Evolution of industrial engineering (Part III)
Gilbreth’s work continued in motions using motion pictures for studying tasks and workers. He developed micro motion study, a breakdown of work into fundamental elements called “therbligs” (baed on Gilbreth spelled backwards).
Taylor’s concept of work element was broad, and based on time study requirements like “get tool”. Whereas Gilbreth’s work was based on breaking down the elements further into basic individual therbligs, such as “reach for tool and pick up tool” instead of “get tool”.
There were many followers of Taylor and Gilbreth in the 1900s. They believed that Taylor’s work emphasized motion measurement whereas Gilbreth emphasized motion analysis. With time, it became clear that both approaches were necessary and were essentially interdependent. Ultimately what is important is the best of both of these efforts, namely, the right motions with the minimum of time. Thus evolved a term “Methods engineering” which is an important function of industrial engineering.
The concepts of time and motion studies developed by Taylor and Gilbreth are still the basis for industrial engineering. Even today, over fifty percent of industrial engineering activities are related to this concept.