Takt time is the rate at which you need to complete a product in order to meet customer demand. It comes from the German word for beat or pulse in music.  Within manufacturing, takt is an important measure of output against demand.  

Takt time was first used by German engineers during the 1930s when the country was experiencing a boom in manufacturing due to the ongoing war. The concept started to be used in Japan soon after, when Toyota applied it within its (Toyota Production System), before gaining popularity around the world as part of the lean principles

How to Calculate Takt Time

Unlike lead time, inventory turns, and cycle time, takt cannot be measured with a stopwatch. Rather, takt must be calculated. 

Takt is calculated by dividing the available production time by customer demand. Available production time can be defined as the time needed to build a product from start to finish. Workers’ breaks, scheduled maintenance, and shift changeovers are excluded when computing available production time.   

 

 

For example, if a manufacturer has a takt time of five minutes, then it needs to complete a product every five minutes in order to meet customer demand. 

Let’s go deeper with another example. Manufacturer G operates 1,000 minutes per day. Its customer demand is 500 widgets per day. To calculate takt time, we divide production time by customer demand: 

1,000/500 = 2 minutes

In order for Manufacturer G to meet demand, it needs to produce a widget every two minutes. 

Benefits of Takt Time

Manufacturers who implement takt time into their production operations stand to benefit in a number of ways: 

  • Bottlenecks are quicker to identify as stations slowing the production line can be easily identified
  • Faster to locate underperforming stations in a production line
  • Production lines are stripped of waste as manufacturers focus on value added work
  • Takt instills routine functions on the production line, enabling operators to work faster and produce more output

Limitations of Takt Time (and ways to get past them) 

  • It only takes one station to halt the production of an entire line
  • Short takt time can increase the likelihood of injury and machine breakdowns, as workers rush to meet this optimal production rate
  • Takt does not take into account unpredictable variables such as bathroom breaks or reset periods between units
  • As customer demand increases, production lines need to be restructured to accommodate shorter takt time

Digital technologies can be deployed in anticipation of takt’s limitations. Production visibility tools could be implemented to gain real-time visibility of factory operations and digital shop floor dashboards could be used to check whether takt time is being observed, and which operators are falling behind or getting ahead of takt. 

Conclusion

Takt time is an important metric for manufacturers. As factories become more digital, takt is becoming easier to measure and track. More than ever before, manufacturers can leverage takt time to improve their operations. 

Tulip’s manufacturing app platform gives you full visibility into shop floor processes. Curious how Tulip can help you institute a human-centered approach to machine monitoring? Get in touch for a demo