What is Takt Time?
Takt Time is the rate at which production is required to meet customer demand.
I have recently been assigned to a ten year old production line that is need of a major overhaul. Over this ten year period, the line has averaged one to two major process changes per year. I say ‘changes’ because even with good intent, changes are not necessarily improvement initiatives. Without the proper time studies, and review of Just In Time (JIT) inventory, ergonomics, and Takt Time, changes could be nothing more than redesign of failure into more failure. Much like computer software, and the first thing learned in programming 101; junk in – junk out.
Calculating Takt Time
Understanding Takt Time is to understand that on any given day, the volume at which your units are produced must match that as closely as possible to the daily demand for those units by your customers. Take, for instance, a company that builds large steel equipment. To determine Takt Time, I first consult the production schedule, then back it up with review of existing orders from Marketing to see what’s coming down the pike. Unlike high-speed manufacturing where there can be thousands, or millions of units produced per day, large steel equipment is manufactured over the course of weeks and months. Our vendors are located all over the world and ensuring we receive our materials and components on time are an important part of this equation.
Not only is it required that we meet customer demand at the right time, but our suppliers, and our supplier’s suppliers (sub-suppliers) must meet that same demand as us. In this production line, our customers demand 15 units per day. Two shifts of production total 14 hours per day. (When calculating total production time, remember to subtract for breaks, lunch, meetings, 5S cleaning, etc.) Calculation: 14 hours x 60 minutes x 60 seconds = 50,400 total available seconds. Divide by the total number of daily units required by the customer, 15, to get 3,360. This means that each unit, regardless of the number of people assigned to the production line, and regardless of the number of different configurations are required from the customer, each unit must be manufactured in 3,360 seconds (56 minutes) to meet customer demand.