WORK PROCESSES -simplified overview

Post 657 -by Gautam Shah

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Workshops till middle age were craftspeople oriented. A crafts person would occupy a place surrounded by tools and equipments and carry out the ‘Lot’ of work. After that another person took over that lot. For heavy duty jobs mechanical power drives were superior, but one had to shift around to use them. Mechanical devices like gears, leather belt transmission and offered greater productivity. Some degree of task assignment offered standardized products on a massive scale. The power shaft forced organization of workshops on linearity. The line production methods promoted productivity through time management and sequencing of task procedures. In many instances tasks began to be assimilated and handled simultaneously by many crafts-persons in a single time slot.

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power shaft pulley beltsDuring the early part of the 20th C. machines became adjuncts to assembly-line production systems and multi tasking. For this machine became a device to handle a variety of tools, often simultaneously. The machines were operating at a faster speed requiring equally fast control system.

595px-Machine_shop_in_the_Government_Printing_OfficeMechanical power transmission systems were concurrent systems for the entire workshop, but this impediment was removed with the electric power. Electrical power offered local control through an electric motor through horse power rating, speed variation through voltage control and gears, and operational control like start-stop, etc. Independent electric powered machines with faster and multi tasking capabilities, however, were now difficult for human supervision. Control devices were actuators, for process regulation.

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Control devices or systems are of two types: A Feed-forward system has inputs or predicts unusual happening, but would not oversee or govern the actualization of the action. A Feedback system improvises strategy for future actions in many instances oversees actions being taken.

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Feed-forward systems: Jacquard weaving loom uses a feed-forward control as a programmed punched card to weave a pattern, but cannot stop the loom if there is a short feed of thread. Similarly a cutting machine cuts a large sized shape by moving the cutter tracing a small scale pattern through the arm of a pantograph.

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Feedback systems: A wind mill keeps facing the wind with the help of a tail wane. A pressure cooker seals itself with heightened internal pressure of steam. Pressure valves are weight calibrated opening themselves at certain pressure levels only.

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Control devices and systems have led to automation of processes. Automation began in the late 1940s with the development of the mechanical devices for moving and positioning objects on a production line, though observation and manual intervention were necessary. During 1960s digital computers began to offer control systems in three different manners: For supervisory or optimizing control, Direct digital control, and Hierarchy control. In the first instance, for the supervisory control a computer sets parametric levels for optimizing the operations. In the second instance, for the direct-digital control, several devices feed data to a single processor, which then decides a strategy of operation. The advantage here is very fast and objective evaluation of the data. The third system the hierarchy control applies to all the plant-control situations concurrently, often with the actuation of the control mechanisms.

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TASK SPECIFIC SPACES

Post 594 by Gautam Shah (14 of 16 Behaviour in Spaces)

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Spaces are multitasking facilities. Spaces have varied segments and environmentally transient locations to allow different activities to converge and separate in time and locations. A task is an identifiable work-lot for productive effort, relaxation or passing engagement. It is a work module that requires an area, specific environmental conditions, certain physiological capacities, few postural variations, set of tools and amenities, intra-personal facilitation, psychological makeup, intent and motivation. Other concerns for conducting tasks are safety, health, comfort, stability, mobility, consistency, variety, physical reach, cognition, sense of productivity, energy-conservation, ecological engagements, learning and cultural inhibitions.

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Shoe maker Karachi Pakistan > Wikipedia image

Task Recognition makes way for efficiency and productivity. Tasks need to be recognized in terms of the location, schedule and environmental conditions. Tasks are better managed, if perceived as a part of routine and sequence. The routine recognizes common factors between tasks, casual tasks are once in a while endeavour, whereas sequential tasks optimize the postural change, site shifting, usage of amenities and facilities by participating members, and adjust intense work and rest periods.

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Removal of wool from skins and combing Art by Issac Claesz van Swanenburg (1537-1614)

Routine tasks are associated with the same location, time schedule, fixed structures, amenities, facilities and environmental conditions. Routine tasks are also very dependent on group behaviour dynamics. Routine tasks require very little shifting or rescheduling and so are very productive. The location is maintained because the space segment, with some consistent qualities can expand and contract to meet the occasional needs of the individual or group. Locations for routine tasks being consistent evolve with a lot of personalization such as enrichments. Such locations, because of their consistency and permanency, become the marked spaces or architectural units (bathing area, hay chopping area, etc.). Routine tasks with acute time domination cannot generally afford the luxury of space shifting, because identical environmental conditions are difficult to set elsewhere.

