Takt Time

Takt – the English synonym for this German word is Beat/Rate. Technically, Takt Time can be defined as the time available per unit for producing any requirement. For e.g. if a company sells 1 smartphone every 2 minutes during an 8 hour day, it clearly implies that it has to produce the same amount in the given time.

Calculating Takt Time

Customer Requirement: 200 Smartphones / day

Available Production Time:  480 mins  (8 Hours = 8 x 60 mins = 480 mins) – 60 (Meal & Short breaks) – 10 (Machine Setup) – 10 (Team Briefing) = 400 mins

Takt Time= 400 (mins available) /200 (Smartphone requirement) = 2 mins/smartphone

Therefore, it is quite imperative that every 2 minutes one smartphone has to be produced.

Takt time = Total time available for Production / Demand (Number of items to be produced)


How is Takt Time different from Cycle Time?

Cycle Time is defined as the time taken to complete a production and is often confused with Takt Time of production. Takt time signifies the required rate of production whereas cycle time is the actual time taken for production.

Cycle Time should always be less than or equal to Takt Time. It is always good to have Cycle Time less than the Takt Time as it will compensate for any slack or machine downtime that may arise during the production time.

One might also be forced to think what if the lesser Cycle Time results in higher production of materials? It is definitely possible and hence, the process should be re-visited at a regular interval to monitor and identify the buffer time. Process streamlining should be done accordingly to avoid overproduction (which is one of the wastes according to Lean Methodology).

Where can Takt time be used?

Takt Time can be used in any industry wherever there is a customer demand and their requirement has to be fulfilled. For example in manufacturing, it may be generation of spare parts to a whole product whereas in service industry, it may be a phone support to the customer or any service support given to the customer. Defining Takt Time helps in streamlining and optimizing the business to give efficient output.

What are the benefits of having a defined Takt Time?

    • Defining a Takt Time helps in removing any bottlenecks that may arise anytime during the production cycle. It helps in identifying the exact step which is causing a delay – it is therefore important for the organization to define the Takt Time appropriately for all the tasks that are involved in the production of a unit.
    • It makes the production team to look at ways of removing of non-value added steps/wastes and optimizes the process for a better output.
    • Better time management of both automated and manual process can be established and monitored for obtaining desired results.
    • Increased productivity once the process is streamlined as the same repetitive tasks result in faster turnaround time (due to improved skills) and lesser or no ambiguity in performing the tasks.
    • The setup time is comparatively lesser as time progresses and the machine downtime can be overcome as there would be more clarity on how the production can be achieved once the machines are up.

We have seen the benefits of having Takt Time in an organization and would be happy to weigh its merits, but it is good not to overlook at the drawbacks. Drawbacks are important for us to judge any slack or deviation in any process which a machine/system cannot account for. So, now let’s look at some of the drawbacks of defining Takt Time.

Drawbacks of Takt Time

    • A very stringent Takt time may cause lot of pressure on the employees if the Takt Time is not defined correctly or give less breathing time for any changeovers between the tasks to be performed.
    • It can create boredom in employees and they are easily demotivated if they have to perform repeated tasks day in and day out. (Organizing fun at workplace and rewards would keep them active and motivated. Having Kaizen events would make them feel about their contributions and they would look at ways of improving the existing process.)
    • If there is a downtime at any one step it brings a halt to the entire system.
    • A sudden increase in customer demand may result in reduction of Takt Time that in turn passes the additional stress on the employees – of course if not managed by the organization through buffers (usually 5% to 6% but depends on the forecasting by the organization).

The benefits definitely outweigh the drawbacks and that is why almost all organizations let it be manufacturing or service industry adapt this in their systems. The drawbacks can be easily overcome by an organization by simply monitoring and implementing right solutions for the benefit of the employees and business.

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