Work Measurement MTM Systems

  • Work Measurement MTM Systems

  • Work Measurement MTM Systems

Work Measurement MTM Systems


MTM is the abbreviation of Methods-Time Measurement

MTM is the abbreviation of Methods-Time Measurement. Methods-Time Measurement means that the time required to perform a specific task depends on the method chosen for the activity.


The MTM method was developed in the USA in the 1940s as a system of predetermined times and was published in the book “Methods-Time Measurement” in 1948.


Since that time, MTM has been used both as an analytical tool for directly analyzing manual work processes, as well as, a tool for developing standardized building blocks from the MTM basic system (MTM-1). These building blocks are being used to economically describe, quantify and design a wide range of work processes.


Compared to other systems of predetermined times, MTM enjoys the greatest worldwide distribution as an instrument of industrial engineering and time management. In addition, building block systems were developed based on MTM-1 for application in different process types (mass production, batch production and one-of-a-kind and small variable batch production). MTM offers a worldwide uniform standard for businesses to use in describing and quantifying manual work pro-cesses. As early as the 1990s, MTM began the gradual transformation from a system of predetermined times to a productivity management system.


Today, the MTM method includes a framework of MTM building block systems used to model the full range of work processes.


MTM supports the design of work processes (business processes) through describing, structuring, planning and analyzing/synthesizing, using process building blocks designed for content and time. MTM systematically classifies and organizes processes, while making the Influencing Factors that control them transparent, thus achieving the goal of “First Time Right” in the design of work systems.


An essential goal of a company consists of maintaining and increasing competitiveness. A system of comprehensive data and time management linked throughout every level of a company’s operation is an indispensable instrument of productivity management in reaching this goal.


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By designing its processes according to the principles of the First Time Right, it is possible for a company to create work systems that precisely meet its objectives from their inception.


Using these concepts, a production system can be developed as a Best-Practice solution. MTM is taught and used both as a tool in the truest sense, as well as, a method or principle in the broader sense. Within a production system, MTM serves the function of a common language providing a standard for design, as well as, serving as the basis for measurements, comparisons and modifications made at all levels of this system.


However, the roll of the employee changes, such that he or she now joins the specialist in taking responsibility for improving the work processes. Communication with the involved employees becomes a central principle. Workshops, presentation techniques, problem solving in teams, visualization and mutual determination of performance characterize the new method of manufacturing.


The following table demonstrates the suitability of various time determination methods for meeting the primary needs characterized in the new method of manufacturing.




Thus, MTM proves to be the premier work measurement tool for use in the new method of working, showing itself to be a suitable instrument for integrated use in all the individual phases of the value added chain.


The use of MTM starts at the very beginning of the value added chain. Its influence begins with the product idea and continues through all of the successive stages of design, production, repair and maintenance, making it a vital constant all the way to the end of the product life cycle.


First Time Right!” is a guiding principle emphasizing the importance of optimizing costs and productivity during the product development stage of the value added chain.


Along the value added chain, the use of MTM and Lean in a coordinated manner proves to offer the optimum opportunity to avoid waste. MTM and Lean philosophies are used to analyze all processes in a company with respect to their value added contribution and to improve them, if required. In doing so, staff, products and the production processes achieve maximum harmony. The target contributions of MTM and Lean can be described as follows:


Lean strives


to create, throughout the whole value stream, the highest possible efficiency by synchronizing the flow

• by reducing supplies, as well as, wasted time and human resources

• by shortening production cycles and delivery times to meet the needs of the customers

MTM strives


to avoid waste, along the whole value added chain, through method planning

• by applying appropriate methods and tools

• by standardizing production, based on a consistent data concept

• by providing time standards, based on a standardized reference performance



While both methodologies strive to improve efficiency,
they differ in their approach to identifying waste:

Lean based on global optimization of flow

MTM based on local optimization of activities


To use MTM and Lean together, along the value added chain, means to make the optimum use of both the synchronization of the value stream and methods design, in order to ensure low-waste flow coupled with efficient work methods!

MTM supports the entire value added chain of a company and runs in two phases within the management of work systems.



In the first phase (The MTM Planning Concept – illustrated below) economic and human (ergonomic) aspects of planning the work system are given highest priority. The goal is to achieve a Best-Practice level of productivity, validated by benchmarks, at the very beginning of production.


The planning concept shown above has proven itself within the core phases of design, planning and production, lending primary importance to the interdisciplinary cooperation (simultaneous engineering) required of the changing partners of each phase, including production employees, in the design of the value added chain.


The best opportunities for cost-saving are found in the design and planning phases. ProKon (Produktionsgerechte Konstruktion – Production-Oriented Design) proves itself as a premier MTM tool for assisting the designer in creating assembly-friendly products while allowing quantification of savings in the product development phases.


The MTM Planning Concept is used to structure processes and divide the workload between people and machines. MTM analyses serve as the basis for comparing work methods and selecting the best among them. The MTM planning analyses for the selected work methods determine the corresponding work system design. They provide the basic data used for calculating production times and for balancing the production process. Employees should be introduced to and familiar with the planned work system by the start of production.


The second phase (The MTM Optimization Concept) covers the operational phase of the work systems following the start of production (SOP). Here, the focus is placed on continuous improvement by operators, supported by an accurate results analysis. When a consistent data concept is applied and appropriate methods and tools are used, the combining of MTM and Lean in both phases allows for the reduction of waste in flow and method (see the illustration below).






COE Change-Over Efficiency MAST Manual Abilities Scanning Test
TPM Total Productive Maintenance PDCA Plan – Do – Check – Act
MSA Multi-Place Operations CIP Continuous Improvement Process
VSD Value Stream Design VSM Value Stream Mapping
Sankey-Diagram specific type of flow diagram, in which the width of the arrows is shown proportionally to the flow quantity



By the combined utilization of Lean and MTM philosophies, optimal productivity is achieved in significantly less time. Even after the start of production, there is a more significant increase in productivity when MTM is being applied, because MTM enables the user to accurately analyze and realize the true benefits of identified potentials.



A work system description is necessary to allow this process to move forward. It contains building blocks of data representing both the spatial dimensions in the work system (e.g., with the use of diagrams or photos) and the variables of the work system.


A work system serves to fulfill the job tasks and is described with the following variables:


marker Task describes the purpose of the work system
marker Input includes the job conditions in the form of job properties, information and energy in the work system and are changed or used in relation to the task
marker Person: performs work operations
marker Aids/Equipment: performs technical operations
marker Process: spatial and temporal interaction of people and aids/equipment, which transforms the input into the task
marker Output: work results in the form of job properties, information, energy and waste which are changed, used or created according to the task
marker Environment: surrounding influences



Such a description of the work system is a part of the design standard. The necessary standards must be such that the individual elements are on the one hand small enough to enable a sufficiently accurate representation of the required products and on the other hand large enough to remain understandable, learnable and manageable.


MTM coined the term Methods Level, which is used to decide which MTM System describes reality or a planned production process with sufficient accuracy. Thus, MTM doesn’t provide only one system, but several systems, at various levels, tailored to meet the requirements of different method levels between, for example, line assembly and a repair station.

The framework of the many MTM building block systems offers various alternatives for use in a wide variety of environments. The MTM basic system (MTM-1) forms the basis of the MTM building block systems. It conveys the basic understanding for practical work with MTM in such fields of application as product and equipment design, work process and work method design, ergonomic design of work systems and the continuous improvement of processes running in the most diverse company environments.


The MTM-1 system, described in this manual, is the basis for the development of higher aggregated building block systems. It conveys the main features of the MTM method and forms the basis for the understanding and application of additional building block systems.


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