Job Design Techniques
Operating managers have to plan and organize production processes and systems, acquire resources for running the systems and produce using the systems. Human resources is an important component of resources to be acquired by an operations managers. For each person, a job needs to be designed so that operators and employees can be effective and efficient. Effectiveness means operators produce the required feature of the product or service with the specified process satisfying the specifications of the output. Efficiency refers to the resources consumed by the operator including his own time and rework done and items scrapped. Industrial engineering has special focus on efficiency dimension. Each process designed must be tested by operations managers to make sure it produces the required feature of product or service.
An operations manager uses job design techniques to structure work to meet the physical and behavioral needs of the employee. Organization management principles are used to come out with various jobs in an organization. Industrial engineering techniques like motion study, work station design and ergonomics help in developing the most efficient method at a point time. Work measurement methods are used to determine the standard time for performing a given task. . Work performance standards are important to the workplace so that accomplishments can be measured and evaluated. Also, standard time estimates permit better planning and costing and provide a basis for compensating the work force and even providing incentives.
Trends in production job design include quality and maintenance of the equipment as part of the worker's job. Today many workers are cross-trained to perform multiskilled jobs and total quality programs are important for all employees. Team approaches, informating, use of temporary workers, automation, and organizational commitment are other key issues in job design decisions.
Behavioral considerations in job design include how specialized a job will be. Specialization has unique advantages and disadvantages. At the other extreme from specialization are the concepts of job enlargement and job enrichment. Sociotechnical systems of the interaction between technology and the work group influence job design as do ergonomic or physical consideration.
Work methods determine how the work should be accomplished in organizations. Methods efficiency engineering or method study is the classical IE tool for this purpose. Inspection methods and maintenance methods can be also be analyzed using methods study. Work methods can be established for an overall productive system, a worker alone, a worker interacting with equipment, and a worker interacting with other individuals. When individual workers are considered, motion study becomes the technique.
Work measurement and standards exist to set time standards for a job. A basic technique used in work measurement is the stop watch time study. Now comprehensive predetermined motion time systems are available to set standards based on process plans. Time studies can be done for production jobs or for nursing jobs. Work sampling is a work measurement technique using samples instead of full time time study.
Another issue in job design is the financial incentive plan. These plans determine how workers should be compensated for their differences in production output over long periods of time. Persons who are consistently producing more output for number of days expect more compensation. In preparing a financial incentive plan, management must consider individual, group, and organization wide rewards.
Once a job is designed operators have to be trained in it. Each manager is a teacher or a trainer. Right from the first-line supervisor or foreman to the CEO have to act as teachers or trainers when the occasion demands. Improvement in both effectiveness and efficiency demand involvement of operations managers as teachers, trainers and coaches.
Topics covered in the Note
Job Design Decisions
Job Design Defined
Behavioral Considerations in Job Design
Degree of Labor Specialization
Specialization of Labor Defined
Job Enrichment Defined
Sociotechnical Systems Defined
Physical Considerations in Job Design
Work Physiology Defined
A Production Process
Workers at a Fixed Workplace
Workers Interacting with Equipment
Workers Interacting with Other Workers
Work Measurements and Standards
Work Measurement Techniques
Work Measurement Defined
Work Sampling Compared to Time Study
Time Study Defined
Predetermined Motion Time Data Systems Defined
Elemental Data Defined
Normal Time Defined
Standard Time Defined
Work Sampling Defined
Financial Incentive Plans
Basic Compensation Systems
Individual and Small-Group Incentive Plans
Case: Jeans Therapy—Levi's Factory Workers Are Assigned to Teams, and Morale Takes A Hit
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