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Methods, Planning, and Work Measurement (MP&WM) is the design of work performance on the factory floor to optimize output of the product. The function of methods engineering is to convert broad-based methods or procedures into detailed, easy to follow plans for the workstation operator. These plans must be detailed enough to specify the tools to be used, the materials to be used, the sequence of events, and even the time to complete each event.
The MP&WM unit consists of methods engineers, planning specialists, and time standard analysts. Methods engineers create the broad-based sequence for producing the part. The planning specialists then create the detailed instruction sheet from which the operator will do the work. The time standard analysts work with the method sheets to determine the time it should take to perform each operation. This involves study of the task to be performed at the workstations to determine what the optimum body movements, in accordance with the Principles of Motion Economy, should be to minimize the time and effort required. Finally, the MP&WM unit will have methods engineers who are totally involved in measuring the performance of the factory against objectively set standards. For an MP&WM unit to work effectively, smooth transitions must be made from phase to phase in this sequence from broad-based to particular. How these transitions are made and how the disciplines work with each other to produce manufacturing instructions for shop operations are the subjects of this chapter.