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History of MTM Association

The MTM Association was established in 1951, with the sole purpose to promote the use of MTM-based work measurement in industry. MTM offered a Predetermined Time System called MTM-1, which is the basis for all MTM Systems. The original data was developed between 1943 and 1948 by the Westinghouse Corporation and was donated to MTM in 1951. It was validated by various universities and organizations between1952 and 1968. A joint research committee developed the Universal Analyzing System (MTM-UAS) between 1976 and 1978. Today, MTM-UAS is the most commonly used predetermined time analyzing system, globally. Research by the MTM Association and its sister organizations has led to the continual expansion of the family of MTM analysis tools in use today. Throughout the world today, over 80% of all work standards developed with a predetermined time analyzing system are developed with MTM systems. MTM systems are the standard to which all other work measurement systems are compared.

MTM Associations around the world, now more than 30 in total, provided training, certification, and software. MTM Associations are located on every continent, with the newest MTM Association being established in India this year. These non-profit associations are all part of the International MTM Directorate (IMD). The IMD originated in the United States and recently was relocated to a globally central location to best serve the needs of the MTM community of associations. The MTM SoftwareHouse was established in Dresden, Germany to meet the growing demand to incorporate MTM System into the current hardware and software technologies. To meet our members’ needs for consulting services a separate business entity, the MTM Group, was established in 6 locations around the world. There are over 600 association members that employ over 4 million workers. Collectively MTM employs over 200 Engineers, Instructors, and Project Managers.

The United States MTM Association has long been the innovation leader of MTM and continues to develop new and innovative analysis tools and teaching aides. The U.S. MTM Association seeks funding from organizations who wish to help support the U.S. economy through a strong middle class, by helping MTM to support manufacturing industries, and in the future by helping MTM to expand our offerings to the service sector.

Introduction to MTM Systems

MTM is the abbreviation of Methods-Time Measurement. Methods-Time Measurement means that the time required to perform a specific task depends on the method chosen for the activity. Therefore, by establishing a relationship between a recognized method and an accepted standard time, an unbiased and objective work measurement system was created. The MTM method was first published in the book “Methods-Time Measurement” in 1948. Since that time, MTM has been used both as an analytical tool for directly analyzing manual work processes, as well as, a tool for developing standardized building blocks from the MTM basic system (MTM-1). These building blocks are being used to economically describe, quantify, and design a wide range of work processes.

Compared to other systems of predetermined times, MTM enjoys the greatest worldwide distribution as an instrument of industrial engineering and time management. In addition, building block systems were developed based on MTM-1 for application in different process types (mass production, batch production and one-of-a-kind and small variable batch production). MTM offers a worldwide uniform standard for businesses to use in describing and quantifying manual work processes. In the early 1990s, MTM began the transformation from a system of predetermined times to a system of productivity management tools.

Today, the MTM method includes a framework of MTM building block systems used to model the full range of work processes. Within a production system, MTM serves the function of a common language providing a standard for design, as well as, serving as the basis for measurements, comparisons and modifications made at all levels of this system.

The MTM basic system (MTM-1) forms the basis of the MTM building block systems. It conveys the main features of the MTM method and forms the basis for the understanding and application of additional building block systems in such fields of application as product and equipment design, work process and work method design, ergonomic design of work systems and the continuous improvement of processes running in the most diverse company environments.

Development of the MTM Basic System (MTM-1)

The essential impulse for the development of MTM came from the work of Fred W. Taylor (1856 – 1915) and, in particular, Frank B. Gilbreth (1868 – 1924). Gilbreth came to the realization that the run time for a process controlled by a person (manual activity)

  • with the same practice (skill)
  • with the same qualification (ability) and
  • with the same effort (exertion)

within reasonable limits is solely dependent upon the method utilized to complete the task.

In filming numerous Motion Sequences, Gilbreth determined that human motions can be reduced to 17 motion elements, which he called therbligs, a name he derived from rearranging the letters of his own last name. These 17 motions were the “precursors” of the MTM Basic Motions.

MTM was developed by the American industrial scientists: H. B. Maynard, J. L. Schwab, and G. J. Stegemerten and published in the book “Methods-Time Measurement” (1948), which summarizes the basics of the MTM methodology. This formed the basis for research conducted in the 1950’s and 1960’s by the U.S. MTM Association for Standards and Research. Both “Methods-Time Measurement” published in 1948 by Maynard, Schwab and Stegemerten and the subsequent published research reports serve as the “genetic material” for MTM-1.

In order to distinguish the Basic Motions from each other and calculate their time requirements, a large number of industrial work processes were filmed. The actual times were calculated by counting the number of frames per motion (film speed of 16 frames/second). The method of obtaining data is described in full in the text by Maynard, Schwab and Stegemerten. For other motions, e.g., for Walk, the actual times were calculated with the help of time studies.

The time values resulting from the original research were leveled using an American system of performance rating, the LMS System. This method gets its name from the first initials of its originators (Lowry, Maynard, and Stegemerten). The LMS System of leveling considers the following four features in assessing performance: Skill, Effort, Consistency, and Conditions.

Performance at 100% is described in the book Methods-Time Measurement as being:

“…the equivalent of the much-discussed fair day’s work. It was to represent an effort level that could be easily maintained year in and year out by the physically normal operator without in any way requiring him to draw upon his reserves of energy.”


MTM systems have gained the reputation for consistency and fairness.  MTM is widely accepted by unions around the world as providing a fair and consistent standard for work. From the German Works Council (National Union):

“After years of experience, the works council has no particular concerns about the use of the MTM technique”, further, “We have determined that in general our members prefer to work at MTM workplaces.”

MTM systems develop a work standard that both the employer and employee can agree is consistent and fair.

Royalty Free System

MTM is an open system, but it is not in the public domain. MTM systems are proprietary with the copyrights owned by the International MTM Directorate (IMD). All users, trained from an authorized source, are free to use the MTM systems for their business purposes, but are restricted from commercializing the products.  MTM does not charge royalties for the use of these systems.


60+ years advocating the use of MTM Industrial Engineering Systems throughout the United States and the world.

MTMergonomics software

We encourage you to enroll in one of our training classes to learn more about what the MTM method can do for your company.

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