Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Henry Gantt - Biography and Contribution - Industrial Engineering

Henry Laurence Gantt, A.B., M.E. (May 20, 1861 – November 23, 1919) was an American mechanical and industrial engineering.

Gantt was born in Calvert County, Maryland. He graduated from McDonogh School in 1878 and from Johns Hopkins University in 1880. He taught at the McDonogh School for three years. He received a Masters of Engineering degree from the Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey.

In 1884 he joined as a Mechanical Engineer with Pool and Hunt of Baltimore. In 1887 became an assistant to Frederick W. Taylor in applying industrial engineering (scientific management) principles to the work at Midvale Steel and Bethlehem Steel, working there with Taylor until 1893. In his later career as a management systems  consultant, he designed the 'task and bonus' system of wage payment and additional measurement methods for worker efficiency and productivity.

In 1916, influenced by Thorsten Veblen he set up the New Machine, an association which sought to apply the criteria of industrial efficiency to the political process. In association with the Marxist,  Walter Polakov he led a group from the 1916 ASME conference to discuss Gantt's call for socialising industrial production under the control of managers incorporating Polakov's analysis of inefficiency in the industrial context.

The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) awards an annual medal in honor of Henry Laurence Gantt.

Henry Gantt's legacy to production management is the following:

Industrial Efficiency: Industrial efficiency can be improved by the application of scientific analysis to all aspects of the work in progress. The industrial management role is to improve the system by eliminating chance and accidents.
The Task And Bonus System: He linked the bonus paid to managers to how well they taught their employees to improve performance.
The Gantt chart: Still accepted as an important management tool today, it provides a graphic schedule for the planning and controlling of work, and recording progress towards stages of a project. The chart has a modern variation, Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT).
The social responsibility of business: He believed that businesses have obligations to the welfare of the society in which they operate.

Gantt and Charts for Visual Display of Load and Schedule
Gantt created many different types of charts. He designed his charts so that foremen or other supervisors could quickly know whether production was on schedule, ahead of schedule, or behind schedule. Modern project management software includes this critical function even now.

Gantt (1903) describes two types of balances:

The "man’s record", which shows what each worker should do and did do, and
the "daily balance of work", which shows the amount of work to be done and the amount that is done.
Gantt gives an example with orders that will require many days to complete. The daily balance has rows for each day and columns for each part or each operation. At the top of each column is the amount needed. The amount entered in the appropriate cell is the number of parts done each day and the cumulative total for that part. Heavy horizontal lines indicate the starting date and the date that the order should be done. According to Gantt, the graphical daily balance is "a method of scheduling and recording work". In this 1903 article, Gantt also describes the use of: "production cards" for assigning work to each operator and recording how much was done each day.

In his 1916 book "Work, Wages, and Profits"  Gantt explicitly discusses scheduling, especially in the job shop environment. He proposes giving to the foreman each day an "order of work" that is an ordered list of jobs to be done that day. Moreover, he discusses the need to coordinate activities to avoid "interferences". However, he also warns that the most elegant schedules created by planning offices are useless if they are ignored, a situation that he observed.

In his 1919 book "Organizing for Work"  Gantt gives two principles for his charts:

one, measure activities by the amount of time needed to complete them;
two, the space on the chart can be used to represent the amount of the activity that should have been done in that time.

Gantt’s machine record chart and man record chart are quite similar, though they show both the actual working time for each day and the cumulative working time for a week. Each row of the chart corresponds to an individual machine or operator. These charts do not indicate which tasks were to be done, however.

Some Publications

Henry L. Gantt, Dabney Herndon Maury (1884) The Efficiency of Fluid in Vapor Engines. D. Van Nostrand.
Henry L. Gantt (1903) A graphical daily balance in manufacture
Henry L. Gantt (1908) Training Workmen in Habits of Industry and Coöperation. 12 pages.
Henry L. Gantt (1910) The Compensation of Workmen ...: A Lecture Delivered Before the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration, Dec. 15, 1910. 116 pages.
Henry L. Gantt (1910), Work, Wages, and Profits: Their Influence on the Cost of Living, New York, New York, USA: Engineering Magazine Company, LCCN 10014590. (See also second edition, revised and enlarged.)
Henry L. Gantt (1916), Industrial leadership, New Haven: Yale University Press.
Henry L. Gantt (1919), Organizing for Work, New York, New York, USA: Harcourt, Brace, and Howe, LCCN 19014919.





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