Frederick Taylor was a mechanical engineer who pioneered the principles of scientific management. He was passionate about improving efficiency during the late 1800's through the early 1900's. Frederick's efforts in applying engineering principles to factory environments were some of the first to later develop into what we know today as industrial engineering.
Taylor passed the entrance exam for Harvard but did not attend Harvard. Instead of pursuing extended education he chose to become an apprentice patternmaker and a machinist at Enterprise Hydraulic Works in Philadelphia. Eventually Mr. Taylor would complete his apprenticeship and move on to climb the ladder of the Midvale Steel Works. It was here that Fredericks talents would eventually lead him to hold such positions as chief engineer.
Legend has it that when Mr. Taylor first began working at Midvale he noticed that the workers were "soldiering" or not working as hard as they should have been. Taylor was later promoted to foreman where he would begin to study the outputs of work. In many cases this study of outputs was very similar to the statistical analysis performed today in six sigma. Frederick realized that the only way he could effectively improve outputs at Midvale he would need to know how much work would be expected from each of his resources, both machines and people. Because he was one of the first known men to study the "human" component of production, Taylor's studies and methods of management were given the name scientific management. This new method of management consisted of four main principles listed below:
After leaving Bethlehem Steel, Taylor focused the rest of his career on publicly promoting his management and machining methods through lecturing, writing, and consulting. In 1911, Taylor introduced his The Principles of Scientific Management paper to the American mechanical engineering society, eight years after his Shop Management paper.
On October 19, 1906, Taylor was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Science by the University of Pennsylvania. Taylor eventually became a professor at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. In early spring of 1915 Taylor caught pneumonia and died, one day after his fifty-ninth birthday, on March 21, 1915. He was buried in West Laurel Hill Cemetery, in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania.