assure the flexibility and JIT in which simplicity is the goal of TQM.

10.3, Methods analysis and improvement

Specifying the tasks and responsibilities of a job is only the first step in the job design process. The next step is to determine how to perform the tasks, that is, determine the best work methods to use when performing the job. Included in the search for the best work methods are the most effecient physical movements of worker, the best sequence in which to perform movements or tasks, and the best way to coordinate the worker's actions with those of machines and other workers.

Identifying and implementing good work methods means doing the following:

1. Observing work and measuring its efficiency.

2. Analyzing existing work methods.

3. Applying good work methods principles.

4. Instituting and utilizing work aids and good ergonomic design.

5. Training employees.

An analytical approach to deciding what tasks should be done and how they should be done is method analysis which relys on data collection, visual aids and charts, and analytic procedures to help understand and improve work methods. The ultimate purpose is to simplify the process improving efficiency in which system and system analysis is the key using process flow diagram showing the step-by-step sewuence of the process and the corresponding movement of materials, people, or information and using process chart giving more detailed breakdown of the process into tasks which classifying each activity as being either a processing operation, movement, inspection, delay, or storage.

These documents can be used to perform a question-based analysis whereby, for each activity or movement, we ask the following questions:

1. What is being done and why? Could the task be eliminated, and what would happen if it were? Could it be combined with another task?

2. When in the process is the task being done? Must it be done at this time or is there flexibility in its sequencing or timing?

3. Where is the task done? Could it be done elsewhere, and would there be any benefit in doing it elsewhere?

4, How is the task done? Why is it done this way? Could it be done another way or automated? Are there changes in equipment, tools, or methods that make it easier to do?

5. Who does the task? Could someone else do it, especially as part of another job? Does the person doing it have the correct skills? Should it be done by someone of higher or lower skill?

It is a process improvement method. Process design focuses on product flow, and work analysis concentrates on the activities to be formed. In some cases, these analyses should be done together. Most methods analysis and job design focus on the individual worker and the tasks he or she performs. Frederick Taylor observes and study the most productive workers to get the best and simplest methods. Frank and Lillian Gilbreth analyzed each fundamental motion and action to identify the best way using filming, analying and timing the motions frame by frame called mico-mottion analysis.

The best basic movements can then be synthesized into an overall work method or procedure. This process is usually aided by using a Simo (Simultaneous motion) chart recording the movements and time of both hands separately. Worker machine chart and team-activity chart

When desin a job, some principles can imrove the result such as 1. coprocessing or parallel processing in which we can combine active phase such as cutting hair and passive phase such as weighing the packages when the filler is running. 2. Back-Hauling to avoid movements with empty hands. 3. Designing Human activities to be compatible with the human body to improve productivity and reduce fatigue. 4. Listen to workers to improve the job design continuously. 5. Work aids and ergonomics to configure the work area, design tools and use aids to reduce effort.6. Poka-Yoke: mistake-proofing such as use color band on the guage to display the abnormality. 7, Training especially in low production season which is an investment imroving productivity 50% and reducing materials costs 50%.

Four uses for standard time data and work standards: