Activity sampling - process design, Operation Management

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Activity Sampling - Process Design

This is a method of finding the percentage occurrence of a certain activity by statistical sampling and random observation. It is used when there is a need to measure levels of activity, but continuous time study is impractical or uneconomic; it can provide an economical estimate of acceptable accuracy.

Its uses include: 

  • Arranging the duties of groups of workers
  • Indicating the scope for improvement in methods
  • Assessing the potential value of incentive schemes
  • Investigating the causes of unsatisfactory performance figures.

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Consider a piece of equipment such as a photocopier. Let us say that, if a continuous time study were to be carried out during an eight-hour shift, the total non-working time is found to be 3.7 hours, or 46.3 per cent (see figure).


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