Understand how the Lean concept of takt time can help you improve your work efficiency and reduce waste while meeting your customer demand.
A great deal of Lean management’s success lies in pulling new work in progress rather than pushing it. This allows you to create and deliver value only when there is a demand.
However, managing a pull system wouldn’t be possible without maintaining a continuous flow of work. This is not an easy task, as demand is in a constant state of flux. To meet demand and run your process in the most efficient way, you need to define the time for your work process.
In this article, we’ll discuss what takt time is, how to measure takt time, and we’ll offer some practical examples.
Takt time is a key concept in Lean manufacturing, which is a systematic approach to reducing waste and improving efficiency in production processes.
Takt time is the rate at which you need to complete a product or service to satisfy customer demand. By aligning production rate to customer demand, organizations can avoid overproduction, reduce inventory costs, and improve overall efficiency.
In other words, a takt time is your production rate and can easily be categorized as the heartbeat of your work process. It allows you to optimize your capacity to meet demand without overproducing or underproducing.
The term originates from the German word "takt", which means a beat or a pulse. Takt time was first used as a metric in the 1930s in Germany for airplane manufacturing. Twenty years later, it contributed significantly to Toyota's rise from a small Japanese carmaker to the largest automobile company in the world.
The takt time formula in Lean is:
Takt Time = Available Production Time / Average Customer Demand
For example, if you receive a new product order every 4 hours, your team needs to finish a product in 4 hours or less to meet demand.
This means that the company must complete one order every 240 minutes (about 4 hours) to meet customer demand without overproducing or underproducing. If they can produce orders faster than 4 hours, it may indicate that they are overproducing and creating unnecessary inventory. If they cannot produce the order within 240 minutes, they may not be meeting customer demand and may need to adjust their production processes or increase resources.
Takt time is calculated as the available production time divided by the customer demand.
Takt time formula
Let’s calculate the takt time for an imaginary company developing 3D printing machinery. The workweek is five days long, and the company operates in a single nine-hour shift that includes a lunch hour break that lasts 60 minutes and two 15-minute breaks in the morning and the afternoon. The company receives orders for 10 machines per week on average.
To define the takt time that the team needs to maintain, we simply apply the above-mentioned formula.
The total available work time is 7 hours, 30 minutes per day. Breaking it down into minutes gives us exactly 450 minutes per day, which is 2250 minutes per week.
By dividing 2250 by 10 (average number of orders), we get a takt time of 225 minutes to complete a single 3D printing machine. Dividing 225 by 60 (minutes in an hour) gets us to a maximum takt time of 3 hours 45 minutes per order.
2250 / 10 = 225 minutes Takt time
As you can see, defining the takt time required to meet customer demand is not rocket science. With this data available, you can make well-informed choices for managing your team’s capacity according to customer demand.
Defining takt time is crucial for optimizing your team’s capacity. It is important to reduce the waste of your process. Takt time can help you maintain a continuous flow of work and reduce Mura (unevenness) in your workflow. Nonetheless, takt time is valuable for optimizing storage costs as it will help you avoid overproduction.
There are several important benefits of using takt time in Lean:
By calculating takt time, teams can understand the rate at which they need to produce goods or services to meet customer demand. This ensures that production is aligned with actual customer needs, reducing the risk of overproduction or underproduction.
Takt time helps eliminate waste in production processes by ensuring that only the necessary amount of value is created to meet customer demand. This reduces the amount of excess inventory that can be costly to store, transport, and manage.
By aligning production to customer demand and reducing waste in each process, organizations establish a takt time leading to an improved predictability.
Takt time can improve production efficiency by optimizing production rates to match customer demand. This can reduce waiting times, bottlenecks, and other inefficiencies in the process.
Takt time provides a clear target for teams to work towards, making it easier to identify areas for continuous improvement. By progressively improving their value creation process, teams can reduce costs, increase efficiency, and improve customer satisfaction.
While takt time can be a useful tool for improving production efficiency and reducing waste, it does have some limitations. Here are some of the main limitations of takt time:
Takt time is based on the assumption that customer demand is stable and predictable. However, this is not always the case and can hinder production efficiency.
Takt time does not account for the variability of processes and demand and can lead to overproduction or underproduction.
Machine breakdowns, shortages, and employees leave cannot always be anticipated or avoided.
Takt time, lead time, and cycle time are essential Lean metrics; however, there is a tendency to confuse their meaning. While lead time and cycle time indicate how work progresses through your workflow, takt time focuses on the actual production rate of a team or a process.
As a Lean manager, you should consider all three metrics as key performance indicators of your workflow.
The takt time concept refers to the rate at which a product or service should be produced to meet customer demand. Takt time is used to set the pace of production and ensure that products and services are created at the right speed to comply with the customer needs.
Takt time is calculated by dividing the total available production time by the average customer demand.
If you receive a new order every 4 hours, it means that your team needs to finish an order in 4 hours or less to meet demand. In other words, your team’s take time should be within or less than 240 minutes (4 hours).
for outcome-driven enterprise agility.
Takt time is one of the most important Lean metrics. By defining takt time for your workflow you can: