Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


32nd Annual Convention; Atlanta, GA; 2006

Event Details

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Symposium #152
CE Offered: BACB
Technology in Organizational Behavior Management (OBM): Providing Immediate Feedback and Proximate Goals
Sunday, May 28, 2006
10:30 AM–11:50 AM
Area: OBM; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Timothy D. Ludwig (Appalachian State University)
Discussant: W. Kent Anger (Oregon Health & Science University)
CE Instructor: Timothy D. Ludwig, Ph.D.

This symposium includes three research papers focusing current technological trends in Organizational Behavior Management. Each paper includes reports of data-based research conducted in warehouse settings where performance variables of interest included productivity, measured in the number of cased picked per hour, and accuracy, measured by the average numbers of errors committed by employees. The first paper reports on research where an incentive program in a distribution warehouse was enhanced by the implementation of proximal performance goals and immediate feedback based on Engineered Labor Standards and delivered on handheld scanning devises. The second paper reports on the implementation of oral prompts and immediate feedback delivered by computer-voice headsets on selectors in a warehouse. The final paper, in a separate study, compares the impact of the handheld scanning devises, where feedback is delivered visually, versus the voice headsets, where feedback is delivered through an auditory devise, on both productivity and errors. The discussant for this session will review the merits and deficiencies of each study as well as comment on the growing impact of technology on OBM interventions.

Enhancing Incentive Programs with Proximal Goals and Immediate Feedback: Engineered Labor Standards and Technology Enhancements In Stocker Replenishment.
DAVID T. GOOMAS (Tarrant County College District), Timothy D. Ludwig (Appalachian State University)
Abstract: Common incentive programs can be ineffective in maintaining employee productivity. With the advent of Electronic Performance Monitoring (EPM) objective indicators of employee performance can be made immediately available and visible. As a result, work unit goals and performance feedback can be delivered to the employee immediately thereby enhancing incentive programs. Stocking performance was substantially improved in an auto-parts after-market distribution center when the incentive program was enhanced with an intervention package that included the depiction of proximal goal times and immediate performance feedback on wireless hand-held computers using newly implemented labor standards that took into account travel time, box cutting time, and stocking time of each stocking work-unit. A monthly bonus was given to the members of the stocking team if they maintained 100% performance average throughout the month. Upon the onset of the intervention, employee performance increased by an average of 4.46 cases stocked per hour per person, an increase of 24% over the baseline phase, and was maintained for the10-week duration of the study.
Voice Assisted Technology Providing Immediate Feedback to Reduce Employee Errors.
SAM BERGER (Appalachian State University), Timothy D. Ludwig (Appalachian State University)
Abstract: A foodservice distributor in the southeastern United States implemented a voice assisted selecting tool to reduce selector errors by providing immediate feedback when errors occur. An AB design with a non-equivalent control group was used to examine the effects of the voice technology on 132 selectors whose mispicks and shorts were collected over six weeks of baseline and eights weeks of the intervention phase. Selector errors were reduced from 2.44 errors per 1000 cases picked to 0.94 errors per 1000 cases when voice technology was implemented. Further analysis indicated that the immediate feedback provided by voice had a greater impact on employees who were making the most errors during baseline.
Voice Picking versus Bar Code Scanner: Providing Immediate Feedback to Increase Productivity and Reduce Errors.
TIMOTHY D. LUDWIG (Appalachian State University), David T. Goomas (Tarrant County College District)
Abstract: Warehouses are investing in voice technology to provide immediate and individualized feedback after each unit of work in an order selection task. However, another technology that uses handheld devices with screens that scan product bar codes can also be adapted to provide this type of feedback after each work unit. Two case studies reported in this study suggest that the implementation of voice technology had a substantial impact on productivity (number of items selected an hour) as did the implementation of handheld scanning devices. The voice system increased productivity an average of 18% more than did the handheld system. There were no differences between voice technology and handheld scanning associated with a reduction of errors presumably because of dependencies based on upstream events.



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