Takt, a key concept in lean manufacturing, is derived from taktzeit, the German word, which means clock interval, beat, or pulse. It’s based on the concept that all business activity is in sync with a beat based on customer demand.
It is the time that must elapse between the production of two consecutive units of the same product to meet customer demand. In simpler terms, takt time is the rate at which the product needs to be manufactured to satisfy customer demand.
This means that the production line of a business with a takt time of ten minutes creates a complete product every ten minutes. This is because on average customers buy their finished product every ten minutes.
Takt time is usually measured in weeks or months rather than short time periods.
Importance of takt time
Takt time is important for businesses because it does the following:
- Highlights the capacity, synchronization, and quality issues among business processes. You are able to quickly detect if something threatens required output.
- Regulates production and resources to fulfill customer demand. You can ensure that the right quantity of the right product is delivered at the right time to customers.
- Aligns processes with their subsequent ones, resource requirements with demand, and business operations with production needs.
- Drives strategic and tactical business decisions.
- Balances with cycle time, which is the time taken to complete the production of one unit from start to finish. If cycle time exceeds takt time, you won’t be able to meet demand. If it is less than takt time, your processes will be inefficient.
Impact of takt time on businesses
Takt impacts businesses in the following areas:
- Waste reduction: When the production rate is in sync with demand, you produce only the quantity required by customers and deliver it on time. You can also reduce storage space, thereby curtailing unnecessary expenses.
- Overtime management: Inefficient manufacturing processes can cause underproduction, which in turn may lead you to impose overtime to meet deadlines. This can frustrate your employees and affect product quality. It may also cause customer dissatisfaction. Takt time implementation helps prevent such situations.
- Decrease in errors: If you implement takt time, you can divide the complex processes into smaller parts and assign a fixed time for each. Thus, when there is a problem, fault detection and resolution become easy.
- Improvement in pricing: If cycle time and takt time are balanced, there will be no excess stock in the inventory. You won’t need to decrease the price of products to get rid of the glut. This means that your profit margins won’t be affected.
Successful takt time implementation
Efficient production means aligning production rate with takt time. You can do so according to your business requirements:
- Understand your demand well by checking your customers’ order patterns. Use order data and not production data.
- Estimate production time and calculate takt time.
- Collect correct cycle times and compare them to takt time. Do it diligently because poor processes have considerable variations. Besides, there could be different models of the same product in production on the same line.
- Try to balance cycle times to takt time. This may mean adjustments in processes and changing employees.
- Identify bottlenecks in capacity utilization and streamline operations. You can do this by assigning work to underutilized workers, combining work functions, decreasing batch size, and maximizing operating time.
- Explain the reasons for implementing takt time to all stakeholders, to garner their support.
- Use a good inventory management software to keep track of all goods so that you have accurate records of demand at different times.
- Implement an e-commerce platform that has automated ordering and tracking. This reduces waste of employee time and effort.
Takt time has a significant role in the smooth functioning of supply chains. Moreover, it brings order to all business processes. Implementing it in your business will also increase customer satisfaction and loyalty.