Monday, September 22, 2008

Task Management

I haven’t had any direct interaction with the specific scientific management described in this book but I have had interaction with it on a more informal scale. The statement that I feel applies to my experience with scientific management is:

“Scientific management requires an investigation of each of the many modifications of the same implement, developed under rule of thumb, and second after a time study has been made of the speed attainable with each of these implements, that the good points of several of them should be united in a single standard implement, which would enable them to work faster and with greater ease than before” (62).

Instead of modifying the tool used to perform a task I will just explore different methods to accomplish a task using the same machine.

I work at a bowling alley that has old pinsetting machines, some were made in the late 1940s. They tend to occasionally clear someone’s pins that remain after they have already thrown their first ball, in other words not giving them the opportunity to pick up their spare. Because of this, the employees have to go set them back up so they have the chance to pick up their spare. (This more so occurs in bowling leagues because certain ones have regulations governing if a pin falls “legally.” Sometimes pins break and fall over which is another example of an illegal falling pin.)

There are several ways to accomplish the task of setting back up someone’s pins, some simpler but more difficult in terms of physical labor, while another can be done while pretty much sitting down. The first and probably the most simple way to do it is just to crawl under the machine, turn it off, set up the ones they ask for and turn it back on. This method has several disadvantages the first being that people claim that it’s distracting while they are trying to bowl and it’s the most labor intensive way involving one to crawl under the machine and brush all the unwanted pins away and place the requested ones on the little dots where there suppose to go.

The second way, without getting too technical, is to go around the back of the machine crawl up on top, shut the machine off at a particular time, crawl over to the front, drop the pins in the proper chute and turn it back on. This way is easier than the first but it is more time consuming because you have to wait for the right time to shut it off. I should also say that I figured out how to do it myself.

The third and final way to do it eliminates two steps from the second way because someone took the time to show me a more efficient way to do it. All the third way involves is crawling up, sitting down, “stopping” the machine, putting the desired pins in and “restarting” it.

The third way is definitely the easiest, fastest, and most efficient way to do it. I had someone who knew more about the machines than I did show it to me because he had been working on them for much longer than me. These machines are very complicated, for instance “restarting” the machine involves me pushing a trip lever that serves a different purpose than what I use it for.

Without being shown, I would have had no idea of the method he showed me because it uses things on the machine that weren’t intended to be used that way; therefore they are not obvious to be used in the manner that he showed me.

If anyone is interested in what the back of a pinsetter looks like here’s what I think is a cool video of it on youtube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4fd5schChJY

3 comments:

testanick said...

Your essay sounds like it covered prompt pretty well. I like how you gave in depth detail about the three ways you have found to reset the fallen pins. It really gives you an idea how much work goes into it normally and how much the newer, more “scientific” way cuts the “inefficient” and “unnecessary” movements, like manually clearing the pins and waiting for the machine to finish. Overall, it is a pretty strong point, however, I think it could use a few more references back to the book. Your point would have much more credibility if you described your motions with the terms and phrases he uses in the book (i.e. “I informally measured the times of the three and found that the third process was much faster, more efficient, had the least unnecessary movements”… you make a good enough argument, I just think you might want to talk about it like the author did). Also, I’m not sure if you want to expand your argument or not, because the prompt did say “offer a detailed discussion of the role of scientific management in your own life.” You might want to (it’s ok how it is, I just think it would be stronger if you) add other roles that scientific management may play in your life. It doesn’t have to be nearly as long as your main point, but I just think you should probably add another instance of scientific management (for instance, I have found through timing myself, that this is the most efficient way to get to work is… or something stupid like, before I even knew what scientific management was, I applied its basic principles to me brushing my teeth and found that…). Spelling and grammatical errors are pretty low, but in your sentence that ends with “the little dots where there suppose to go,” you should use “they’re” instead (they are supposed to go, not go there) of “there”. Oh, by the way, I also like your use of YoutTube (an outside source) to give the reader a better understanding of what you're dealing with.

Mathew said...

I haven’t had any direct interaction with the specific scientific management described in this book but I have had interaction with it on a more informal scale. The statement that I feel applies to my experience with scientific management is:

“Scientific management requires an investigation of each of the many modifications of the same implement, developed under rule of thumb, and second after a time study has been made of the speed attainable with each of these implements, that the good points of several of them should be united in a single standard implement, which would enable them to work faster and with greater ease than before” (62).

Instead of modifying the tool used to perform a task I will just explore different methods to accomplish a task using the same machine.

I work at a bowling alley that has old pinsetting machines, some were made in the late 1940s. They tend to occasionally clear someone’s pins that remain after they have already thrown their first ball, in other words not giving them the opportunity to pick up their spare. Because of this, the employees have to go set them back up so they have the chance to pick up their spare. (This more so occurs in bowling leagues because certain ones have regulations governing if a pin falls “legally.” Sometimes pins break and fall over which is another example of an illegal falling pin.)

There are several ways to accomplish the task of setting back up someone’s pins, some simpler but more difficult in terms of physical labor, while another can be done while pretty much sitting down. The first and probably the most simple way to do it is just to crawl under the machine, turn it off, set up the ones they ask for and turn it back on. This method has several disadvantages the first being that people claim that it’s distracting while they are trying to bowl and it’s the most labor intensive way involving one to crawl under the machine and brush all the unwanted pins away and place the requested ones on the little dots where they’re suppose to go.

The second way, without getting too technical, is to go around the back of the machine crawl up on top, shut the machine off at a particular time, crawl over to the front, drop the pins in the proper chute and turn it back on. This way is easier than the first but it is more time consuming because you have to wait for the right time to shut it off. I should also say that I figured out how to do it myself.

The third and final way to do it eliminates two steps from the second way because someone took the time to show me a more efficient way to do it. All the third way involves is crawling up, sitting down, “stopping” the machine, putting the desired pins in and “restarting” it.

The third way is definitely the easiest, fastest, and most efficient way to do accomplish the task. By employing an informal method of scientific management, I have come to that conclusion. I had someone who knew more about the machines than I did show it to me because he had been working on them for much longer than me. That could be viewed as the management showing me the proper way to do something. These machines are very complicated, for instance “restarting” the machine involves me pushing a trip lever that serves a different purpose than what I use it for.
Without being shown, I would have had no idea of the method he showed me because it uses things on the machine that weren’t intended to be used that way; therefore they are not obvious to be used in the manner that he showed me. For me, it all comes down to whether or not you know how to use a tool properly. This can apply to anything from using a saw or mortar trowel, like mentioned in the book, or in my case a pinsetter.

If anyone is interested in what the back of the pinsetter type that I’m writing about looks like here’s what I think is a cool video of it on youtube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4fd5schChJY

Adam Johns said...

Nick - nice, solid response.

Mathew - What's best here is your detailed - almost, but not quite, too detailed - discussion of how the various processes actually work. Some great description.

As a response to the prompt, though, it lacks ambition - it's almost perfunctory, as a matter of fact. You narrow your focus to one aspect of scientific management, which might (possibly) be fine - but then you don't even try to show that even *that* really applies to your work. Where, for instance, was the measuring, the time/motion study, etc?

While scientific management is certainly aimed at generating efficiency, not all ways of working more efficiently have anythign to do with scientific management: you basically acknowledge that by admitting the "informality" of scientific management at your work place - but I'm unclear on how the informal connection differs from not being a connection at all.