How to conduct a time study
A time management analysis is all about working smarter, not harder, says Della Eiche, foodservice specialist at Harford County Public Schools in Maryland. When Harford’s three specialists conduct a time study at one of the district’s 57 schools, they examine how long it takes for employees to perform certain tasks and sift through the data for chunks of time that are not well spent. Here are Eiche’s tips for a time study that’s worth the while.
1. Pick a starting point
A good place to start is in the kitchen, she says. Eiche begins her study by observing the flow of service and recording how staff accomplishes tasks. “Oftentimes, tasks can be combined into one work schedule so other tasks can be shifted,” she says.
2. Look at non-peak hours for holes
Occasionally, operators can dig up production gaps between dayparts or toward the end of the day. “If you have eight workers finish their work schedules five minutes early, that’s 40 minutes paid to your staff that did not result in production,” she says.
3. Prepare for pushback
Get ready to hear, “But this is the way we’ve always done it,” Eiche says. To get the buy-in, she takes her team on field trips to show how another kitchen benefits from the new method.