30 Nov

I am fascinated by different methods of utilizing time and becoming more productive (Taylorism)

A famous “time and motion experiment” involved bricklaying took place in the 1920’s. Through carefully scrutinizing a bricklayer’s job, the number of motions in laying a brick went from 18 to 5. Hence the bricklayer both increased productivity and decreased fatigue.

Delegation is another way of increasing productivity. Saying no to procrastination is another. I am thinking about all these things as another project is falling in my direction.


4 Responses to “Taylorism”

  1. Emma Rogan December 17, 2009 at 2:18 am #

    I worked with a wooden door making company based outside Wellington, on their rebranding project a few years ago. This company was very committed to reducing waste and getting the most out of the raw materials – and in doing so, becoming more clean and green in their practices.
    To discover how many solid wood doors the factory could get out of any given large portion of wood, the production manager would give the task to the ‘laziest’ guy. Over decades of managing people, the production manager knew that the laziest person was the most likely to succeed in quickly discovering the most efficient way of cutting up the wood to get the most doors, and (as creating waste also created work) with the least rubbish/waste materials as a result.

    • geofftalbot December 17, 2009 at 8:57 am #

      That is an awesome story Emma…. do you mind if I steal it some time?

      • Emma Rogan December 18, 2009 at 2:59 am #

        Sure thing – go for it 🙂

  2. JC Gatlin December 15, 2009 at 3:16 pm #

    Taylorism is still applied in many organizations today but its foundation is “every action of the worker is pre-planned and directed by the manager.” Workers or “directed labor” are there as human machines, paid to do and not to think. Any production line worker can tell you what a soul-destroying and inefficient way of working that is. Although it can increases productivity like you’re suggesting, this production system is not surviving against later competition from Japanese manufacturing.
    You may want to research lean and PDCA — which is about eliminating waste and non-value added steps from a process (which is what eliminating 13 steps from the brick layers job probably did) with respect to those closest to the production line.

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