takttimeTakt Time is an expression derived from the German word Taktzeit, which can be roughly translated as “keeping a beat”, “rhythmic time” or “pace compass”. In Lean Manufacturing, Takt Time is the time necessary to manufacture a product (or service) in order to meet customer demand.

In order to calculate Takt Time, an organization must know its “available time for production” and its “required units of production”, these are described as:

  • Available time for production is the amount of time available for work to be done, i.e. the full time of a shift minus breaks, meetings, scheduled maintenance, team briefings, etc. This may be expressed as minutes/shift, seconds/day, minutes/day.
  • Required units of production represents customer’s demand; the number of units required to be produced per period under consideration (shift, day, week). It can be expressed as parts/min, units/shift, pieces/day, and so on.

Assuming that an item is manufactured one unit at a time and at a constant rate over the available time for production, the Takt Time is the time that must elapse between the completion of two consecutive items in order to meet customer demand. Takt Time should be expressed in the shortest unit of time possible (usually seconds), allowing to measure even the smallest improvement.

Takt Time can be calculated in almost every facet in a business environment. It is used in the manufacturing industry, control tasks, or even in administrative activities. It is, however, more common in production lines that move a product along a line of stations, each of which performs a predefined task until its final completion.

Takt Time is a management tool that can bring many benefits when it is implemented correctly, some of them are:

  • In production lines, stations that need more time than planned (bottlenecks) are easily identified. This facilitates the identification and consequent solution of areas in need of attention.
  • There is motivation to eliminate or reduce the load of all non-value adding tasks.
  • Productivity is increased since workers and machines perform sets of similar tasks every day, reducing the need for recurrent adaptation.
  • By limiting overproduction, Takt Time stabilizes the system and prevents buildups of inventory.

Producing at a higher rate than indicated by Takt Time results in overproduction and producing slower than Takt Time means that customer orders may not be accomplished at the time when they are required. Takt Time is fundamental to implement Lean Manufacturing because it allows to synchronize every step of a process with its final output. This will enable organizations to take the necessary measures to prevent overproduction and to meet customer demand.