In a Lean thinking world, companies are constantly seeking ways to reduce the amount of time and resources they use while providing greater quality products to the customer. Implementing takt time in your business plan can help to reduce wasted time and resources and establish a smooth workflow based on customer demand.

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The implementation of takt time is most appropriate when the workflow is repetitive and customer demand is predictable.
The implementation of takt time is most appropriate when the workflow is repetitive and customer demand is predictable.

“Takt” in German can be translated as “keep in time” or “measure.” In a business setting, the takt time is determined by customer demand and helps to create the pace of production.

Using the takt time formula, companies can promptly deliver the right products and quantity to their customers while helping to reduce wasted time, manpower, and resources. The implementation of takt time within a company is most appropriate when the workflow is repetitive and customer demand is predictable.

How to Calculate Takt Time

From a mathematical standpoint, takt time can be described as the following:

Production time available / required units of production (customer demand)

There are a few factors to consider when calculating the takt time in order to get the most accurate and tangible time possible. First, it is important to note that when calculating available time for production, one must consider employee work time and then subtract any time spent on breaks, meetings, shutdown, clean up, etc. This should also include planned and unplanned time (the 2:00 safety meeting that was scheduled for Tuesday).

Calculating customer demand can be done by finding the number of units required by the customer in a given time period (units required/time).

Let’s look at a simplified example of calculating takt time.

A manufacturer operates on an 8 hour workday.

8 hours x 60 minutes = 480 Total Minutes

However, you need to factor in time for breaks, machine startups, cleanup and breakdown. Let’s say that takes 40 minutes from the workday. You would need to subtract this from the total minutes.

480 – 40 = 440 Total production time

The customer demands 100 units per day. Therefore the takt time can be determined as:

440 available production time / 100 units of production = 4.4 minutes (264 seconds)

This means that a completed unit must be finished every 4.4 minutes or (264 seconds) to meet customer demand.

It is important to note that there are times when production can, in fact, become disrupted and you may come up short. In order to be proactive you will need to consider a few things.

If your company uses a process that feeds more than one main line, this will speed up productions of units. If your company allows for additions or options not available on every unit, this may slow the speed of production. If there are shortfalls and overtime is not an option for your business, you will need to build a slight over-speed into your takt time calculation.

Importance and Benefits of Takt Time

Takt time helps companies understand their operations processes through a complex flow; therefore, capacities can be determined easily. Companies can determine the correct speeds of equipment and machinery, in addition to determining the minimal batches needed during changeovers.

Takt time helps managers understand the ideal number of people required to meet the demand of the customers.

This can help lead to greater efficiency within the flow and less wasted time and resources.

Takt time also helps companies visualize their successes during a given time period and thus allows them to see disruptions in the production process. When there is a threat to the output, the team can work to respond to the issues.

If extra time is available or production is struggling, the team can work to rebalance the production stages. Implementing takt time also helps to reduce over-production and thus stabilizes the system and prevents inventory buildups.

In Conclusion

Takt time is the time you need to complete a product in order to meet customer demand. Using takt time can allow businesses to establish a continuous workflow by understanding capacity, reducing waste of process, and avoiding overproduction.

Teams are able to visualize their success and observe disruptions quickly in order to react appropriately. When takt time is incorporated by manufacturer, they are better able to serve their customers in a timely, more efficient way.