In our view, a Human Factors approach always needs the explicit design of jobs. Job design means combining human tasks into one or more human operator jobs. Inevitable, this includes the organization of the jobs (the work organization). This design activity is known as the task allocation process.
Far too often, jobs are the result of the engineering of a production system, such as tasks that couldn’t be automated for whatever reason (costs, technology).
ErgoS has the tools and the knowledge to assess and improve the quality of the remaining jobs in terms of task duration, repetitiveness, variation, difficulty, or health & safety risks. For discrete manufacturing tasks this is relatively easy, once there is a good estimate of task durations. This data can also be combined with an assessment of physical workload.
For process control and supervision tasks, workload assessment is less straightforward, as we are not able to actually see human information processing tasks. The key to solving this difficulty is to do a task analysis in the existing production system. ErgoS will also be able to benchmark production tasks.
The result of an explicit design of jobs and work organization usually is a reduction of manpower needed, as compared to projects without an explicit job design process.