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Studies to increase the operating efficiency of packing and processing plants and other establishments that handle farm products have become increasingly important in the marketing research program. These studies have brought to the attention of marketing research people in the Department and the State agricultural experiment stations the techniques of engineering-methods study, a field that had been generally unfamiliar to economists. This paper describes the application of a relatively recent development in this field to a study of operations of pear and apple packing plants. The ratio-delay method is used in analyzing the use of time in plant operations. Among its advantages are its economy and its susceptibility to statistical evaluation of the reliability of the results obtained.


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