Generally speaking the simpler a task is then the safer the task will be, the more likely it will be done accurately (giving quality) and the quicker it can be done (giving productivity).
Job Methods (JM) is a practical method to help the leader come up with ways to produce greater quantities of quality products in less time by making the best use of the manpower, machines and materials now available. It requires leaders use their minds to challenge the way things are now done.
“There is no greater waste than doing very well that which should not be done at all.”Peter Drucker
It is perhaps interesting to note what gave rise to JM. Up to the early 1940’s increased production was commonly achieved by increasing the number of people employed. This works if there are sufficient willing people (which there was), and if labour costs are disregarded. But, due to WWII, workers became scarce. Therefore ways of making more effective use of people and machines now available became a priority.Source: Job Methods Training Follow Up, RD Mansfield
Necessity is the mother of all invention …
From the same source (RD Mansfield) the following benefits were noted:
- JM will catch the hundreds of little improvements that may not be identified by specialist people.
- JM is a morale builder. The leader has a tool that they can use as opposed to telling the leader how their work area can be improved.
- JM requires the leader to use their minds proactively as opposed to coming up with reasons why that won’t work.
- JM develops a questioning mindset in leaders.
The robustness of JM, just like the other J skills, comes partly from its foundation being Plan-Do-Check-Act.
Just like the other J skills JM has four steps.
After determining the scope of the work to focus on we:
- Break down the job.
- Question every detail.
- Develop the new method.
- Apply the new method.
In step 1 all details of the job are listed exactly as per the current way. Included are such aspects as distances moved and time taken. It is amazing how much is learnt from simply doing step 1.
RD Mansfield’s observation on the previous page comes from step 2. In questioning every detail broadly there are six questions asked in order – why, what, where, when, who and how. Asking ‘who’ and ‘how’ last keeps us from falling into the ‘Peter Drucker’ trap – improving something that is best not done at all.
Step 3 takes the ideas generated from the questions in step 2 and through eliminating, combining, rearranging and simplifying, a new way of doing the job is proposed.
Lastly, step 4 includes the approval to proceed from management plus, in advance, telling the people who do the work of the changes and most importantly the reasons why.
JM is not intended to be done by the Leader alone. They lead the application of JM involving others, most importantly those doing the work.
“We used Job Methods on a major process in the Planning and Environment Department. We streamlined the process, removed many steps and reduced business risk. We are now moving towards a paperless office with the assistance of the JM process!”Charlene Kaden, Parkes Shire Council