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Henry Gantt

Henry Gantt Biography
John R. Dunlap ed. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Henry Gantt Biography

Henry Laurence Gantt (May 20, 1861 – November 23, 1919) industrial engineer. He was born in Calvert County, Maryland, United States. During his childhood and youth, he and his family lived devastating moments, especially in the economic part. His parents owned crops in Calvert but remained in ruins after the devastation caused during the Civil War. After that political and social event, they did not overlap economically so they had to live various hardships.

In spite of this, his parents did everything possible so that the young Gantt finished his school training at McDonogh School in 1878 and went to Johns Hopkins University to study industrial engineering. His performance was very good, when he graduated he started working as a teacher and draftsman, Gantt had a great skill for drawing since he was a kid. Then he studied mechanical engineering at the same university. In 1887, he was hired in Frederick W. Taylor to carry out an application of the principles of the Scientific Administration with his work in Midvale Steel and Bethlehem Steel, he carried out this work until 1893. In his career as a consultant, he invented the Gantt diagram.

Later, he designed some systems to measure the efficiency and productivity of workers, such as task bonds and the payment system and other methods that facilitate this process. This diagram became very popular for its simplicity, performance, and quality at that time, as well as at this time, pointed out the various tasks to be performed in a horizontal timeline, it has been used as a tool in operations that require strict temporal planning. However, Henry Gantt’s studies focused on the analysis of the performance of work methods, which depends on his judgment of the willingness to use the correct methods and skills.

Gantt was very concerned about leaving his knowledge embodied in paper, therefore, in 1908 presented before the American Society of Mechanical Engineers the text: Training of workers in habits of diligence and collaboration, in which he exposed the need to change the employer’s tactics; it is not a way of acting in the place, in the techniques, in the work, in the information, in the habits, in the possibilities, in the efficiency and in the efficiency of his work. As a complement to this, it is a bonus system that has been added to work and work done in a standardized time standard.

With these measures we tried to raise, not only the quantity, but above all the quality of work, following Taylor’s theory, the so-called common prosperity theory: what he says is that the worker has a kind of personal satisfaction to do the job well, this generates a feeling of pride that will make you try harder. For his part, the employer will notice an increase in productivity and the sum of a reduction in labor disputes. This is exposed with mastery in work, wages, and benefits (1913).

In the field of administration, his most known contribution is the graph of the bars such as the chart or the Gantt chart, which is composed in a diagram in which the horizontal axis represents the units of time, and in the vertical is recorded the different functions, which are represented by horizontal bars. With the help of this engineer, companies and the discipline of business administration is very broad, some of them are: the Gantt diagram, the development of the concept of industrial efficiency, the implementation of the system of Bonds of Tasks, with this adopted the premium to the workers. And he also implemented the Daily Balance Chart.

It was also very emphatic to ensure that companies have a social responsibility, in their opinion, companies have obligations for the welfare of society. His support for the scientific organization of work is also highlighted. When he worked for Frederick W. Taylor, with whom he collaborated in the application of his own doctrine to improve productivity, and in the second stage of the Industrial Revolution.

After 14 years of being at Taylor’s side, he made the decision to separate from this because his interest was the humanization of industrial practices and the dehumanized theories of Frederick Taylor. Unfortunately, in his last years of life, Gantt did not have the opportunity to finish several of his projects because his health was undermined. Finally, Henry Gantt died on November 23, 1919, in the town of Pine Island in New York.

His importance lies in the fact that it is the founder of scientific administration, an activity developed in the United States that later spread throughout the world with the idea of ​​achieving humanization, rationalization, and performance.

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