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Casual tasks are tactical solutions rather results of any strategic planning. Casual tasks are ‘once in a while process’. The exigency is to accomplish the task in with whatever locational conditions, and as quickly as possible. Casual tasks overcome the shortcomings of the space size, form, environmental conditions, and problems with group behaviour dynamics. Casual tasks are ‘exciting’ as these open-up new possibilities of space and time management. Casual tasks also generate new group behaviour dynamics and intra-personal relationships.

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Peasants harvesting crops Art by Pieter Brueghel 17 C Wikipedia image

Sequential tasks result from continuous work processes between equipments or participants, or both. Sequencing is required where the work steps are preceding-anteceding or back-feed or forward-feed are required. These can happen with batch or stream-line production processes. For example for cooking an efficient work triangulation is proposed, the nodes consist of basic amenities like cooking, sink and refrigerator (could change with culture and technology) and the connections denote the preparation, defrosting and storing, respectively. Similar task management techniques with robots are used for automobile assembly lines. Streamlined production plants like garments, electronics, consumer white goods recognize working of each task and the interim carryover periods and spaces.

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Fixed facility / Machine shop workstation > Wikipedia image by Rob NREC

Consistency and Variety are required in task handling. It can be achieved by doing a different task, or the same task differently. For these tasks are set in different spatial and environmental conditions and often with new intra-personal setting.

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Task Productivity is greatly affected by the work setting formed by the space and environment. Wherever and whenever there is realization that task productivity is not of the comparative societal standards, the space is reformatted to realign the amenities, facilities and architectonic elements. Here at one end the functional efficiencies are re-validated, and at the other end environmental controls are reset. New group dynamics of intra-personal relationships also upgrade the productivity.

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Learning and improvising > Wikipedia image by Artaxerxes

Learning and Improvisations are inevitable part of task handling. Tasks’ spread, effort and time of accomplishment are continuously appraised requiring minor changes in the processes. By rationalizing task spreads one reduces the physical energy of reach. Re-planning of efforts cut the number of processes. Time management achieves faster delivery. Oft repeated tasks is always the most improvised one.

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Physical Reach and Physical Capacities define the number of sub-tasks or processes that can be handled without requiring shifting or rescheduling. These two, in a way also determine the dependence on tools, equipments, structures, amenities, facilities for carrying out tasks. Physical reach and capacities are governed by the posture taken for the task.

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Housewives have accepted platform type of kitchen over floor level cooking in a crouching position because the later was restrictive. A corner study table allows greater reach then a straight table. An aged person prefers a straight seat with handles as it allows an easy rise up off the chair.

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Walled Kitchen

Social Factors operate at two levels: Group behaviour dynamics and the traditions, taboos, etc. Intra-personal interactions, even if nonverbal, act as a relief in task handling. Socially siting and scheduling of tasks affects the group behaviour dynamics. The tasks and group behaviour are inseparable. Customs and taboos result from the local perceptions and experiences, and so same tasks could have different time and space setting (ethnic variations) across societies. These are more apparent in craft related tasks.

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Stability and Mobility related to transient positions and postures. Architectural features, facilities, tools and equipment and other participants are used for these purposes. Mobility is required to change the orientation, position and work-ability, which in interim processes in oft-repeated tasks.

Task attachment or anchorage results from need for personal support and stability and dependence on entities like: space forms, environmental conditions, structures, amenities, facilities and enrichments.

Bhunga houses have door thresholds as the commandeering location. Huts and one room house use inside front-corner for cooking because from the door an outsider would not see what is being cooked. Kitchens have platforms (or centralized work stations) attached to the wall for accessing services. Some tasks have sanctimonious associations and so are oriented to specific directions (like Mecca, East-Sun). One of the most preferred of orientations, are the openings’ systems like door, window, or a gap, because it extends the vision and allows to command further. Orientation is a biological preference as well as cultural conditioning and accordingly people prefer left or right turning.

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Multi tasking Fixed Control panel image by (http://simplevisions.org/index.php?showingimage=48 by Yovko Lambrev)

Tasks extremely dependent on fixed amenities cannot be shifted, however, sub-tasks dependent on multiple processes needs to shift around wherever these are available. Tasks that require different space spreads for various processes and may need re-siting. Task handling efficiency derives when wait for the right occasion or search for the right location is minimal. Tasks are nominally positioned (and shifted around) within the same space segment and scheduled (and switched around) in the same time section. But some tasks are ‘shifted to other space segments or deferred in time’. Such shifts in space and switches in time occur primarily for functional needs, but often to relieve the tedium and for experimentation. Tasks are also switched to different schedules and locations to develop new intra-personal equations or group behaviour mechanisms. Tasks, which flourish within groups, may ignore time and space convenience.

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 This post forms 14 th of the Sixteen part of Lecture series on Behaviour in Space that I will be offering for the spring semester starting Jan 2016 (to mid April2016) at School of Interior Design, Faculty of Design, CEPT University, Ahmedabad, India.

TASKS SHIFTING in INTERIOR SPACES

Post 323 – by Gautam Shah

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An interior space, is a multilateral entity. A small and simple interior space also offers variety of options for conducting tasks. These options relate to spatial character of the space, size, shape, orientations, anthropometrics, environmental conditions, connections with the outside world, amenities and facilities. Most of these are static factors but environment is a variable one. The space becomes vivid when it offers new experience possibilities. Group behaviour dynamics add new interest to the location.

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Tasks stay put at a location for many different reasons. Tasks utilize fixed structures, amenities, facilities and consistent environmental conditions productively. Some tasks are well practised (routine), require less attention, and so allow more time for interactions with others and passive observance of other tasks. Locations where tasks are conducted consistently in the same time-space segments, evolve with many enrichments. Such locations, become marked-out (named) spaces and architecturally well defined units (bathing area, hay chopping area, etc.). Tasks depending on environmental conditions at a location cannot be space shifted because the combination of spatial qualities and environmental conditions are difficult to get elsewhere. Within a built-forms environment is well conditioned and the need to shift a task is less severe, compared to tasks in exterior areas that are dependent on climatic factors.

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Tasks dependent on fixed amenities or facilities cannot be shifted. Tasks consisting of multiple processes, some of which need to shift around wherever these are available. Tasks require different space-spreads (extent) for various processes and may need re-siting. In single room houses, tents and non-formal work areas (like rural craft workshops), tasks’ timings and their spread requirements are well matched. Tasks are shifted to new location or moved to different time schedule for experimentation, to relieve tedium, and develop new intra-personal equations or group behaviour mechanisms. Intra personal interactions, even if non-verbal, act as a relief in task handling. Tasks have different settings or ethnic variations across societies. This is more apparent in craft tasks.

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Casual tasks are ‘once in a while process. Casual tasks take into the stride the shortcomings of the space size, form, environmental conditions, and problems with group behaviour dynamics. Casual tasks are tactical solutions, rather then of any strategic planning. There is an urgency to accomplish the task as quickly as possible in whatever locational conditions that are available. Casual tasks are very exciting as these open-up new possibilities of space and time management. Casual tasks also generate new group behaviour dynamics and intra-personal relationships.

Tasks, Place, amenities, facilities Image by U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

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Physical Reach and Capacities are governed by the posture taken for the manual handling of tasks. These define the number of sub-tasks or processes that can be handled without requiring repositioning or shifting. Sub tasks that can be conducted in same posture and in a sequence are preferred. These two aspects determine the dependence on tools, equipments, structures, amenities, facilities for carrying out tasks. By rationalizing the task-spreads, one economizes on the physical energy of reach.

 

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JOB HANDLING in DESIGN ORGANIZATIONS

Post 279 – by Gautam Shah

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Organizations exploit both, the individual talents and traits of their employees. FIRST, persons with only required qualities are sought. SECOND, better compensations are offered for hiring specific qualities. THIRD, incentives are offered to individuals who show readiness to reformat their talents and traits. FOURTH, employees unable to convert are punished, or shifted out of the organization. Employees of the organization are motivated in different ways to modify or upgrade their expertise.

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Beyond paying out incentives, organizations use Job assignment as the key method, to exploit the human resources. Organizations divide their projects, assignments etc. into manageable lots or jobs of various skill and resources-based specialities. These are then assigned to individuals or teams as distinct roles. Jobs are presented as an opportunity, challenge, and incentive to a person or a team.

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Design creation processes have many stages such as project formulation, concept evolution, planning, detailing, job award processes, execution, client and consultant relationships. In very small offices few individuals take on many of these roles. In very large offices there could be several individuals or departments to handle these functions.

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A leader of the organization or project manager diverts a job from one to another person, to achieve diverse results. Jobs are assigned to remove the tedium of repetitions, or to provide new training or exposures. Jobs are also given out, to infuse new thoughts, work methods, and utilize different resources (plant, equipments, tools, talents). An organization becomes innovative and creative through such shifting of the personnel.

In design organizations personnel are identified in terms of their talent, and experience. In medium to large organizations common pools of human and other resources are formed. Project managers draw from such pools their requirements of human and other resources.

An organization is formed of employees of different talents and personality traits. These manifest in their attitude and conduct. A person may reflect multiple characteristics within a situation, or show a different personality if adequately motivated and conditioned.

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Dream-weavers are prolific generators of ideas and new concepts, but lack the skill to detail them. The dream-weavers are mercurial and often have a fear of failure. A dream weaver must be an extrovert otherwise never gets acknowledged.

Technocrats have a talent of visualizing structured entities. For them an entity is conceivable, if it is structured and so practicable. Technocrats are fastidious, uncompromising, and hard-headed. A technocrat may get entwined in detailing the parts, and may lose the grasp of the holistic scheme.

Exponents enjoy advocating ideas or schemes, without bothering either its authorship or practicability. They feel that the public attention received through the advocacy is the measure of their skill and success.

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Patrons are not necessarily resourceful people, but are ready to support any new activity that takes them away from their routine chores, provides a novel experience, and keeps them busy. A person may become a sponsor by virtue of the position and powers to allocate resources. Such people are motivated by strategic gains through various sponsorships.

Arrangers are expert manipulators, and keenly look for a chance to jump into any difficult situation to manage it. As a risk taker they collect a lot of benefits, and very fast.

Orthodox are very over careful by personality. Their conservatism is due to a struggle less life or due to old age lethargy. They detest change, but if instrumental of causing even minor innovation, take a great pride.

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POSTURES for Furniture Design – 2

Post 259 – by Gautam Shah

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We take postures to work and relax. Between these two ends we take many transitory postures. Even within each, there many incidental or micro positions that re-establish balance, regenerate blood circulation, adjust fluid balance, reset the body rhythms and facilitate sensorial perceptions. These body portrayal are accompanied by voluntary and involuntary gestures. Gestures are revelations that aid communication, and often reduce the need for re-posturing.

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Work consists of several tasks in a continuum, which require major body movements, shifting of one or few limbs, and small changes such as the head or eye ball movements (for reading, seeing, smelling, sensing, etc.). Work-task related postures occur mostly to manipulate objects, handle tools and for holding. A task is efficiently carried out in certain positions that is an absolute need for it, or to continue the previous postural adaptation. The absolute needs result from factors like comfort, body position, intra-personal communication, supervision or observance, and reach or access to facilities. Tasks occur in a continuum, so for comfort and for economy of effort, not only the work-tasks but incidental tasks for relaxation, diversion, expression and communication are conducted from the same location, position and using the same facilities-amenities setup.

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Ergonomics considerations ensure that ‘designs complement the strengths and abilities of people and minimize the effects of their limitations’. A good design covers variable capacities of task handling of people of different race, sex physique, cognitive abilities, experience, expectations, motivation and restrictions of age, sickness, boredom and fatigue.

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Work-task execution must allow one to improvise the postures, as it allows improved cognition and better blood circulation. Small and temporary variations in postures help in conducting intra-personal relationships, expression and communication. Posturing is a set of three body activities, occurring for the Main action and just before as well as after it.

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6 Apollo_11_mission_officials_relax_after_Apollo_11_liftoff_-_GPN-2002-000026.jpgThe preceding actions are preparatory to main action, to overcome the resistance, look for the sufficiency of space and clarity of direction for the range of movements to occur, look for the required supports and energize the body to gain the momentum and balance. Preparatory action also involves observing everything in the sensorial field, co-workers, tools, equipment and environment.

