• Productivity Solutions Limited | PO Box 2133 | Stoke-on-Trent | ST3 4WP
  • Tel: 07957 466027
  • Emails: enquiries@psleurope.com


What is Time & Motion?

In simple terms, Time & Motion, is a business efficiency technique which looks at developing methods and times for tasks and processes.  The value of organisations realising consistent times is that it allows a true insight into how long each task/ process takes in your operation.

The two major benefits of Time & Motion are:

– It can help to identify potential flaws in a process;
– If an organisation wishes to fulfill an order/ complete a task, they will know a precise time for how long it should take.

What is Industrial Engineering?

Often known as Work Study, O&M, Management Services, it is concerned with the design, improvement and installation of integrated systems of People, Equipment, Energy & Materials.

There are a number of techniques available to the qualified Industrial Engineer, including Direct Observational Time Study (DOTS), Rated Activity Sampling (RAS) and Predetermined Motion Time Systems (PMTS). Many of the skills and techniques used here are similar/ mirror those used in Lean and 6 Sigma.

What is a Direct Observational Time Study (DOTS)?

A Direct Observational Time Study is a study of the processes that an organisation undertakes. This can be anything from simple scanning at a checkout to building a complicated product. It can be as complex, or as simple, as you like.

During a DOTS, as it is totally process based, the speed of the operator carrying out the task can vary, often dependent on experience & training. However, to standardise the amount of time each process takes, so that a true reflection of the study is gained, a performance pace rating is applied. In order to make sure that the performance rating is correct, our analysts attend and have to pass regular Pace Rating Clinics.

The beauty of a DOTS, as with all Industrial Engineering techniques, is that it can be applied to any process that you may wish to study.

What is a Day in the Life of study (DILO)?

A Day in the Life of study is essentially what you’d imagine it to be.

One of our productivity specialists will carry out a Direct Observational Time Study (DOTS) on one member of staff for the duration of their day/shift. This is also known as a Production Study.

A DILO is often carried out on a member of the management team and may be used to determine Standards, evaluate Value Analysis, Efficiency and even to investigate what tasks people are completing, against what they should be doing and what may be delegated to others.

A DILO is a highly accurate version of a day diary with the added advantage of being able to accurately time stamp tasks or processes of interest.

What is a Rated Activity Sample (RAS)?

A Rated Activity Sample, sometimes referred to as a work sample, is a means of determining the proportion of time workers spend doing tasks and can help regulate staffing levels and/or customer/product flow.

A RAS will usually be carried out throughout a working day, inputting the tasks that are being carried out by each member of staff at regular intervals, typically, every 5 or 10 minutes.

The tasks carried out are normally split into 3 distinct areas for closer examination; this process is referred to as Value Analysis.

What is Value Analysis (VA)?

Value Added: A task that adds value to your organisation, for example, building a product or interacting with a customer – Value Added improvements are generally long term requiring process change and/or capital investment.

Essential Non-Value Added: Often perceived as unavoidable, but necessary, tasks that are carried out. This can include completing paperwork, replenishing stock or gathering parts. Improvements here tend to be medium term, medium cost.

Non-Value Added: Tasks that add no value to your organisation, such as downtime between tasks or waiting at a till when there are no customers. Opportunities here are usually at zero or minimal cost.

What are Predetermined Motion Time Systems (PMTS)?

The International Labour Office – (ILO) defines PMTS as: “Advanced techniques which aim at defining the time needed for the performance of various operations by derivation from
pre-set standards of time for various motions and not by direct observation and measurement”

Basically: PMTS is the application of pre-determined times to all basic movements carried out by a person in order to perform a task/ set of tasks.

PMTS are extremely valuable in Work Measurement, but it is more correct to define them more broadly as techniques of Methods Engineering, since it is in the inherent relationship which they specify between Method and Time that they are most valuable.

What are Lean and 6 Sigma?

Lean is the current buzzword, it is what every organisation strives for. We won’t try to overburden you with too much information, but in simple terms, it means removing the seven kinds of Muda (waste) from a process.

In short, Lean exposes sources of process variation and Six Sigma aims to reduce that variation; enabling a virtuous cycle of improvements towards the goal of continuous flow.

Lean Six Sigma uses the DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyse, Improve and Control) phases, similar to that of Six Sigma.

