When you own a business that produces products or other deliverables, the saying that “time is money” is especially true. The faster you can turn out products, the more money you make. In lean manufacturing, takt time is a key concept for ensuring that your production process and project timelines are as efficient as possible.
Lean manufacturing is used by companies in a wide variety of industries to improve the flow of products through their production process. In its most basic form, lean manufacturing is about eliminating waste and ensuring that the products being produced are those that the customer wants and needs.
One of the ways that lean manufacturing accomplishes this is by using takt time to match the rate of production to the rate of customer demand. In this article, we will look at what takt time is and how it can be used to improve the efficiency of your production process.
Let’s jump in!
What is takt time?
When you are running a business that produces deliverables according to demand from customers, it is essential to have some way of measuring how fast your business can produce those deliverables. The takt time metric is the key to doing just that.
Takt time is simply the amount of time it takes to produce one unit of output at a steady rate based on customer demand. This measurement is used to ensure that the production rate of your business matches or exceeds customer demand so that you never fall behind or have too much inventory on hand.
The takt time metric is based on two factors:
- Available work time is the amount of time you have to work each day
- Desired lead time is the amount of time you want to keep between receiving an order from a customer and shipping the product to them
Once you know your available work time and desired lead time, you can calculate your takt time by dividing the two. For example, if you have eight hours of available work time each day, and you want to keep a four-day lead time, your takt time would be two hours.
This calculation can help you determine how many units of output your business can produce each day (or week) to meet customer demand. It can also help you identify areas where you may need to improve efficiency to meet demand.
What is lean manufacturing?
Every second wasted in the product or content pipeline is a second that can never be recovered, so it’s essential to have a streamlined flow of work that minimizes waste and maximizes efficiency. Lean Manufacturing is the philosophy and set of techniques that helps businesses do just that.
The heart of Lean Manufacturing is “takt time” which is the amount of time it takes to produce one unit of product or service, multiplied by the number of units per hour that you wish to produce. This establishes the “beat” of your production line, ensuring that all workers are always busy and that there is no wasted time or motion.
Lean manufacturing involves:
- Continuous improvement — constantly looking for ways to streamline the process and reduce waste
- Visual management — using boards and charts to track progress and identify problems
- Standardized work — ensuring that everyone is doing the same tasks in the same way, so there is no wasted motion
- 5S — organizing the workplace so that everything is easy to find and use
- Poka-Yoke — designing devices and processes that prevent mistakes from being made
How does takt time influence lean manufacturing?
One of the most important aspects of lean manufacturing is takt time. If your takt time is too slow, you will not be able to produce enough units to meet customer demand, and if it is too fast, you will have excess inventory. This will impact your bottom line in a number of ways, including increased costs and decreased profits.
So, how is takt time used to support lean manufacturing? Takt time is used to calculate the cycle time for each process and to determine the amount of work that needs to be done in order to meet customer demand. It can also be used to help you identify areas where you can improve efficiency and reduce waste.
In order to calculate your takt time, you first need to know the following:
- The average number of units that customers order per day
- The amount of time it takes to produce a unit
Once you have these numbers, you can use this formula:
Takt Time = (Average Number of Units Ordered Per Day) / (Production Time)
If you want to produce more units, you need to shorten the amount of time it takes to produce a unit. If you want to produce fewer units, you need to lengthen the amount of time it takes to produce a unit.
Using takt time can help you to ensure that you are producing the right amount of units to meet customer demand, while also minimizing waste. It is an essential tool for any lean manufacturer.
The benefits of having an efficient takt time
Time is everything in the production world, which is why you need to have a good takt time. As explained above, your takt time should be compared with the customer demand in order to see if there is a mismatch. If there is, then steps must be taken to correct it.
There are many benefits to having a good takt time, such as:
- Improved quality. Shortening your takt time doesn’t mean skimping on quality. When everyone is focused on meeting the takt time, it actually results in higher quality products since there is less room for error.
- Increased productivity. Tightening your pipeline is like tightening the screws on a piece of machinery — it makes everything run more smoothly and efficiently. When everyone is working towards the same goal, it leads to increased productivity and improved morale.
- Faster time to market. By having a good takt time, you’re able to get your products to market faster since you have a better understanding of how much needs to be produced on a daily basis.
- Reduced waste. All those wasted minutes or hours add up, and that’s why it’s so important to have a good takt time in place. When everyone is focused on meeting the target, it reduces the amount of waste that occurs in the production process.
While it’s not always easy to maintain a good takt time, the benefits are definitely worth it. With a little effort and organization, you can have a production line that is running like a well-oiled machine.
How to improve your takt time and promote the lean manufacturing model
If your takt time is too long, you will not be able to produce enough products to meet customer demand. This can lead to inventory shortages and dissatisfied customers. However, if this is your current situation, don’t fret. There are ways to improve your takt time and promote the lean manufacturing model.
Analyze your process
The first step is to analyze your current production process. This includes looking at the amount of time it takes to produce each product and the amount of time it takes to move products through the production line. You may need to make some changes to your process or invest in new equipment to speed things up.
In order to improve your takt time, you also need to eliminate waste from your production process. This includes things like excessive processing, unnecessary motion, and defects. By eliminating waste, you can speed up the production process and produce more products in a shorter amount of time.
Train your employees
Finally, you need to train your employees on how to use the takt time correctly. They need to be aware of the importance of meeting customer demand and producing products at the correct pace. By doing this, you can ensure that your production process is running as smoothly as possible and that you are able to meet customer demand.
More ways to promote lean manufacturing within your business
As well as the calculation of takt time, there are a number of other ways to promote lean manufacturing within your business:
- Visual management boards can be used in a variety of different ways, but all have the same goal: to keep everyone on track and informed about what is happening throughout the production process. One example of this is a kanban board.
A kanban board is a visual aid that uses cards or other visuals to represent the steps in a process. As each step is completed, the card is moved to the next stage. This allows everyone involved in the process to see what has been done and what still needs to be done, as well as identify any bottlenecks.
- 5S is a system that helps you organize and clean your workplace. It involves five steps: Sort, Set in Order, Shine, Standardize, and Sustain.
The goal of 5S is to create a workplace that is clean, organized, and easy to work in. This not only makes it easier for your employees to do their job, but also makes it easier for them to identify and correct any problems that may occur.
- Continuous improvement is a process that involves constantly looking for ways to improve your business. It involves setting goals, measuring progress, and making changes as needed.
This process aims to make your business as efficient and effective as possible. This not only helps you become more competitive, but also helps you reduce waste and improve quality.
It’s no easy task to refine your processes and make your manufacturing operation as efficient as possible, but the payoff can be significant. Not only will you see a decrease in waste and an increase in productivity, but you’ll also likely experience improved quality and customer satisfaction.
Takt time is the amount of time it takes to produce one unit of a product, multiplied by the number of units per hour that you want to produce. It’s an important metric to track because it can help you ensure that your production lines are running at the correct pace and that you’re not producing too much or too little product.
If you’re looking to implement lean manufacturing in your business, it’s essential to understand and utilize takt time. By doing so, you’ll be well on your way to improving the efficiency of your operations and achieving the desired results.