The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 6, Issue 8 (April 1, 1932.)
Importance of Efficiency
“I am convinced that our problem to-day is bound up in that word ‘Efficiency.’ We are faced with an economic position which demands efficiency in the highest degree,”—Mr. E. T. Spidy.
In these days of keen competition, the importance of efficiency in relation to the improvement of the standard of our railway operations, assumes a special significance. The maintenance of our safety record and our reputation for economy, output, devotion to duty and service to the public, hinges vitally upon the degree of personal efficiency displayed by each and every member of the service.
How well we carry out our duties, compared with how well they might be carried out, is the measure of our individual efficiency.
“What is my personal efficiency?” This is a difficult question to answer, for the reason that there is lacking a definite standard with which to make a comparison of individual efforts and achievements.
If you would take the trouble to get an idea of your efficiency—on the basis of your present ability—there is an easy way to find it out. As an example, just take some regular or defined operation that is part of your duties, and take the time actually required by yourself to do the operation once when putting your best into it. Check it as often as you like from start to finish so that you are satisfied that the time is right.
The next thing to find out is the average time you take day in and day out on this operation, between the starting and finishing time of your shift. With a little care you can arrive at this, and an allowance of 5 per cent, should be deducted from the result for time lost for all reasonable purposes before comparing the time with your best performance time. By dividing your best performance time with your regular actual performance time, and multiplying the answer by 100, you will have an efficiency percentage which is the measure of your performance on the basis of your own ability. It will likely prove very interesting.
Of course, the real way to determine efficiency is to have a detailed time study made of the operation, wherein each detail of the operation is set down against the time each takes. Details can be readily standardised for measurement purposes, and analysed in regard to the factors of the materials themselves. These are important, as variations therein are usually beyond the power of the worker to circumvent. Such analyses reveal excess materials, hard materials, undue intricacies of the work, inefficient tooling, and so on.
When time studies are made, and the various factors causing excess time are eliminated, we often arrive at an efficiency rating which, when effected, reduces the cost of the operation by an amount previously considered impossible. And this is what we must aim at if we are to continue to exist.
There have been objections urged against time study methods which may or may not have been reasonable years ago. Whether the objections are valid depends on the use (reasonable or otherwise) made of such analyses. However, modern business practice calls for such information in order to meet present competitive conditions.
The fact that our competitors have such information of their processes is another reason why we should possess it. We have to get costs down, and the determination of the individual efficiency by time study methods is a concrete method of knowing where we are.
I am convinced that our problem to-day is bound up in that word “Efficiency.” We are faced with an economic position which demands efficiency in the highest degree.page break
advantages of rail travel in new zealand.
(Rly. Publicity photos.)
Interiors of the “ordinary” (above) and “de Luxe” (below) sleeping cars in use on the “Limited” expresses in the North Island. The needs of passengers are catered for throughout the journey by the sleeping-car attendants in charge of these cars.