WFC Times blauw0202
History of Work-Factor

Historical data

Historic data

Quick, et al

The Netherlands





No European system?


In the early 1930’s, workers in Philadelphia were dissatisfied about the quality of their standard times which were based on stop-watch timings, established and set for their tasks. These standard times were strictly controlled and managed, while their income was based on pieces per hour produced. These protests finally resulted in the formation of a group of work study engineers, which was assigned initially the task to devellop a system to eliminate the subjective elements in the normally used technique of the stop-watch time study, viz. the human judgements. This led to the development of the Work-Factor syteem.
The WORK-FACTOR system was developed in the United States between the years 1934 and 1945. The start and the first phase of the investigation was carried out by the gentlemen: Joseph H. Quick, William J. Shea, Robert E. Koehler and Samuel F. Benner. The first years under management of Benner and from 1936-1937 under management of Quick. The initial project lasted for just one year.
In the second phase the team was extended with some more engineers and during three years the original acquired data was checked once more, the definitions were improved and written down more correctly, and a numerous number of accurate observations were recorded and a huge amount of new data was added.

The research started in 1934 at the "Philco Company" in Philadelphia, whereas the second phase was started in 1935. The first application took place at the "Radio Corporation of America", the "RCA", in 1938, while the first publication of the system took place in May 1945. In 1946 Quick founded “The Work-Factor Company” to make the system available to the industry on an international scale. Already in 1947 large scale applications were realized in the American and Japanese industries. Early 1951 there were four eqaul partners when William G. O’Brian, James H. Duncan and George A. Goodwin joined the company.
In the early 1950’s the system found its way to Europe. In 1952 it was already introduced at Philips’ Gloeilampenfabrieken te Eindhoven, The Netherlands.
In 1962 “The Work-Factor Company” was transformed into the "WOFAC Corporation©®" and since then WOFAC is a division of the Science Management Corporation, SMC, whose activities are not confined to Work-Factor only, but to all modern techniques of industrial advice and organization. Also internationally under SMCI.

Since 1993 the WFGD and the WFC took over the licences, rights and duties of “WOFAC” for Europe.

To the basis and in advance of this knowledge and these systems stand some remarkeble people:

Frederick Taylor (1856 - 1915), Georg Barth (1860 - 1939) and Henry Gantt (1861 - 1919)
Frank (1868 - 1924) and Lillian Gilbreth (1879 - 1972)
Charles Bedaux (1886 - 1944)
Asa Segur (1886 - 1975)
Ralph Barnes (1900 - 1984)
Walter Holmes (.... - ....)
The first P(E)MT systems

It has been the merit of Joseph H. Quick, William J. Shea, Robert E. Köhler and Samuel F. Benner, to be the first to develop and to complete the WORK-FACTOR (WF) system. This was achieved during the years 1934 and 1945. In 1934 the research started at the “Philco Radio Corporation” in Philadelphia, Pennsilvania. The time studies were carried out in actual situations and obtained on a statistical sound way from some 1100 seasoned operators, whereas the necessary time values were obtained from over 17.000 actions. Very short and more or less complex actions were recorded with photo-electric recording apparatus and 16 mm small film cameras, and analyzed. In 1938 the first full scale application of the Detailed Work-Factor system was executed at the “Radio Corporation of America”, de “RCA”, factory in Camden, New Jersey, where 220 engineers were trained in the WORK-FACTOR system. This research was continued well in 1946. The system has also been applied in repair shops, synthetic materials factories, machine factories, sawing mills and many other factories and companies.
The lot sizes of the products varied from small series till mass series productions.
From these time values at first various graphs emerged, then a comprehensive mathematical formula for the motion times was derived, and then the famous WF tables were made.
In 1946 also the Simplified Work-Factor system was presented.

The first publication of the WF system took place in the journal of “Factory Management and Maintenance”, Plant Operations Library No 8, page 97, in May 1945 under the heading “Motion-Time Standards”. Soon, the system was named after the autors, the “QSK-system”. The economical value of such systems was soon recognized, and that is why Quick, Shea en Koehler founded the WORK-FACTOR COMPANY in 1946, in which they stored the authors rights and copy rights of their system. This formed the basis for the world wide application of the WF systems like Detailed WF, Ready WF, Abbreviated WF, Brief WF and Mento-Factor, which were then further developed by James H. Duncan and James A. Malcolm Jr.. Also, gratefully, use is made of the studies of A.B. Segur, but not of his findings. WORK-FACTOR as a system was introduced in Europe in the year 1950.
Right from the introduction of Detailed Work-Factor it was recognized that faster WF systems were important for meeting different and other requirements for time measurement, varying from highly repetitive mass production till small order production, maintenance, warehousing & distribution, transportation and even single piece production. Therefore rapidly after the introduction of Detailed WF, the systems Simplified Work-Factor was introduced in 1946 and Abbreviated Work-Factor in 1951. Already from 1951 onwards, especially James A. Malcolm Jr. developed the Ready WF system. In 1956, 1959 and 1962 the Ready WF system was published and introduced as a replacement for Simplified WF. In the autumn of 1975 Brief (or Block) WF was introduced in the USA as a replacement for AWF. In 1985 AWF was followed and replaced by Very easy WF, especially in Western Europa countries. VWF© was developed by the WFC and the WFGD.
Already in 1949 Quick started the development of Detailed Mento-Factor. In 1960 the mental system  Mento-Factor was introduced by  Quick c.s. In the 1980’s a first version of Mento-Factor Compact© was developped by the WFGD and WFC and presented in 1988. Still, this system proved to be too complicated to convey to students and analists-to-be. In 1992 the present Mento-Factor Compact system was presented.

