The purpose of this study is to demonstrate how performing a job
task analysis (JTA) can be useful in developing an objective and
effective ROI forecast.
Texas Grocery* (fictitious name) is an innovative, multi-billion
dollar grocery retailer committed to providing the highest levels
of customer service and quality of products, while also maintaining
low prices and a commitment to the communities it serves. In
response to the demand for grocery services in low socioeconomic
areas - which are typically underserved - Texas Grocery is
introducing a new concept store that provides high quality and
highly-discounted items. The area of focus within this new concept
store is the bakery.
The bakery will provide fewer items (four items total) than the
other bakeries in the traditional Texas Grocery retail stores (more
than 20), but will produce significantly more of the four items
than the bakeries in the traditional stores. Texas Grocery wants to
provide straight-from-the-oven products to the customer in large
quantities, at reduced prices, and of the highest quality. Market
research has provided a projected production range for two
(sandwich rolls and bread) of the four items that will be produced
in the bakery (Table 1). The other two items do not require baking,
so they are not considered for this study.
The risk management department within Texas Grocery has been tasked
with determining if these production goals are feasible and safe
with one employee; one proofer, which is a machine that forces the
dough to rise; and one double oven for baking the sandwich rolls
and the bread. The risk management department has tasked FIT for
WORK, an occupational health and safety firm specializing in
performance improvement through ergonomics and safety-related
training and non-training solutions, with determining if these
production goals are feasible, and if not, what will be needed to
make these production goals possible.
To determine if these goals are safe and feasible, the performance
improvement specialist (PI) from FIT for WORK met with the director
of risk management to schedule an observation of a bakery within
Texas Grocery that performed these baking processes and with the
equipment suggested earlier. Based on this meeting, the PI
brainstormed to determine what would be needed to complete this
project. The brainstorming session concluded with a list of
questions that would need to be answered while performing the
- What processes, from start to finish, are required to produce
the sandwich rolls and bread?
- What is the time requirement for each process to produce the
sandwich rolls and bread?
- What equipment is necessary to perform these processes?
- What other variables affect the production of these two items?
- What equipment will the PI need to accurately collect the
information necessary for completing this study?
Due to the nature of the request from the director of risk
management, the PI determined that a job-task analysis (JTA) would
be the most efficient method for determining the safety and
feasibility of the production goals. Judith A. Hale, author of The
Performance Consultant's Fieldbook, describes a job-task analysis
as "a formal study to identify what people do; what they have to
know to do it; what they use to do it, including equipment,
materials, systems, and information; and under what conditions they
do it.". This will provide the PI with a better understanding of
the entire baking process and any unforeseen variables that may
need to be explored.
Darlene M. Van Tiem, James L. Moseley, and Joan Conway Dessinger
(2001) recommend utilizing a variety of data collection
methodologies while performing job-task analyses. These
methodologies include questionnaires and surveys, interviews,
observations, diaries and logs, and focus groups. The data
collection procedures utilized by the PI for this study were:
- interviews of the bakery manager and the bakers
- review of the standard operating procedures (SOPs) for baking
- observations of all the processes involved within the baking
It is important to note that each data collection methodology
served as a progression from one method to the next. For example,
the results of the interviews led the PI to review the SOPs for
each baking product. Then, based on the review of the SOP, the PI
determined that observations of all the processes involved within
the baking process needed to be performed.
The interviews of the bakery manager and the bakers were performed
to gather experiential information necessary to complete this
study. These interviews provided the PI with information such as
the location of the ingredients for making the sandwich rolls and
the bread, what the most challenging aspect of performing the
baking process is, and possible solutions to increasing the
performance of the bakery. Based on these interviews, the PI
discovered that Texas Grocery has a standard operating procedure
(SOP) for each product produced in the bakery.
The review of the SOPs for baking each product provided the PI with
standardized information such as the steps necessary for baking
each product and the time requirements for mixing, proofing, and
baking each product. These SOPs are utilized in every bakery within
Texas Grocery to ensure that the same high quality product is
produced at each bakery within Texas Grocery. Based on a thorough
review of the SOP for each product, the PI determined that a
videotaped observation of the entire baking process was necessary.
Videotaped observations were performed for a multitude of reasons.
First, videotaped observations are cost-effective for both the PI
and the client. Videotaped observations allow the PI to review the
job tasks multiple times without having to repeat the onsite
observations. Second, videotaped observations provide objective
information that can be utilized during the analysis,
recommendations, and presentation of findings. Also, videotaped
observations utilize timers, which are valuable when analyzing the
time necessary for completing each step of the baking process.
Based on the videotaped observations, the PI was able to complete
the job task analysis, determine the feasibility of the production
goals, and make corresponding recommendations.
Based on the results of the job task analysis, the PI determined
that the production goals were not feasible (Table 2).
The PI determined that the following variables will prevent the
bakery at the new concept store from reaching the projected
- The layout of the bakery is not designed for the baker to work
efficiently - the baker must walk to other departments to obtain
items necessary for baking such as ice and the current layout
requires the baker to lift, carry, and push or pull items multiple
- The double oven and proofer are not able to accommodate and
produce the quantity of sandwich rolls and bread necessary for
reaching the production goals.
- Other processes - such as customer service - detract from the
time that the baker can devote to performing all of the baking
To reach these production goals and to reduce the time necessary to
produce these items, the PI recommended that the design of the
bakery should be configured utilizing lean manufacturing and
ergonomic-related methodologies (for example, an additional proofer
should be added and a full-time baker's assistant should be added
to perform customer service and decorating processes).
Lean ergonomic design
The current layout of the bakery depicts a layout in which the
bakery employee will have to make non-linear movements (for
example, "star" pattern to perform all of the essential processes
within the baking process. Based on interviews and observations, it
was determined that stocking the bins outside of the bakery and
performing customer service while on the retail floor - for
example, bagging sandwich rolls for customers - were major
time-consuming processes that could be avoided via design
improvements. Although customer service is an important concept, it
is considered to be a non value-added component within the bakery
process since it detracts from time spent performing baking duties.
Justification for appropriate and adequate
The current design depicts a layout without a dedicated ice machine
within the bakery. If a bakery employee must leave the bakery to
obtain ice, the chances of being side-tracked to perform customer
service and items in the oven burning (waste due to shrink) are
Although customer service is an important concept, it is considered
to be a non value-added component within the bakery process since
it detracts from time spent performing baking duties. The most
time-consuming process within the entire baking process is the
proofing of the dough. With two proofers that accommodate three
carts each (six total per cycle); the amount of proofing time will
be reduced by one-half.
Based on the interviews with the bakers within the comparable
stores, another production-limiting factor is the number of baker's
racks and pans. An adequate supply of baker's racks to account for
preparation, baking, proofing, and displaying will help to increase
productivity by reducing down-time (waste).
Addition of a full-time baker's assistant
A full-time baker's assistant should:
- provide customer service
- fill or replenish the bakery display areas
- receive the bakery goods from the delivery truck(s).
Based on the data collection, the most time-consuming non
value-added processes within the baking process (besides the
proofer) are the above-mentioned processes. By utilizing a
full-time baker's assistant, the baker will be able to dedicate all
of his/her time to the baking process. This will help meet
production goals, as well as to guarantee the overall quality of
Jack J. Phillips and Lizette Ziga (2008) describe the importance
of forecasting ROI as a means to reduce uncertainty for expensive
programs and projects, when there are high risks and uncertainty,
and as a comparison to post-implementation results. The
recommendations for this project each have an associated expense
and all parties involved in this project are interested in how the
recommendations will affect the production goals.
Since the performance improvement specialist was not supplied with
proprietary information such as the procurement cost of the
equipment, manpower costs per hour, or units of product sold per
hour, a true ROI could not be forecasted. However, the forecasted
ROI was expressed in units of time and provided to the client for
utilization within internal communiqu. By providing the ROI
forecast in terms of units of time, the PI is providing objective,
quantifiable information gathered during the job task analysis.
This helps to provide additional validity to the findings and
recommendations of the PI (Creswell, 2008).
By utilizing a job-task analysis, various methods of data
collection, ergonomics, and Lean manufacturing, the PI was able to
determine that the projected production goals with the proposed
equipment and manpower were not feasible. The specialist also was
able to utilize the same methodologies to recommend the design,
manpower, and equipment needs of the new bakery. To justify these
recommendations, an ROI forecast was performed.
Although the client did not provide the performance improvement
specialist with proprietary information such as the procurement
cost of the equipment, manpower costs per hour, or units of product
sold per hour, a forecasted ROI was provided based on time-saving
units. These time-saving units were calculated based on the
observations, data collection, and analyses performed during the
job task analyses of the comparable bakery. The time-saving units
and justification were provided to the client for utilization
within internal communiqu.
James D. Rethaber is the director of ergonomic
onsite analysis with FIT for WORK, a San Antonio, Texas-based
occupational health and safety consulting firm specializing in
decreasing workers' compensation claims and expenditures through
ergonomic and safety training and non-training solutions. Rethaber
is a PhD candidate in the training & performance improvement
specialization at Capella University; email@example.com .
Creswell, J.W. (2008). Educational research: Planning, conducting,
and evaluating quantitative and qualitative research (3rd ed.).
Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.
Hale, J.A. (2006). Certification. In J.A. Pershing (Ed.), Handbook
of human performance technology (3rd ed., pp. 1008-1023). San
Phillips, J.J. & Ziga, L. (2008). Costs and ROI: Evaluating
at the ultimate level. San
Van Tiem, D.M., Moseley, J.L., & Dessinger, J.C. (2001).
Performance improvement interventions: Enhancing people, processes,
and organizations through performance technology. Silver Spring,
MD: International Society for Performance Improvement.