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Predetermined (Calculated) Time Standards - Which is right for you?

Proplanner supports the majority of the popular predetermined time standards in use today.  Often, companies have already selected their standards and have a long history of use with lots of legacy data.  Read on if you are new to using predetermined time studies, or are interested to see if your current methods are appropriate for what you are doing.

There are three concurrent ways to specify process time for an Activity in Proplanner (Estimated, Predetermined and Observed).  

  • Estimated is typically used when importing a time value or perhaps even guessing at a time value, when you have no justification (documentation) of how that time was derived.  

  • Observed times can be generated while watching the task live or while time stamping a video taken of the process.  This works great if you can get multiple observations of the task and you are watching and experienced and capable worker and if you are good at estimating their work rate (pace) relative to what is considered to be an industry standard. 

  • Predetermined is best when you have not yet performed the task (perhaps the product is still being designed), no experienced or capable worker exists, you are proposing a new process/tool which does not exist, or if you want an independent evaluation of the standard time to perform the task efficiently (often called a synthetic performance rating).

As such, given that some Activities in your organization are mature and others are new, it is common for companies to have Routings containing Activities which contain one or multiple different types of time values (Estimated/Observed and Calculated).  It is because of this situation that Proplanner allows the engineer to select a preferred list of time value types.

Speed vs Accuracy is really the big issue when selecting a time study system.  Some time standard systems, such as MTM-1, are very accurate but take the longest time to learn and use, while MTM-B or MaxiMost are the easiest and quickest to use but far less accurate.  Luckily, it isn’t as important to be accurate to 1 TMU (0.036 seconds) [TMU stands for Time Motion Unit] as defined in MTM-1 when you are estimating a 40 minute Activity that could be performed twice a year.

MTM-1 is applicable when the typical Activity being studied is under one minute (perhaps even under 30 seconds).   This standard also implies that the task is repeated often and thus expert skill can be achieved.  MTM-1 does an excellent job of evaluating micro-motions of fingers and simultaneous motion tasks between the fingers and hands where cognitive capabilities have a substantial impact.  Unfortunately, MTM-1 is very complex to learn and use (correctly at least) and it can take up to 10 to 20 minutes to properly code and evaluate a 1 minute task.  Very accurate times can be created with MTM-1 and very detailed process options can be effectively compared.  Mini-Most is also a standard used for these very short times.  Mini-Most is easier to learn and apply than MTM-1 but not as detailed or accurate.

On the other hand, MTM-MEK, MTM-B(not commonly supported by the MTM Association) or Maxi-Most  are designed for very long cycle time jobs which can which take hours and days and contain activities that can take 20 to 30 minutes up to several hours and which are not repeated often.   These long-cycle time languages are very quick to learn and apply, but have questionable accuracy on a specific job, yet good accuracy on an overall set of jobs (since the high-level times for an Activity are a mid-point average value).  MTM-B is unique in that it is a parenthetical language whereby certain keywords used in describing a task (i.e. in a work instruction) are parsed to estimate the time to perform the work.  As such, MTM-B can concurrently be used for documentation and time estimation.

Most work tasks fall into the 1 to 10 minute time range, and for those tasks we have MTM-UAS, MTM-2, Modapts and BasicMost.   These very common predetermined time systems are all very comparable in terms of accuracy and startup time.  MOST and MTM are coded languages with a common origin, whereby Modapts is a more anthropometrically oriented language whereby the “actions” are represented by the largest body part required to move. 

MTM, MOST and Modapts all have strong support from a standards organizations with training and consulting available.  Proplanner works with these organizations to ensure that our implementation of each standard is up to date with the latest rules, yet we also allow companies to modify some of these rules and extend the command set in each language to better fit their needs. 

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