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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 5, Issue 1 (May 1, 1930)

The Timing of Operations

The Timing of Operations.

The first essential is the shop lay-out. This has been treated in detail in previous articles, and a passing word only is necessary. There must be continual progression in a forward direction. It is wasteful, economically unsound, and liable to increase “overhead” if this lay-out is not made. Within the shop itself, provided the machinery is properly set out for economic routing of jobs, each operation should be “timed.” If the best workman is taken the time may be too short for the average workman, or conversely, the average workman may be “rushed.” Larger jobs may be reckoned in some other unit, say an hour. A day as a unit is too loose for scientific purposes, besides which, one cannot be certain that a “day” has the same meaning to all concerned, and science abhors what cannot be “pinned down.”

As each part of the job is “clocked,” a “sum-total” time can be reached for the complete production of one or fifty articles. But is should not be merely noted. Definite permanent graphs should be made up for each type of work undertaken. This is necessary, for two reasons. The first is because “repeat” orders of standard lines can be worked out upon a definite “time” basis, and the second is that given “time” cost, “overhead,” and “initial material” cost, the factory cost, with a safe margin of profit, can be checked out in a few minutes. As a matter of fact I heard one manager give a definite price within page 35 three minutes over the telephone. But he had his production sheets in a drawer, together with relevant cost details, taken out separately and completely. There is the additional convenience too, that the production can be checked off at any one stage by reference to detail sheets. These are general facts which we shall now examine in detail.