From The Gantt Chart – a Working Tool of Management by Wallace Clark, 1923

In 1917, after a careful inspection of certain factories in which Mr. H. L. Gantt had installed his methods, general William Crozier, then Chief of Ordnance, retained Mr. Gantt to act in a consulting capacity on production, first at the Frankford Arsenal and then, immediately after the declaration of war, in the Ordnance Department at Washington.

Large orders have been placed with arsenals and other manufacturing plants for the production of arms and munitions, but it was difficult to get a comprehensive idea of what progress was being made in the filling of these orders. Quantities had suddenly jumped from hundreds to millions, and it was impossible to convey by means of typewritten tables the significance of such unusual quantities or the time necessary to produce them. Charts of the usual type were unsatisfactory because they did not sufficiently emphasize the time and because of their bulk, since only one item could be put on the sheet.

Mr. Gantt concentrated his attention on the development of a method of charting which would show a comparison between performance and promises. Several years previous to this time, he had used a chart on which the work for machines was laid out according to the time required to do it. The Gantt Progress Chart, as develop from this early form, was found to help in the making of definite plans and to be highly effective in getting those plans executed. The rate at which the work goes forward is continuously compared with the advance of time, which induces action to accelerate or retard that rate. These charts are not static records of the past – they deal with the present and future and their only connection with the past is with respect to its effect on the future.

General Crozier quickly grasp the possibilities of this chart and helping to fix responsibility for action or lack of action and had it introduced in various branches of the Ordnance Department. During 1918 these charts were used in the United States arsenals, in the production of naval aircraft, and other government work, such as that of the Emergency Fleet, the Shipping Board, etc.

After the Armistice Mr. Gantt resumed his private consulting practice. With these charts, which provided a new method of presenting facts, he was able to reverse the usual way of installing production methods and to build up a system of management which could be understood not only by every individual connected with the management, but by the workmen as well. This marked a new era in the usefulness of the management engineer.

Mr. Gantt never made any attempt to patent or copyright his charts. He not only gave samples to anyone who asked for them, but published them in several magazine articles and as illustrations to his work “On Organizing for Work.” He was always glad to have other people make use of his knowledge.

Since Mr. Gantt death, November 23, 1919, there has been an increasingly earnest desire on the part of workmen, managers, and owners of industrial plants to get at the facts in regard to the operation of their industries, to measure the effectiveness of management, and to secure fair play for both workman an owner. Because the Gantt chart, wherever it has been used, has been of such a great value as a means to attain those ends and because the author believes that it’s development Mr. Gantt has rendered an undying service to industry, it is here presented in such a way as to make it available for more general use.

At the beginning of the book the principle of the Gantt chart is stated, especially the feature with distinguishes it from all other charts, namely: Work planned and work done are shown in the same space in their relation to each other and in their relation to time.

The technique of drawing the chart is explained fully, not with the idea of confining the reader to any rigid rules but to give him the results of years of experience in the development of the charts to their present state, so that it will not be necessary for him to go over the same ground. This technique has been worked out with the purpose in view of making it easy to draw the chart and easy to read it correctly, that is, to understand readily the action which should be taken.

The application of the chart to the various classes of work in the usual industrial plant is outlined and the possibilities of a much broader application are suggested.

Collectively the charts show whether or not equipment is being used at any given time and, if not, the reasons for idleness; fix responsibility for idleness and are effective in preventing it; show how the work of individual employees compares with a standard of performance and emphasize the reasons for failure, thus fixing the responsibility for the removal of these obstacles; enable to work to be readily planned so as to make the best possible use of available equipment and to get work done when it is mounted. These charts show the load of work planned for a whole plant or an entire industry, give a continuous comparison of performance with schedule, and make it possible for an executive to forsee future happenings with considerable accuracy and to overcome obstacles more easily.

In the chapter on the American Merchant Marine an outline is given of the application of the various types of Gantt charts to the solution of an exceedingly complicated problem which arose during the Great War.

In conclusion, the effects of the use of these charts are outlined briefly. Although they are only lines drawn on paper, where they are used in production is increased, costs and inventories are reduced, special privilege is eliminated, initiative is stimulated, an organization is built up of men who “know” and workmen become interested in their work.

In the appendix Mr. Frank W Trabold has given his experience as to “How a manager uses Gantt Charts” and Mr. Walter N. Polakav, in “The Measurement of Human Work,” has explained the philosophic concept behind these charts.

The reader should not get the idea that this book presents a complete method of management; it merely presents a part of such a method, that is, the part played by the Gantt chart in solving specific problems, in getting at the facts in any situation, and in presenting those facts so that they will be understood in their relation to time.

There is perhaps no limit to the application of these charts. They have been successfully used in both small and large businesses, ranging from automobile painting shops, employing two or three men, to nationwide industries. They have been used in storekeeping, all kinds of office work, foundries, drop forge shops, textile mills, printing and publishing plants, machine shops, power plants, public service corporations, shipbuilding and many other kinds of work.

The author wishes to acknowledge help in the preparation of this book, which has been generously given by Messrs. Walter N. Polakov, Frank W. Trabold, Fred J. Miller, George M. Forrest, Howard A. Lincoln, George H. Rowe, Karl G. Karsten, William E. Camp, and by Leon P. Alford, who suggested the series of aricles on “The Gantt Chart” for Management Engineering, from which this book has been developed.

Above all, the author wishes to acknowledge his indebtedness to Mr. H. L. Gantt. He placed service to others before profit to himself. It was such men as Gantt that Woodrow Wilson had in mind when he said: “All that saves the world is the little handful of disinterested men that are in it.”

Wallace Clark
New York City
April 10, 1922