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Work Sampling INSY 3021 Auburn University Spring 2007

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A technique that discovers the proportions of total time that various activities contribute to the job by taking a relatively large # of observations at random intervals Used to determine: production standards, machine and personnel utilization, and job allowances. Typically faster and cheaper than other techniques Work Sampling

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Well suited for high cycle time and low repetition rate jobs & service industry Does not require the analyst to continually observe the job Reduced clerical time A smaller # of hours are required to collect the data Operator not subjected to long periods of observations Advantages

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Single analyst can study a small crew (or # of subjects); GTT (Maynard Handbook) Cost of the study may be cheaper (up to a certain # of samples) Conducted over a long period of time (tends to be more objective) Study can be postponed if something more urgent arises (no change in study criteria) Advantages (cont)

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Will not produce as good a standard as direct time study Cost maybe higher than suspected if sampling rates are frequent Subjects need to be located close together to eliminate travel Doesnt provide the detailed data (C/I ideas) that direct study does Theory of why it works is confusing for some people Disadvantages

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Based on an event being present or not. Probability of x occurrences of an event in n observations: (p + q) n = 1 Expand IAW binomial theorem, with the 1 st term giving the probability of x=0, the 2 nd term x=1, etc… This distribution of probabilities is known as the binomial distribution, with the Mean = np, and Variance = npq. As n becomes large, the binomial distribution approaches the normal distribution Well return to this later… Little bit of theory

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There are many sources of tabulated data for determining the # of samples required at various confidence levels and accuracys. Formula for calculation purposes simplifies to: n = Z 2 (1-P)/(P)(A 2 ) Sample Size

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Start with preliminary estimate of the variable. This can be historical data, conducting pilot study, or an educated guess (least desirable) Determine the desired accuracy of the results What level of confidence do you desire Estimate the # of observations Develop a sampling schedule Design the data collection form Study Plans (Protocol)

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Random number tables (text pg. 697) Random number generators C++ Program Websites Random Reminder Determining Randomness

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Forms should be custom designed to accommodate the specific data of interest to your study. Make the spaces large enough to easily record the data. Provide summary and calculations spaces right on the form. Commercial software available for this application Work Sampling Form (Instrument)

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Locate yourself at the same place each time prior to observing the operation Try to intentionally distract yourself from the variable of observation as you approach the site (think safety) Limit your time at the site to that actually needed for the observation Technique

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Try to record only the minimum data that you will need to successfully reconstruct the observation Verify any discrepancy with the supervisor or foreman Make notes on the form after the operator can no longer see you Keep a pleasant attitude Technique (cont)

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Computer and PDA programs Quetech Ltd, TimerPalm, UMT-Palm Advantages IE time increased by a reduction in clerical time, results realized faster More professional appearing report $ of performing studies is cheaper Improved accuracy Reduced errors by analysts Greater use made of work sampling, because it is less painful Computerized Work Sampling

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TitleDetermining staffing requirements in institutional pharmacy ObjectiveTo determine if improvements can be made to workload & staffing patterns of a satellite pharmacy; determine the percentage of an employee s day which was devoted to specific activities Sample1 pharmacy Type of sampling Predetermined times Length of study3 weeks (day, evening, & night shifts) Data CollectionDirect observation # Observations2400 (300 per shift) Work Sampling Studies

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TitleTask analysis of a pharmacist s activities in a 45-bed rural hospital with comprehensive pharmaceutical services ObjectiveDetermine how a pharmacist s time was used; calculate the portion of the work day spent in clinical pharmacy activities; compare allocation of time in this service with that of pharmacists in a small hospital with product-oriented systems; investigate potential usefulness of supportive personnel Sample1 pharmacy Type of samplingFixed intervals – 5 minute intervals Length of study18 days selected randomly work days (stratified to insure equal representation of each day) over a 6- month period Data collectionDirect observation - 5 trained observers # Observations1,451 Work Sampling Studies

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TitleWhat Are the Functions of a Practicing Pharmacist? ObjectiveDetailed examination of what pharmacy operators do with their time Sample20 pharmacies (stratified into 4 levels based on prescription volume); 93 pharmacists Type of sampling Fixed intervals – 3 minute intervals; stratified based on prescription volume Data collectionDirect observation – 1 observer Length of study36 hours (stratified to insure each day of week and hour of day were adequately represented) # Observations14,400 Work Sampling Studies

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TitleWork activities of pharmacy teams with drug distribution and clinical responsibilities ObjectiveEvaluate pharmacists and technicians use of time for patient care. Sample7 pharmacy teams (3-9 pharmacists & 1-4 technicians per team) Type of sampling Random time interval (8 observations / hr / shift) Data collectionSelf reporting Length of study5 months # Observations11,485 pharmacist observations; 7,626 technician observations Work Sampling Studies

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TitleWork Sampling: As a Win/Win Management Tool ObjectiveDetailed examination of what pharmacy operators do with their time – seeking ways to improve the efficiency of the operation. Sample Type of Sampling Random intervals (20-25 observations/shift) Data CollectionSelf reporting Length of study3 months # Observations2518 samples Work Sampling Studies

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TitleWork Sampling: The Application of an Industrial Research Technique to School Library Media Centers ObjectiveApply work sampling in a school library media center setting Sample1 media center; 2 media specialists Type of sampling Random time interval (4 observations per hour) Data collectionSelf reporting Length of study20 days # Observations400 Work Sampling Studies

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TitleWork Sampling: Assessing nursing efficiency ObjectiveDetermine how nurses utilize their time Sample16 RN s; CNA s; 3-4 secretaries Type of sampling Predetermined times (20 minutes each shift) Data collectionDirect observation Length of study24 hours (4 day shifts, 4 evening shifts, 2 night shifts on weekdays and weekends) # Observations2,835 Work Sampling Studies

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Sell the work sampling method before using it Use as large of a sample size as is practical Take individual observations at random times, balance the study if necessary Take the observations over two weeks or more Summary

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