How to do Time Study for Garment Operations?

Definition of Time Study

Time study is a method of measuring work for recording the times of performing a certain specific task or its elements carried out under specified conditions. An operator does the same operation (task) throughout the day. Time study helps to define how much time is necessary for an operator to carry out the task at a defined rate of performance.

Time Study Tools 

To do time study you need to arrange the following tools
  • A stopwatch
  • Time study format
  • One pen or pencil
  • Time Study board

How to Conduct Time Study?

An operation cycle consists of material handling, positioning and aligning parts, sewing garment parts, trimming threads and tying and untying a bundle. So in the time study format, divide whole task into various elements according to the motion sequences of the operation. For example, in operation ‘collar run stitch’, task elements may be
i) pick up panel to sew first seam,
ii) turn collar to sew second seam,
iii) turn collar to sew third seam
iv) check work and dispose and
v) waiting for next pieces.
In this article, I will show you filled time study format for Collar run stitch. I did this study during my internship at Texport Syndicate.

Step 1: Preparation

  • Arrange stationery like time study format, stopwatch (digital one) and pencil
  • Select one operation for Time study
  • Tell the operator that you are going measure time he/she taking to do the job.
  • Observe the operation carefully and break down each operation into elements.
  • Fill the basic information in the time study format. Like machine category, guide or attachment used.
Step 2: Record Time
Now measure the time taken for completing each element of the operation cycle by the operator. Time should be captured in seconds. Similarly, capture element timing for consecutive 5 operation cycles. During data capturing only note down reading (see following Table-1) of the stopwatch and later calculate element timing. If you found any abnormal time in any elements record time during time study and later discard that reading. Or you can capture time for one more cycle (10 operation cycles).
Abnormal time may be occurred due to bobbin change, thread break, power cut or quality issues. Ignore those from the calculation of standard time.

Table-1: Time Study sheet

Step 3: Calculation of Basic Time
From the Reading (R) calculate time taken for each element for all five cycles just by deducting previous Reading from elemental reading. Sum up times of five cycles for each element. Note, if you discard any reading than in that case no. of cycles will be four. Calculate average element times. This average time is called basic time. (in the following Table-2 it is noted as average time)


Table-2: Time Study sheet with calculation

Step 4: Calculation of Standard Time
To convert basic time (cycle time) into normal time you have to multiply it with operator performance rating. Here for calculation rating is considered as 100%. So, Cycle time and normal is same in this example. 

Add allowances to normal time (machine allowances, fatigue and personal needs etc). Add machine allowance only to those elements where machine is running and fatigue and personal needs to all elements (approx 20%). machine allowances are shown in the time study sheet. (I have used these allowance percentage as seen seniors to use them. I don't know the source of these allowance)

The calculated time (Normal time + Allowance time) is standard time for each element in seconds. Sum up all elemental time and convert seconds into minutes. This is standard minutes or SAM (Standard Allowed Minute). 

Also Read: How to Calculate SAM for a Garment?

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