Especially for SME’s – 38: Time has three different states.

04 May 2022

SME


Mr. Lowe: The problem of finding time can be solved only if we can look at three different states of time as applicable to any resource (including you). This way of seeing time is essential to its effective use. Anything can be in three different states of Time, idle, be forced idle and busy. And whenever a resource including you is busy, how effectively, optimally or sub-optimally busy that resource is used with respect to time.

SME 1: Can you elaborate, please?

Mr. Lowe: When we are not doing particularly anything, we understand we are idle. But when we are part of a group or see one element idle in a system of two elements say, a man-machine system, we assume that if one of them is busy i.e., if the machine or the man is busy the entire system is busy. This assumption may or may not be right. We tend to assume that when man is busy, even if the machine is idling or vice versa, everything is fine. We think that when the machine is busy, even if the man is forced to be idle, we think both are busy and everything is o.k. We term the idle time experienced by one resource in a two or multi-resource system as forced idle time.

SME 1: Just the recognition of these forced idle times may make us come out with better use of the scarce time: e.g., I have seen in many places that the machine operator is inspecting the previous piece made by him when the machine is doing the next piece. So both man and machine are busy. In this there is another advantage that the doer is also the inspector, which is an effective way of manufacturing. As long as a person thinks somebody else is there to check his work, he does not take the quality aspect seriously. But if he is given the responsibility of not just building the job but also building quality in it, he does take care and becomes accountable for quality also. I know many big organizations known for their quality, switching to this from the so-called in-process inspection by the Quality department and doing very well regarding the quality aspect of their operations.

Mr. Lowe: What you say is very true. But why don’t you follow this in your unit then? So forced idle times have not only to be identified but used by using creativity and time, the two top intangible resources.

These forced idle times may also be looked upon as waiting times that we have already discussed. The unfortunate thing is that we take most of the waiting times as unavoidable and do nothing during the time we wait for others or for other things to happen. Look at the time we spend waiting in queue for buses, trains, our servants even, our driver, our bosses at office and home, ticket queues. Can’t we not do anything from our to-do list as we are facing forced idle times, in these situations that are indeed beyond our control? …..contd.

SME

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