Takt Time Calculator: What is Takt Time and How is it Calculated?

Takt time is a term used in Lean manufacturing to refer to the amount of a time a manufacturer has per unit to produce enough goods to fulfill customer demand.

Established as a production management tool by Germany in the 1930s, takt time (“Taktzeit” in German which roughly translates to measure, cycle, or pulse) was designed as the interval measurement at which aircraft would move to the next step in the production process. Adopted by Toyota in the 1960s, takt time has since become a universal manufacturing production term.

So, how does takt time fit into production and when do you need a takt time calculator, specifically? The answer is simple.

What is the Purpose of Takt Time?

In a broader sense, takt time is designed to evaluate the “rate of which the customer is buying a product,” according to The Toyota Way, written by Jeffrey K. Liker. “Takt can be used to set the pace of production and alert workers whenever they are getting ahead or behind,” Liker explains.

Calculating takt time gives you a better understanding of your service delivery process which can help to eliminate waste and deficiencies and increase productivity and efficiency.

What is Takt Time in Lean?

Lean manufacturing (and Six Sigma manufacturing, too) focuses on reducing wastes in the production process, and by default, takt time is an effective tool in ensuring a Lean manufacturing process. One person referred to it as “the heartbeat of Lean manufacturing.”

Takt time is a process “in which the steps can be written out and waste identified and eliminated to create a better flow.” Eliminating waste and creating continuous flow is what drives Lean manufacturing.

How Do You Calculate Takt Time?

To use a takt time calculator, the formula is simple. To calculate takt time:

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

For example, if a customer requires 200 boxes of cereal made in a 10-hour time period, you would calculate:

10 hours of time / 200 boxes of cereal

You would need to produce a box of cereal every 3 minutes. Sounds simple right? It is, but don’t forget that takt time does not account for the amount of manpower needed to produce a box of cereal or breaks such as lunch or meetings. If you know there is an hour lunch scheduled in the 10-hour day, you would need to revise your formula to represent 9 hours of time.

What is the Difference Between Takt Time and Cycle Time?

Let’s be clear – takt time does not equal cycle time. The two serve very different functions in the manufacturing process.

Cycle time is the amount of time it takes to produce a product. Takt time is a customer demand calculation that tells you how many products need to be produced in a given time period to meet customer demand. While the terms mean different things, it is important that they equate to a similar number, otherwise, it could indicate a problem on the plant floor.

For example, if cycle time is greater than takt time, it’s an indication the production process is not as efficient as it should be and you may need to improve a portion of that process. This can result in overtime, poor metrics, backlog of production, or even loss of customers. Similarly, if cycle time is less than takt time, this can also indicate a lack of efficiency. Maybe you’re overstaffed or simply, you may consider adding additional work to that particular process such as producing more product.

What is Takt Time and Lead Time?

Takt time, as explained above, applies to customer demand and the amount of time a manufacturer has to produce enough goods to fulfill said customer demand. By extension, the lead time is the total time it takes from receiving an order to delivering that item to the customer.

The two go hand-in-hand. While takt time focuses on the amount of product needed to meet customer demand, lead time explains how long it takes to deliver the product. It’s an example of a streamlined, continuous manufacturing process.

Does Takt Time Include Breaks?

The answer to that is, sort of. We kind of touched on this is in an earlier paragraph, but the formula does not automatically consider breaks. You will have to do that on your own. To reiterate, let’s say you have 5 hours of production time available to produce a specific amount of product. But, that 5 hours becomes 4 when you remember there is a weekly production meeting scheduled for that day.

So, you need to recalculate that formula using the correct number of production time available – 4. So, while, yes takt times do include breaks, it is crucial that you, as the manufacturer, consider and include breaks before calculating takt time.

Can Takt Time Vary Daily?

The answer is, yes. Let’s talk even further about the example above. If you have a scheduled shift, there are various factors that can influence the amount of production time available on any given day – scheduled holiday hours, lunch breaks, meetings, etc. Additionally, if a customer wants more or less product, takt time will vary according to customer demand.

Using Toyota as an example because they’re an example of optimal Lean manufacturing, they calculate takt time on a monthly basis with reviews of the calculated takt time every 10 days. Learning by example, it is important you continuously improve your manufacturing processes by recalculating and updating metrics on a regular basis.

Why is Takt Time Important?

If you’ve read to the end of this blog and have now arrived at this particular question, you should know the answer, however, it wouldn’t hurt us to write it out once more.

Takt time is important in Lean manufacturing. It helps to calculate customer demand and how to meet that demand. It is a start to finish process that ensures a continuous flow of products to satisfy customer demand. Without takt time, it would be difficult to correctly measure the efficiency of the production process. The overall benefit?

Takt time ensures availability and increases efficiency.


Takt Time Calculator: What it Takt Time and How is it Calculated?
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Takt Time Calculator: What it Takt Time and How is it Calculated?
What is takt time? Use a takt time calculator to determine how much product you need to produce in a given time period to meet customer demand.
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