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The main action relates to the intended set of tasks. In case of regular work, the routines are defined as algorithms, so there are no surprises, but a new desk, chair or machine involves actual or mental trial-runs. These trials involve the nature of postures, range and reach of actions. After this, comes the main action, where first few routines are conscious ones, of being aware of the environment, space features and people. These may not require any exclusive postures, but gestures. In case of routine work this may not be very obvious phase.

600px-Hindu_women_bathing_in_the_Yamuna_river_before_worship_at_the_Birla_Temple,_Delhi_in_1946The concluding action of a task is the regaining the balance and allowing sufficient flow of body fluids to those limbs or body sections that will be used now. One may need temporary support till fluid balance is achieved. Usually concluding tasks, after the main action includes organizational efforts, such as house keeping, storing, cleaning, personal grooming, etc. These are intermediate tasks requiring short duration posturing. But as these are different routines from the main work, provide diversions that may not be liked by everyone.

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SPACE PLANNING for TASKS

Post 212 ⇒   by Gautam Shah 

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Tasks are distinctive units of work, at home or places like office or industry. Tasks require specific setting or stage to happen. The setting is characterized by Time scheduling, characteristic Space form, and the conducive Environment. The environment includes amenities, facilities, structures, enrichments and social interactions.

640px-Twelve_Labours_Altemps_Inv8642Tasks are always purposive, so are creative, educating and productive. Tasks’ setting is carefully selected or moulded in consideration of productivity or efficiency. Tasks also require resources of tools, equipments, raw materials and energy.

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A task nominally, consists of sub tasks, some of which is repeating. Many of the sub tasks or processes are not dependent on particular setting or very specific resources. As a result sub task or processes are handled without time and location compulsions. Many of the sub tasks or processes provide relief from tedious work, and are also used for entertainment, social interactions, expression and communication. In other words sub tasks are physically invigorating and relaxing.

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Tasks derive their efficiency, normally through sequencing in time and space, and also through our ability to interchange it. Tasks are scheduled at a location where required parameters are available. Tasks, however, shift the location if the setting parameters vary in time. Tasks substantially dependent on the environment, shift with changes in breeze direction, shading, illumination, etc.

Human Craft Coppersmith Coppersmith Of UtaTasks requiring unique spatial qualities for efficiency and also for creativity and relaxation. Tasks continue to flourish at a location, till a better or exciting place or social accompaniments, are available. Tasks that flourish within groups and depend on group interactions for a diversion may even ignore time and space conveniences. Tasks are attached to entities like: space forms, environmental conditions, structures, amenities, facilities and other necessities.

Multi Tasks Control

Multi Tasks Control

Tasks are mainly oriented to advantageous environmental resources such as illumination, wind direction, sunlight or shadows. Orientation is a biological preference as well as cultural conditioning and accordingly people prefer left or right turning. Tasks occur at places from where some degree of command can be enforced over a larger domain. Tasks are also oriented to amenities and facilities, architectonic elements and to other people. Some tasks have sanctimonious associations and so are oriented to specific directions (like Mecca, East-Sun). One of the most preferred of orientations is the openings’ system like door, window, or a gap, because it extends the vision and allows to command further.

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Multi Tasking

Multi Tasking

Task shifting is both a necessity for a change, and reflection of insufficiency of the current location. In built-forms where environment is well conditioned, the need to shift a task is less severe compared to tasks that are dependent on climatic factors. Similarly where a task for its productivity is extremely dependent on fixed amenities cannot be shifted. Tasks dependent on multiple processes, however, need to shift around wherever these are available. Tasks require different space spreads for various processes, and may need re-siting for accommodation. For a task the efficiency derives when wait for the right occasion or search for the right location is minimal. Some facilities are bounded amenities so some tasks cannot be easily relocated or rescheduled. In single room houses, tents and non-formal work areas (like rural craft workshops), tasks’ timings and their spread requirements are well matched.

Multiple Resorces

Multiple Resources

Tasks are mostly positioned (and shifted around) within the same space segment and scheduled (and switched around) in sequential time section. Some tasks are ‘shifted to other space segments or deferred in time’. Such shifts in space and switches in time occur primarily for functional needs, but often to relieve the tedium and for experimentation.

 

 

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