Difference Between Time Study and Motion Study

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: May 14, 2023


Difference Between Time Study and Motion Study

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Before the industrial revolution, there had already been extensive work management. Nevertheless, significant advancements in the way work is managed have been made over time. Known as the Father of Scientific Management for his contributions to increasing industrial efficiency, Fredrick Winslow Taylor is an American mechanical engineer. To research and analyze the issues faced by management, scientific management entails the use of contemporary scientific methodologies. Scientific Management consists of two methods: The main goal of a time study is to establish the optimal time needed to complete a specific task. The analysis of human work, on the other hand, is called motion study, and it aims to determine the optimum and least labor-intensive way to carry out a task.

While a motion study analyzes and boosts a worker’s movement efficiency, a time study counts the time it takes to complete a specific task. Both are used in industrial engineering to increase productivity and cut expenses. While a motion study looks at the worker’s movements and how they can be improved, a time study looks at how long a task takes to complete. To learn more about the distinction between time study and motion study, continue reading:

Time Study vs Motion Study

Work study comes in two varieties: time study and motion study. The word "time study" refers to the process of figuring out how long it typically takes to complete a task. Time study is dependent on task volume, task frequency, task cycle, etc.  Under this, time is broken up into several discrete components, and the amount of time needed to complete each component (job) is recorded using time-measuring tools like stopwatches. To identify incentive programs and labor expenses, the main goal of a time study is to ascertain the length of time and number of workers needed to execute an activity.  Additionally, it seeks to distinguish between productive and ineffective employees. Being forced to go from one location to another while working in a factory consumes time, and energy, and wears out the worker. Motion study is the study of motions such as lifting, putting things down, sitting, changing positions, etc. To save workers time and energy, this study tries to eliminate all unnecessary worker moves in the workplace. The actions that are productive, accidental, and unproductive were identified by Taylor and his collaborator after careful study. The standardization of a task's execution is aided by this study. Additionally, it reduces the cost of labor while assisting in effectively and efficiently achieving the goals.

Difference Between Time Study and Motion Study in Tabular Form

MeaningOne of the methods used in scientific management is called time research, and it entails watching and keeping track of how long a given task takes to complete.Motion analysis involves watching how people, machines, materials, and supplies move to identify and remove wasteful behaviors.
PurposeTo determine the typical amount of time needed to complete an activity.To minimize time and energy wasted on pointless motions.
ObjectiveTo estimate a decent day’s worth of labor.The most effective way to complete a task.
InvolvesRecording the amount of time spent on each task in the procedure.Calculating the total number of moves made by workers while they are working.
Focuses onIncrease in productivity of labor.Minimization of movement of workers.
Tool UsedStopwatchSurveillance Camera

What is Time Study?

Time study is the methodical process of carefully examining and analyzing human work with the use of a time-measuring tool to determine the optimum amount of time required to complete each component of the industrial activity. It seeks to set a benchmark time for the effective completion of the task given under certain conditions at a set level of performance by a competent worker. And to do this, the amount of time needed is measured using a stopwatch or another type of timer. After then, additional readings are taken to establish the typical time for completion of the task. An expert practitioner with the necessary training and expertise is needed for this task, someone who can monitor the job, record the readings, and examine the pace of the work all at once. In this study, the foundational variables are task volume and frequency, operational cycle duration, and time measurement expense. To complete the task or activity, it seeks to determine the number of workers who will be needed. The study is useful for putting in place the right incentive system, too. Organizing and managing operations is crucial. In manufacturing and industrial environments, efficiency and productivity tests are regularly conducted on both people and equipment. After a task has been divided up into smaller parts, each part is timed separately. A process may be enhanced, waste can be reduced, and productivity can be raised using the time study data.

How time study is analyzed?

A sample of the workers is chosen, and the tasks are chosen and examined. After estimating the cycles, the management informs the staff about the procedure. To determine the standard time, the observer takes the necessary time to watch, measure, and record the real-time that passes.

Advantages of Time Study

With the use of time study, which identifies and evaluates the most effective ways to complete activities, productivity can be boosted.

  • Through time analysis, inefficient processes can be found and eliminated, reducing labor costs and raising overall efficiency,
  • By concentrating on the most efficient ways to complete activities, a time study can enhance the quality of work and decrease errors.
  • Organizations can better manage resources if they are aware of how much time various tasks take.
  • Improved morale and lessening of employee angst: Time study can assist in locating and eliminating inefficiencies.
  • Organizations can better communicate with employees about how activities should be accomplished and how much time should be allotted by using time study.
  • By examining the time needs for various jobs and allocating resources appropriately via time studies, organizations can better plan.

