MOTION STUDY - Production and Operations Management

Motion study in Production Management

Motion study is part of method study where analysis of the motion of an operator or work will be studied by following the prescribed methods.

Principles of Motion study
There are a number of principles concerning the economy of movements which have been developed as a result of experience and which forms the basis for the development of improved methods at the workplace. These are first used by Frank Gilbreth, the founder of motion study and further rearranged and amplified by Barnes, Maynard and others. The principles are grouped into three headings:

  1. Use of the human body.
  2. Arrangement of workplace.
  3. Design of tools and equipment.

When possible:

  1. The two hands should begin and complete their movements at the same time.
  2. The two hands should not be idle at the same time except during periods of rest.
  3. Motions of the arms should be made simultaneously.
  4. Hand and body motions should be made at the lowest classification at which it is possible to do the work satisfactorily.
  5. Momentum should be employed to help the worker, but should be reduced to a minimum whenever it has to be overcome by muscular effort.
  6. Continuous curved movements are to be preferred to straight line motions involving sudden and changes in directions.
  7. ‘Ballistic’ (i.e., free swinging) movements are faster, easier and more accurate than restricted or controlled movements.
  8. Rhythm is essential to the smooth and automatic performance of a repetitive operation. The work should be arranged to permit easy and natural rhythm wherever possible.
  9. Work should be arranged so that eye movements are confined to a comfortable area, without the need for frequent changes of focus.


  1. Definite and fixed stations should be provided for all tools and materials to permit habit formation.
  2. Tools and materials should be pre-positioned to reduce searching.
  3. Gravity fed, bins and containers should be used to deliver the materials as close to the point of use as possible.
  4. Tools, materials and controls should be located within a maximum working area and as near to the worker as possible.
  5. Materials and tools should be arranged to permit the best sequence of motions.
  6. ‘Drop deliveries’ or ejectors should be used wherever possible, so that the operative does not have to use his hands to dispose of finished parts.
  7. Provision should be made for adequate lightning, and a chair of type and height to permit good posture should be provided. The height of the workplace and seat should be arranged to allow alternate standing and seating.


  1. The color of the workplace should contrast with that of work and thus reduce eye fatigue.
  2. The hands should be relieved of all work of ‘holding’ the work piece where this can be done by a jig or fixture or foot operated device.
  3. Two or more tools should be combined where possible.
  4. Where each finger performs some specific movement, as in typewriting, the load should be distributed in accordance with the inherent capacities of the fingers.
  5. Handles such as those used on screw drivers and cranks should be designed to permit maximum surface of the hand to come in contact with the handle.
  6. Levers, cross bars and wheel bars should be in such position that operator can manipulate them with least body change and with greatest mechanical advantage.

Recording Techniques of Motion Study
Most of the techniques mentioned in method study is used in the motion study. They are as follows:

Macro Motion Study

  1. Flow process chart
  2. Two handed process chart.

Micro Motion Study
SIMO chart.

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Production and Operations Management Topics