Making Hotplates Essay
A group of 10 workers were responsible for assembling hotplates. The employees were all placed on an assembly line. An assembly line is standardized layouts arranged according to a fixed sequence of assembly tasks (Stevenson, 2011). The assembly line was balanced by industrial engineers. Line balancing is the process of assigning tasks to workstations in such a way that the workstations have approximately equal time requirements (Stevenson, 2011). A time and motion study was used to break down the jobs. Each subassembly tasks required about three minutes to accomplish. The tasks were balanced in order for the workers to use the same amount of time to perform their tasks. . While the hotplates were assembled, there was an increase in productivity due to changes in the operation. Productivity is a measure of the effective use of resources usually expressed as the ration of output to input (Stevenson, 2011). The changes that were made were each employee began assembling their own hotplates individually. This may have required process layouts which are layouts that can handle varied processing requirements (Stevenson, 2011).
This was a risk with uncertainty but this method caused a rapid increase in productivity that leveled off by the end of the year at an amazing 84 percent higher than in the previous half year. What may have affected the increase is that as a worker performs a task often, they get better at it and require less time. This means that there is a strong possibility that some workers did not need an entire 3 minutes to complete their part of the job. Giving those workers 3 minutes to perform their task that may have taken less time means a constraint or drop in productivity because they would have to wait in order to continue. By allowing the workers to do more than just one task may have taken out the boredom of performing one task all day.
There was also a drop in absenteeism and an increase in moral. This was due to the increase in satisfaction that the workers had gain with the new method. The value of the job had increased which probably affected their personal worth to their job. The workers were able to complete an entire hotplate themselves and be proud of doing the job by themselves and feeling good knowing that they were the cause of product put together the right way. This caused more happiness. While performing their duties, they may have formed an inner competitiveness with their fellow coworkers. This would make them want to complete more hotplates than the next employee. Not only would they want to complete the hotplate but they would also want to do it right so that it will not become a reject. There were major changes in the situation. Some changes were under the control of the manager. Some changes were controlled by workers. There were changes in employee training and changes in personal responsibility for the success of building the hot plates. Management probably used a precedence diagram which is a diagram that shows elemental tasks and their precedence requirements (Stevenson, 2011).
Management had to make sure that the employees were trained on every aspect of building the hotplates. They had to make sure they were trained properly in order for there to be a success at. The workers were responsible for learning how to make the plates. They were also responsible for trying to make the new plan a success. The workers were able to control the amount of rejects. The workers were able to minimize rejects because they were more focused on their task. The workers were also responsible for the possibility of making sure the changes in the company were permanent. The workers were also responsible for the increase in output. The workers also began inspecting the hotplates themselves so they became responsible for making sure they were put together properly. If the workers would have gone back to the old assembly line method they most likely would have lost their morale and absenteeism would have become even greater than before.
The workers would have felt like they were disrespected and the ownership that they felt would have gone. They would feel no reason to stay motivated and in competition with other employees. They would most likely not do their best when performing their tasks. The output would have dropped drastically. The organization would most likely have to call industrial engineers to perform another motion study to break the job down into subassembly tasks. The company would have to redo their design capacity because the output rate will change. I believe the time would increase from 3 minutes to 4 or more. There would be an increase in the amount of rejects.
Stevenson, W. J. (2011). Operations Management (11th ed). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill/Irwin.