Introduction of Work Technique and Work Study in the Netherlands
In January 1949 a preparatory committee was formed to prepare four NIVE sections on the subjects of Administrative Labour, Factory Organization, Commercial Organization and Personnel Issues. The committee for the section of Factory Organization, the Berenschot Committee, was installed on May 6th 1949 where as on January 1950 the Section Factory Organization was established. During 1950 and 1951 four NIVE-study groups for time study and work study were installed. This number of  groups rapidly increased all over The Netherlands. These study groups were readily transformed into no less than 15 regional circles with a national management cq board.
On November 21st 1951 the sub-section “Work Technique” was established at Utrecht as part of the NIVE-section “Factory Organization”, which soon was shaped into a society and on May 27th 1952 was named “VOA, Vereniging voor Ontwikkeling Arbeidstechniek” (Society for Development Work Technique). However, formally, the VOA was established on September 27th 1952 and only gained the status of an official member-organization of the NIVE during the beginning of 1954 (NIVE, the Dutch Institute For “Efficiency” (established in 1924), later “Management”)
In 1966 the name was changed into “VOA, Vereniging Ontwikkeling Arbeidskunde” (Society for Development Work Study) and in mei 1967 changed into “VOA, Vereniging voor Organisatie en Arbeidskunde” (Society for Organization and Work Study).
In May 1976 the name was changed again into “VOA, Vereniging voor Bedrijfskunde” (Society for Business Economics). This not only was a change of name, but resulted from the broadening of Organization Study & Work Study towards Business Economics, because the integral application of methods and techniques became more and more central and point of focus.
It was already clear that a system of predetermined times, like the WORK-FACTOR system would have a very valuable meaning for and impact on labour techniques and labour productivity.

Introduction of the WORK-FACTOR system in the Netherlands
In 1952 Work-Factor as a system was introduced at Philips’ Gloeilampen Fabrieken NV Eindhoven. In 1954 - 1955 the first course on Detailed WORK-FACTOR was organized at Philips in Eindhoven. On September 16th and 17th, 1966 the “International Conference on Work-Factor systems” took place at Eindhoven sponsored by the NIVE. In 1966 a licence treaty was made between the WOFAC and the NIVE/VOA. Some time later the WORK-FACTOR Council was founded by the NIVE/VOA and Philips NV, which would exercise control and management over the WORK-FACTOR rights and duties in the Benelux. The Council would preserve, guard, manage and spread the WORK-FACTOR knowledge in their “jurisdiction” including certification of analysts and instructors. On July 1st, 1969 the first issue of the bulletin of WOFAC-Council, WFC for short, was published.
During the 1980’s the WF systems Very easy WORK-FACTOR (VWF) and Mento-Factor Compact (MF-C) were developed by the WFC (especially Mr. Adriaan van Vessem, chairman of the WFC) and the WFGD, and made public and available.
In the regular meeting of the WFC d.d. February 10th, 1982, it is mentioned that Philips NV discontinues the relationship with WOFAC-USA. As from then, the WF activities and interests will be executed and taken care of by the WFC. It is also mentioned that Mr. Emery Boepple, the  liaison between WOFAC-USA and WFC (Western-Europe), is no longer employed by SMC-USA.

On April 10th, 1986, the WORK-FACTOR licence, and consequently the rights and duties, were transferred from the NIVE to the then independent VOA/WFC.
The WFC has the exclusive right to teach, instruct and to advocate the WORK-FACTOR system in de Benelux, to grant possible mandats or to appoint authorized agents. The WFC is exclusively competent and qualified to educate and train WF instructors and holds a register of all certified WF instructors. Only analysts trained and educated by an WFC certified instructor are qualified to use the indicated WF system with which to perform WF analyses. The WFC holds a register of certified WF analysts. By the licence treaty the brand name and logo “WOFAC” is a registered trademark of VOA/WFC deposited at the Benelux Bureau of Trademarks via Novagraaf at Amsterdam. The brandname and logo of “WORK-FACTOR” is a registered trademark of the Work-Study Foundation deposited at the European Bureau of Trademarks via Merk-Echt in Breda. The WOFAC and WORK-FACTOR licences and rights are nowadays managed and executed in Europe by the WFGD and the WFC via the Work-Study Foundation.
As from November 23rd, 2011, the VOA is transformed into “VOA in liquidation”. As from then the WF activities and materials are transferred to the Work-Study/WFC Foundation.
As from July 1st, 2016, all activities of the SMC/WOFAC (USA) were ceased while the activities are to be continued by the SMCI at Ridderkerk, The Netherlands.

