How to Calculate Takt Time? Saving World by Lean

How to set up our processes to work on takt time? This is crutial question of every process owner, manufacturing engineer, project manager or production supervisor. There are some factors that are required to understand. And this short article will help you with understending it.

This article covers:

  • Takt Time example – vaccination center
  • Takt Time definition
  • Takt Time fomula
  • Cycle Time vs Takt Time
  • Cycle Time definition
  • Average time and bottleneck
  • Lead Time vs Cycle Time
  • Excel spread sheet download

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Takt Time example – Vaccination center

One of my favorit ways how to understand anything is understand it on examples. Let me share my tatk time process set up experience at Covid-19 vaccination center.

I´ve got my first vaccine shot, yesterday. I was impressed how process was set up on Takt TIme. Let me share my experience with Zatec vaccination center organization. (I live in Czech Republic).

You know, I work in Lean organization for a while. So, it seems to be my professional deformation to monitor processes behavior. Whatever restaurant or bar I enter, cake shop, or shopping center, I am wandering what will surprise me, and what I would improve. What a strange guy am I (LOL)

I entered center with no special expectations. I just knew from information message, that it will take 7 minutes to get my vaccine.

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And just positive surprises just rise up. There were 4 different stations I had to pass through. Last one was waiting room.

  1. Incoming check point – ID control and simple health check document filling
  2. Medical check – my health status check by doctor based on filled document
  3. Electronic evidence – review my initials in the system
  4. Vaccination – I received vaccine
  5. Waiting room – 15 mins relax, with 2nd shot date possible change.
vaccination flow sketch

There were about 7 people at check in, about 9 were in the process, and 15 in the waiting room. And I can say, nobody was waiting anywhere in the process more than 1 minute.

I have noticed that all stations were set up on takt time to reach those 7 minutes max. There were 2 ladies helping with documents filling at incoming check station. 1 doctor on medical check. 2 different electronic evidence as well as 2 vaccination stations. One nurse sitting in waiting room changing schedules and ready to help in a case of emergency.

What a great process set up. Well I am admiring all people working in health care services for their involvement in last 1,5 year. But also, for being well organized in vaccination process.


How health service can work on takt time? I was stuned.

Why Lean and Six Sigma are used together? – read now

Takt Time definition

All 3 indicators are here to help us to understand how we are able to fulfill customer demand.

So, every think starts at the customer requirement. Customer demand sets our takt time. Takt time is an average pace, that facility must work, to make customer happy. Is calculated in minutes or seconds.

Example, customer requires 1000 of our products per month of May. There are 21 working days in May twenty twenty-one. If, facility works on one shift and the shift last 8 hours which is 480 minutes, our takt time will be:

21 x 480 / 1000 = 10.080 / 1000 = 10.08 minutes.

Takt Time formula

Available days per month times number of working minutes per day divided by customer requirement or targeted production

Takt time formula

To fulfill customer requirement, our takt time needs to be maximum 10.08 minutes. That means, approximately each 10 minutes in average, we need to finish product.

In reality, nobody can work 480 minutes with 100% focus, called efficiency. There are brakes and natural human needs, like drinking, chatting, unstable focus, that decreases efficiency. All these have to be subtracted. So, first subtract brakes.

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Cycle Time vs Takt Time

Well, there is a difference between Tatk Time and Cycle time. I would say, takt time is a theoretic, cycle time is realistic value about how fast we must work to fulfill customer requirements. From theoretic value brakes, efficiency, downtimes, discrepancies must be subtracted to have a real udnerstanding of how fast we need to work. Let me explain on some calcluations:

Lets say, there is 30 minutes brake in the shift: We must subtract brakes from total wrok time.

480 minus brakes = 480 minus 30 = 450 minutes

The best companies are reaching 75% efficiency for human operations.

Efficiency can be incorporated by multiplication of 0.75 number, in this case: 450 times 0.75 = 337.5 minutes.

For machines and automated processes, use 95% efficiency.

Now, how this have affected our takt time? 480 minutes must be exchanged by 337.5 number calculated previously.

21 x 337.5 = 7087.5 7087.5 / 1000 = 7.1 minutes rounded.

With brakes and efficiency counted in, product must be finished in every 7.1 minutes in average, to fulfill customer requirement.

But not always processes goes smoothly. There are discrepancies, downtimes that occurs and are affecting our processes. We must count also with regular maintenance.

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Cycle Time definition

Takt time must be subtracted by brakes, efficiency, discrepancy, regular maintenance and downtimes, to be able satisfy customer needs. Result is called Cycle Time.

Takt time vs cycle time

Let’s count with discrepancy only to make this example easier. 3% discrepancies will affect takt time this way

3% discrepancy ratio means, it is something wrong with 3 pieces out of 100 produced pieces. So, to produce 1000 OK pieces, we have to make 30 more. Total products needed to be finished is 1000+30= 1030.

21 times 337.5 divided by 1030 = 6.9 minutes

So, we cannot work on takt time anymore, if we want to satisfy customer. Here is, where cycle time comes to place. In this case maximum average time our process must work is 6.9 minutes. If exceeding, improvement or some change has to be done to get there.

Now, what I mean by average time.

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Average time and bottle neck

If one product takes us 3 minutes another 9 minutes, and production amount is the same, we are still ok, because average cycle time is 6 minutes.

Final cycle time is defined by the slowest process – called bottle neck. This time can be improved by adding mahcines, shifts, or people. All depends on addressed process. But I will strongly recommend to try to improve and decrease this time as much as you can by eliminating wastes in the process.

Lead time vs Cycle time

Lead time is an addition of all cycle times and waiting times from all processes product is going through. So, let say, there are six different processes. Each within cycle time. But there are products waiting to be processed for any reason on some stations. These times must be counted with to lead time.

Lead time serves us to understand how fast we can respond on customer request.

DMAIC example in manufacturing – read here

Takt Time / Cycle Time Excel automated calulator to download:

There are 2 list in the spreadsheet. One with example described in this article, second blank. I have used 3 different colours to differentiate data needed to be filled and automatic calculations. Green fields are required to be filled by you. Yellow ones are steps automatic calculations. There are all steps described in this article. Blue are TT, CT, LT results.

There are 4 calculating windows. FIrst is about available time in a month. FIll in callendar days, weekend and hollyday days. Required is also efficiency filling you count with. I recommend to use 0.65 to 0.75 efficiency. based on how fast is you process.

Following information is about number of shifts and hours you count with in the shift. Shifts are in spreadsheet rows. Estimate discrepancy ratio, downtimes, required maintenance. Fill in customer demand or targeted production, the production you would like to reach in that particular month.

Last two windows are final calculation windows. You find Takt Time calculated first, then Cycle Time. Lead Time is in the different window. You must enter all cycle times for each process. I recommend to get those numbers by measuring real cycle times by using stopwatches.

Here is a free link to download all 3 indicators.

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Do not be afraid of using lean. It gives us logic and proved approach to improve processes, our lives and surroundings.

erik from six sigma mania

Your sincerely Erik

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