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What is Takt Time: How to Define and Calculate Takt

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One of the significant factors you must remember for lean manufacturing is net available time. That can refer to workers completing tasks in a shorter duration or efficiently educating staff members with training slides. Some are a little more complex, like takt time. That is a tool you can utilize for your company’s lean Six Sigma program. If you’re looking to get your black belt in lean manufacturing and Six Sigma, then you must learn about takt time. You can’t overlook this metric if you want to achieve operational excellence.


What is Takt Time?

Takt time refers to how long it should take to produce an item that buyers demand. If your company has little to no inventory on a good, then it’s significant to know how long it would take to manufacture the merchandise to satisfy customer demand. No matter how much inventory your corporation has, reaping the benefits of takt time will help your business in the long run. It enhances your lean Six Sigma program because it will help you reduce any unnecessary actions in your processes. You could potentially decrease your production time by hours if appropriately utilized. Takt time enables you to determine the ideal capacity to complete an order.


Reducing Waste with Takt Time

“Takt” is a German word for “beat” or “pulse.” That helps describes what takt time does: promotes a constant workflow that keeps your business running efficiently at an appropriate pace. Whether you’re a black or yellow belt in lean management mastery, takt time will be more than making a couple of changes in your process. You must determine the necessary details of the time available in your production line. Takt time is a rate rather than a single measurement. To figure out this capacity and satisfy customer demand, you’ll have to apply the takt time equation.


Calculating Takt Time

You can determine takt time through this equation:

Takt time = total available production time/average customer demand

When gauging production time, make sure to exclude your employee’s breaks or any other time they aren’t working. You want to be as specific as you can with this factor when defining takt time. The time available might be different with each type of worker. That also applies to the rate of production for each order. You do have to count the “breaks” a product takes on the waiting line, though.


Determining Average Customer Demand for the Formula

Your average customer demand can vary by product. If you’re unsure, then give yourself a general time frame. You can have an average customer demand of one week, one month, or try calculating multiple possibilities to provide you with a better framework. To help you, determine how much of each product your company typically sells per day. Figure out the common need for an item to give you an estimate on similar future orders. Defining takt time can take a while whether it’s your first time or you’re a yellow belt in Six Sigma mastery, which is why you can also appoint someone to be your takt time calculator.


Takt Time and Lead Time

It can be easy to confuse takt time for lead time because they are used similarly for lean manufacturing. Lead time is a little vaguer, as it refers to the amount of time between the beginning and end of a process. Companies commonly use it to determine the length of a period between receiving an order and the consumer getting their product. Like takt time, it does consider factors like net available time. Lead time can refer to one or multiple units depending on similarities between production processes. You might have to determine this factor first before you calculate takt time.


Lead Time Formula

Lead time is something you can calculate based on your company’s current production process. It allows you to take a step back and evaluate how exactly your business is completing tasks. Takt time more helps you set an immediate goal for your corporation to increase efficiency. You’ll have a better idea of how to continuously improve performance right down to the minutes per item production. Lead time also has an equation, but with different units. It’s not that complex, but it’s still important:

Lead time = order received – order delivered


Takt Time and Cycle Time

Cycle time refers to how long it takes for your team to complete a product. Arguably, it’s a factor used to calculate takt time and lead time. Cycle time is another determining that measures part of the current process of a company and encourages kaizen. Once your employees are made aware of the amount of time it takes to complete their job, they might pay more attention to improving even the smallest details. Staff members can meet with you to discuss these little changes. You can then relay that information to your other employees with training slides to keep them updated.


A Shift from Calculation to Application

One of the benefits of takt time and cycle time is they improve production line balancing. Your company might have obsolete equipment or methods that you might not have noticed before. Cycle time can help you refine the “total available production time” element in the takt time equation. Even if you’re only reducing the process by a few minutes a day, it still makes a big difference in the long run. Don’t forget to meet with your employees to keep them updated on improvements in production. Not all of them have to be aware of the cycle time calculation,  but you can consider it when selecting staff members for leadership roles.


Utilizing this methodology for your business comes with many benefits, such as preventing overproduction and under-pricing. The consistent workflow can promote manufacturing line balancing by reducing mistakes. Takt time helps continuously improve your planning and lessens the need for your employees to work overtime. Share this information with your staff members and provide a useful example to understand better how takt time works. They don’t have to jot down the details of what they do each hour, but it could allow them to find flaws in their work ethic. Make sure you keep a note of how their changes affect each takt time calculation.


Like cycle and lead time, takt time is an essential tool you must use to implement lean management. Removing waste during your processes is a significant factor in this business practice. The goals can vary with each manufacturer, meaning you’ll have to determine strategies that work best for your company. Your competitors could be an example of using this process to achieve operational excellence. Compare your system to theirs down to the hour if you can. Even if they don’t produce orders as fast as you, they might still have some valuable strategies you can utilize for your company. Mastering takt time will put you on the road to earning your black belt in lean manufacturing and Six Sigma.

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