Every year in the spring and autumn the regular courses Ready WORK-FACTOR and Very easy WORK-FACTOR will be organized, when sufficient participants have applied. These courses may be organized as “open” as well as “in-company” courses.

Die Einführung des WORK-FACTOR-Systems in Deutschland
Der Verband für Arbeitsstudien - REFA e.V. - erkannte in den Systemen vorbestimmter Zeiten eine bedeutungsvolle Ergänzung seiner Lehre auf dem Gebiet der Arbeitsgestaltung und beauftragte 1955 daher seinen Grundsatzausschuss ‘Kleinstzeit- und Bewegungsstudien’, sich mit diesen Systemen zu beschäftigen und entsprechende Vergleiche anzustellen.
Nach gewissenhafter Prüfung wurde von diesem Ausschuss die Einführung des WORK-FACTOR-Systems empfohlen.
1956 fand der erste WORK-FACTOR-Grundlehrgang in Stuttgart und der zweite anschließend in Darmstadt statt. Die anschließend gesammelten praktischen Erfahrungen bewiesen die Richtigkeit der Empfehlung und die Aussagekraft sowie den Wert des WORK-FACTOR-Systems für die Arbeitsgestaltung und damit für eine wirtschaftliche Fertigung.

In 1958 wurde zwischen der WOFAC in Haddonfield, USA, und dem Verband für Arbeitsstudien, REFA e. V., Darmstadt, ein Lizenzvertrag abgeschlossen.
1961 gründete das REFA-Institut einen Arbeitskreis der WORK-FACTOR-Lehrer.
1964 wurde die gemeinnützige WORK-FACTOR-Gemeinschaft für Deutschland e.V. (WFGD) vom REFA-Verband für Arbeitsstudien und der deutschen Industrie gegründet. Sie bezweckt die Verbreitung des WORK-FACTOR Systems und dessen sachgerechte und einheitliche Anwendung sowie den Erfahrungsaustausch unter den Mitgliedern (Unternehmen, Körperschaften, Vereinigungen, Lehrinstitute und Einzelmitglieder).
1973 wurde die WORK-FACTOR-Gemeinschaft ein selbstständiger, gemeinnütziger Verein und allein autorisiert, das WORK-FACTOR-System im deutschsprachigen europäischen Raum einheitlich zu lehren und zu verbreiten, sowie entsprechende Bevollmächtigungen zu erteilen.
1990 erscheint das erste PC-Programm vom WORK-FACTOR-Schnellverfahren.
2004/2005 wurde mittels eines Lizenzvertrages eine Partnerschaft mit dem REFA-Verband geschlossen.

The fact that outside the USA and Canada there were no serious efforts made to develop a comprehensive and complete system of pretermined elemental times, has everything to do with the valid “anti-stop-watch clause” enforced by the US government, containing that “no part of a United States government appropriation could be used to provide funds for the purpose of timing an employee of the United States government by means of a stop watch.”
”clause” followed the proposal of the “Hoxie Report” to the American Congress in 1915. The Hoxie Report contained a lot of bad sayings about Scientific Management and time study, yet many conclusions of the report were obviously wrong or at least coloured due to the fact that the committee that wrote the report almost entirely consisted of “friends of the unions”.

In Publication nr 598 - 74th Congress and in Publication nr 636 - 74th Congress we find:
“No part of the appropriations made in this Act shall be available for the salary or pay of any officer, manager, superintendent, foreman or other person having charge of the work of any employee of the United States Government while making or causing to be made with a stop watch or other time-measuring device, a time study of any job of any such employee between the starting and completion thereof, or of the movements made in this Act be available to pay premiums or bonus or cash reward to any employee in addition to his regular wages, except for suggestions resulting in improvements or economy in the operations of any Government Plant.”

However, with a P(E)MT system an analist was able to perform a method study  with which an improvement of an operation could be accomplished. A pleasant by-product was that the time of these motions could be established.

A restriction like that was not valid in Europe, by which there was no need to develop such a system on short term notice.


Much information comes from the WFC’s own archives and a lot of information was found on the internet and in archives approachable or accessible via internet, like those of the University of California, Los Angelos, UCLA and the Purdue University of Lafayetta, Indiana.