Takt Time

Quick Definition

Takt Time is the pace of production (e.g. manufacturing one piece every 34 seconds) that aligns production with customer demand. In other words, it is how fast you need to manufacture product in order to fill your customer orders. Takt Time is calculated as:

Takt Time = Planned Production Time / Customer Demand

Expanded Definition

The term Takt Time comes from the German word Taktzeit, which loosely translates to “rhythmic time” or “keeping a beat”, similar to the ticking of a metronome or the movement of a conductor's baton. Takt Time is a key concept in lean manufacturing. It is the heartbeat of a lean organization – matching actual production to customer demand. It is not a goal to be surpassed, but rather a target for which to aim:

There are two different yet related ways to use Takt Time. Both are valid and useful – they simply look at customer demand from different perspectives:

The following is a simple example of a Takt Time calculation. To perform the calculation, two pieces of information are needed:

ItemData and Calculations
Shift Length (A)8 hours (480 minutes)
Breaks (B)2 short x 15 minutes plus one meal x 30 minutes = 60 minutes
Planned Production Time (C)A – B = 480 minutes – 60 minutes = 420 minutes
Customer Demand (D)400 pieces
Takt TimeC / D = 420 minutes / 400 pieces = 1.05 minutes / piece

With this example, we know that if we produce one piece every 1.05 minutes (or 63 seconds), our production will be aligned with customer demand.


Integrating the use of Takt Time into your manufacturing operations will:

Related Topics

Comparing Takt Time, Cycle Time, and Ideal Cycle Time

A common point of confusion is the difference between Takt Time, Cycle Time and Ideal Cycle Time. They all represent the time to produce a piece – so how do they differ?

Takt Time for the Plant Floor

A common use of Takt Time is to pace a production line. Takt Time can be used to drive a Target Counter, such that each time the Takt Time elapses, the Target Count increments. Typically, the Target Count is shown alongside the Actual Count (the number of good pieces that have been produced) and the Efficiency (the ratio of Actual Count to Target Count).

Visualizing a target can be as simple as a white board that is manually updated once per hour or as sophisticated as an electronic scoreboard that automatically updates in real time. Visual feedback can be a very powerful motivator for operators, especially when it is in straightforward and understandable terms such as Target/Actual/Efficiency.

Standardized Work

Standardized work refers to instructions that capture the best practices for manufacturing a given item in an efficient and highly repeatable manner. It is important to note that through kaizen these best practices are likely to continue to improve over time.

Standardized work helps to eliminate unwanted variability in the manufacturing process, which diminishes the opportunity for defects to be created. It also results in a much more consistent “per piece” manufacturing time (i.e. standardized work also helps eliminate variability in manufacturing time). Thus, in most cases standardized work instructions will have an associated Takt Time.

As touched on earlier, Takt Time can serve as a goal for kaizen activities that focus on making improvements to the production process. The results of these activities should ultimately be captured in standardized work instructions.

Flexible Manning

Customer demand rarely holds steady – it often fluctuates in unpredictable ways (especially over the short term). One way to cope with this is flexible manning (other ways include overtime and inventory buffers). With flexible manning, work processes and the associated standardized work instructions are designed to run with a variable numbers of operators.

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About Vorne: We are a recognized leader in improving manufacturing productivity. We publish oee.com, leanproduction.com, and perfectproduction.com and appear in leading journals and conferences. Our flagship product is the XL Productivity Appliance™.

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