Through research for my upcoming book and webisode series I have found that some of Fredrick Taylors methods are amazingly similar to those still applied today by some Lean or Six Sigma consultants.
Taylor was one of the earliest advocates of work smarter not harder. He was fixated on efficiency. His methods accomplished this aim by the study of a task and finding the most efficient, least wasteful, method to complete that task.
Taylor was famous for introducing the concept of studying work to seek ways to do it cheaper and faster. Today, Lean and Six Sigma consultants often enter an organisation on the same premise.
Taylor & Gantt (of Gantt chart fame who was associated with Taylor for 30 years) studied work with a stopwatch and timed the various activities to determine efficiency data. Today many consultants still time each work activity using a stopwatch.
Taylor & Gantt determined through their time studies how long a job should take, and introduced standardisation and piece-rate pay scales based on the most efficient timings. Today SLAs and monitoring against standard times are often recommended by consultants.
Gantt famously stated “every move a man makes must count”. Today this sounds remarkably similar to the lean waste of “motion”, with consultants studying each move a worker makes to see if any “wasteful motion” can be removed.
I recognise not all Lean and Six Sigma consultants are the same, with some going beyond the tools and not focusing purely on waste removal (e.g. respect the people), but many are repeating methods that were used pre 1900!
Interestingly Shingo cites Taylor as a source for inspiration for baselining along with his time and motion studies, but moved way beyond copying methods used by Taylor, Gantt and Gilbreth.