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SATRA TimeLine

The powerful new SATRA TimeLine management system tool is now available for members.

by Austin Simmons

One of the key objectives at SATRA is to help the footwear industry improve productivity. In the 1970s, SATRA developed sophisticated management systems based on established work study methods, and these have been progressively refined into a number of tools made available to members to improve overall production efficiency.

At the time, these tools were predominantly aimed towards Western-based manufacturers, but today companies located in Asia are starting to follow a similar route, embracing manufacturing change in order to maintain competitiveness.

Demand in traditionally low labour cost parts of the world has, until recently, been limited, with most manufacturers preferring more labour-based solutions to their manufacturing needs. However, shortages of workers and rising wages have led to many companies looking for other solutions.

Under pressure to reduce the total process times (not only to reduce the product cost, but also to meet higher standards of customer delivery), manufacturers in today’s production environment need to introduce new styles of footwear in the shortest possible time – often in a few days, compared to weeks, which was common several years ago. This reduced time puts enormous pressure on the pre-production planning processes, such as costing and product engineering and scheduling, which can negatively impact material availability, delivery and quality assurance if not carried out correctly and accurately.

SATRA TimeLine is the latest SATRA management system enabling factory production planners to not only produce reliable and realistic direct labour times (and, therefore, cost) for each operation based on the expected method, but also quickly evaluate any proposed variations. It is often possible to improve the way the product is made and the production line is planned, laid out and balanced, in order to reduce operation times. The effect on overall efficiency can be considerable, and we have examples of significant improvements in total process time on the whole line when using SATRA TimeLine.

What is SATRA TimeLine?

SATRA TimeLine is a database and configuration tool that enables manufacturers to calculate the optimum time required to carry out virtually any shoemaking operation. These times provide data for labour costing, planning production, line balancing and machine utilisation requirements. A key aspect of SATRA TimeLine is the opportunity to examine the balance of value added/non value added aspects for each operation and identify unnecessary movement or inefficient working methods.

SATRA TimeLine will also provide the production management with a detailed operation analysis to assist with training and monitoring production efficiency. The system screen provides visualisation of the process sequence, enabling the user to run a theoretical production line before committing effort to the real thing. Potential production holdups, slow processes and imbalances can be quickly identified. The user can then easily reconfigure the layout and check to see if it is improved. SATRA TimeLine is equally applicable to manufacturers regardless of size, methods, machinery used, fashion content or product price bracket.

Preparation of an assembly line

"The effect on overall efficiency can be considerable"

At the core of SATRA TimeLine is a well-established, predetermined international time system that identifies the time required to complete simple actions. This has been combined with the times required to carry out typical shoemaking operations based on a decade of SATRA’s own research. SATRA TimeLine can be connected to various information technology systems and also incorporates the facility to output data to other costing-based programmes.

What are the benefits?

There are a number of benefits to using SATRA TimeLine. These include:

How does it work?

SATRA TimeLine is a combination of internationally recognised time measurement principles, and SATRA derived research and experience of optimising manufacturing processes within the footwear industry. Work operations are broken down into a set of basic motions such as ‘reach’, ‘grasp’, ‘position’ and ‘release’, and standard times for each motion are calculated based on industry best practice. Each of these ‘elements’ is allocated a time based on the action plus the distance travelled. These have been coupled with specific machine operation times which have been developed from extensive research carried out by SATRA. They provide an unparalleled level of accuracy for understanding the optimum time required for all shoemaking operations.

Typically, our consultants find that factory values are often based on inaccurate timing methods. In addition, methods and procedures often get changed without re-evaluating the effects on operation time. The result is an inaccurate predicted manufacturing time, leading to poor cost control and inefficient production.

The SATRA TimeLine package

Simulation of a balanced line

The SATRA TimeLine package consists of a number of options depending on the level of expertise of the factory production planning team.

The general starting point will be ‘entry level’, consisting of a period of system installation, familiarisation and training. The factory will then be provided with an ‘action plan’ – a four- to six-week period for more familiarisation of the system and data creation (which can be sent back to SATRA for off-site analysis). SATRA will then visit again to provide further training, confirm competence, check method statements and work place layouts.

For organisations wanting to further explore the principles of factory planning and work study, SATRA has an advanced level training programme available.

SATRA recognises that not all factories are familiar with work-study techniques, and it may be necessary to bring operatives up to a basic knowledge with a pre-entry level appreciation course before commencing general SATRA TimeLine training. Any requirement for this will be determined by a test before starting entry-level training.


SATRA TimeLine has been specifically developed for use with other SATRA management systems such as SATRA VisionStitch and SATRASumm. This, coupled with our comprehensive and unparalleled knowledge of shoemaking operations makes the system unique.

In conclusion

SATRA TimeLine is a major new development in SATRA’s range of products, and is based on tried and trusted production efficiency methods derived from SATRA research developed over many years. Exclusive to members, SATRA TimeLine provides a sophisticated tool to manage all aspects of labour cost control, as well as monitoring and improving manufacturing productivity. The system is now available and can be installed in member companies supported by a comprehensive consultancy and training programme.

How can we help?

For further information on SATRA TimeLine, please email

Publishing Data

This article was originally published on page 30 of the January 2013 issue of SATRA Bulletin.

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