Disadvantages of Time Study

Data collection and analysis can be time-consuming processes that need a lot of resources and work. Further drawbacks of time study are stated below:

  • Its accuracy is constrained by subjectivity and error in observation and measurement of time.
  • Due to the absence of factors like evolving technology and business procedures, it is less adaptable in dealing with new circumstances.
  • Those who feel that they are being watched over or scrutinized all the time may lose motivation at work.
  • Burnout among employees may be caused by time studies' unrealistic expectations for worker output.
  • It could result in a culture of micromanagement when managers are unduly preoccupied with observing and regulating employee performance as a result of time study.
  • The danger of developing a culture of rivalry: By fostering a competitive atmosphere in the workplace, comparing employee performance may cause conflict and tension.

What is Motion Study?

FW Taylor and his colleague Frank Gailberth are the ones who first presented this idea. Motion study, as the name suggests, entails the analytical monitoring of worker movements during the course of a task, such as lifting, picking, placing goods, sitting, and changing positions. It seeks to choose the optimal approach or technique for carrying out any activity that requires the least amount of movement and minimizes the amount of effort. It distinguishes between productive, ineffective, and accidental movements. To create and implement a simpler and more efficient method, which eventually leads to a decrease in cost, the existing or suggested methods of carrying out the work are meticulously recorded and analyzed for this reason. This is so that the job can be done effectively in the least amount of time possible. The reduction in movement is concerned with the elimination of unneeded and wasteful motion. By examining body posture, body movements, and hand movements, this study’s main objective is to enhance performance in terms of output quality and quantity.

Advantages of Motion Study

A motion analysis boosts output by spotting and removing wasteful and pointless movements. Continue reading to learn more about the benefits of motion research:

  • By eliminating pointless motions and maximizing how the body is utilized, physical weariness and strain can be decreased.
  • Improved quality: Motion studies can find and fix mistakes and flaws, making for better goods.
  • Motion studies can lower production costs by boosting output and minimizing mistakes.
  • Motion study can help with identifying and removing potential risks and harmful working circumstances.
  • Motion studies can be used to create ergonomically better and more comfortable workstations and equipment, lowering the risk of injury.
  • By analyzing and optimizing space consumption, motion studies can help improve a facility’s design and better utilize its resources.
  • When motion study is utilized to create more effective training regimens, training enhances performance and cuts down on learning time.

Disadvantages of Motion Study

It can take a lot of time to conduct motion research because it calls for specialized knowledge and tools. Read further below to learn more about motion studies:

  • A motion study can be costly due to the necessary hardware, software, and manpower.
  • Instead of looking at the entire operation as a whole, motion studies might solely concentrate on one activity or procedure.
  • Employee resistance to change could make it difficult to implement a motion study.
  • Motion studies may not be appropriate for some sectors, such as those with unpredictable or continually changing processes.
  • Results of motion research could be constrained by data quantity and quality.
  • If the data is not gathered or analyzed properly, the results of motion studies could be incorrect.
  • Long-term advantages are exclusive to the activity or process under study and may not ultimately be beneficial to the business as a whole.

Main Differences Between Time Study and Motion Study in Points

  • Time study is a tested technique for estimating how long it will take to complete a task and establishes a reasonable time frame for doing so. While performing a task, motion study records, and analyses body movements to create a technique that eliminates unnecessary motions.
  • As opposed to motion study, which focuses on tracking all movements or, to put it another way, physical exertion made by the workers while carrying out the task, time study comprises keeping track of the time spent on every activity.
  • To determine the average amount of time needed to finish the work, a time study is conducted. As opposed to this, motion studies try to cut down on time and energy wasted in pointless movements.
  • To perform a time study, timers with decimal minutes or electronic stopwatches with computer assistance are utilized. On the other hand, the tools utilized to conduct motion analysis are video recorders or security cameras.
  • Time study often improves the effectiveness and productivity of labor. In contrast, motion analysis frequently assists in minimizing the movements or efforts associated with labor.
  • The purpose of a time study is to determine a fair day’s work. On the other hand, a motion study is carried out to create a new way of enhancing working practices.


By tracking the length of time required for distinct motions of a task or activity, time and motion studies are used to assess the performance of the industrial sector. These studies have been tried and tested, making them trustworthy. It aids in cost reduction and control, the improvement of working conditions, and the implementation of an appropriate incentive program for the workforce. Time study is not ideal for workers whose professions are specialized in nature or when quality is the primary factor in hiring. But since motion study is appropriate for all job types, there is no such restriction in this case. To get the best outcomes from their workforce as fast and efficiently as possible, industrial businesses all strive for this. It is feasible to assess and quantify production in a company using a method provided by time and motion analysis. To reduce and eliminate waste, it is necessary to look at each phase of the production process, and the time required for each step, and to develop strategies.


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"Difference Between Time Study and Motion Study." Diffzy.com, 2024. Wed. 28 Feb. 2024. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-time-study-and-motion-study>.

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