Lean Six Sigma projects comprise aspects of Lean’s waste elimination and the Six Sigma focus on reducing defects, based on critical to quality characteristics.


  • LEAN
    The Aim is to maximize customer value while minimising waste
  • One Piece Flow
    Completing a single complete item through a production unit/cell
  • Value Steam Mapping
    Visual Aid Exercise to help improve processes and remove waste
  • Poka-Yoke (Mistake Proofing)
    Mistake-Proofing or inadvertent error prevention
  • Yamazumi (Line Balancing)
    Visual Aid Exercise to help Balance Workload & Remove Waste
  • TPM (Reliable Equip)
    No Breakdowns, No Small Stops or Slow Running, No Defects
  • Level Mix Vol. Prod.
    The process of smoothing production to enable an even spread
  • Standard Work
    Detailed definition of the most efficient method to produce a product, defining each process
  • Kanban Demand Pull
    Signboard or visual aid for scheduling / controlling J.I.T Inventory
  • SMED
    Single-Minute Exchange of Die achieving Quicker Changeover for Machines and/ or processes/ products
  • 5S Visual Aids
    Boards and Notices that Aid Simple 5S management
  • FMEA
    Failure mode and effects analysis are systematic techniques for failure analysis with one objective of removing loss and defects
  • Point of Use Storage
    POUS - Right material in the right place at the right time
  • Industrial Engineer
    A Person who uses the mathematical and social sciences to quantify and help deliver improvements and remove waste


An Ancedotal is a summary of observations, notes and thoughts provided by our experienced colleagues as part of the measurement process. It will invariably contain excellent zero or low cost productivity gains which will help to contribute to the cost of the project.

What Training do we offer?

PSL offer a number of different training courses designed to help people from a range of backgrounds, from those just starting out as Industrial Engineers to experienced professionals who just need a refresher. Here are just some that we deliver…

Work Quantification – A 5 Day, practical course, designed to enable attendees to accurately determine the times required to carry out tasks and processes at a defined rate of work. This course includes Time Studies, Rated Activity Sampling and Pace Rating skills.

Process Analysis – A 5 Day course designed to teach Problem Solving, Charting, Recording and Basic Lean Techniques. This course is designed for delegates wishing to become Industrial

Pace Rating Clinic – A Pace Rating Clinic is top up course for those already qualified. It is a certificate required yearly for those who wish to carry out an accurate work study. The clinic tests the participants’ ability to identify the correct performance rating from specially selected footage. Once passed, the participant will receive a widely recognised certificate which shows tangible evidence for any future employer.

Productivity Awareness – These courses are provided for people interested in the subject, but do not intend to become professional Industrial Engineers and range from A Half Day Appreciation through to a 3 Day Insight.

Other courses are offered through our partners, these include:

MTM training – http://www.ukmtm.co.uk/
Lean Six Sigma training – https://www.claudius-consulting.co.uk/

What is SmartTime & can it be bought or hired?

Available in 3 modules:

Predetermined Motion Time Systems (PMTS), Direct Observational Time Study (DOTS) and Rated Activity Sampling (RAS); SmartTime allows the user to move away from the primitive stopwatch and paper to a highly advanced, yet user friendly, programme for carrying out work studies.

Just some of the benefits of using SmartTime include:
– Any Data Card that the practitioner is qualified to use may be integrated.
– Analysis is fast, fully auditable, codes are assigned, yet descriptions can be edited; so that written work instructions can be developed in conjunction with methods and times.
– Data blocks can be stored – to save time and reduce the analysis required.

– Element Descriptions can be edited, copied, shared and seen whilst studying and with simple & easy input, reduced observation input time and analysis time are assured.
– There is no limit to the number of Elements, Operators or Areas.
– Value Analysis can be determined in advance or post observations and can be easily re- assigned.
– Standardisation between observers is improved.
– Direct download to Excel allows the user to quickly and easily edit studies, to share information across standard platforms and to implement multi- layer analysis.

The SmartTime modules come with a free tutorials & a failsafe instruction manual.


In simple terms, it is the “should take time”, which is achievable and sustainable when the method is maintained.

What is Lean Industrial Engineering?

It is the utilising of all of the skills from the Lean and Industrial Engineering toolboxes.


Simply put, Workforce Management.


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