Increase Your Business Productivity with TAKT Time and Cycle Time

What is TAKT time? What is Cycle Time? And how can they make you more productive?

Being more productive increases your business income and customer satisfaction. In today’s post we’ll talk about what TAKT time and Cycle times are and how they make you and your business more productive!


TAKT time has a variety of meanings depending on what you want to achieve with it but in general, TAKT time is the time required to meet your business / customer demand or need.

In meeting a customer need, let’s say you run a fast food restaurant and your customer is willing to wait, at most, 5 minutes to be served (i.e from when the order is placed to when the order is served). In this situation, the TAKT time is used to meet a customer need. Of course, every customer need should immediately become a business need but for the purpose of the differentiation, because the need first arises from the customer, it’s called a customer need.

On the other hand, meeting a business need would be when the business management decides on their own to increase their sales productivity and instead of selling 30 meals a day, they want to sell 40 meals a day. In this situation, TAKT time would be used to meet a business need.

So, TAKT time could be used to calculate, for example, ‘how long should it take to warm a meal’, ‘how long should it take to make a burger’, ‘how long should it take to make a hair’.

In today’s post, we’ll talk about TAKT time in regards to meeting a business need!

Cycle Time

Cycle time, on the other hand, has one definition –which is the amount of time it takes to produce one business unit. See it like this, your TAKT time is your target –it’s where you want to get to; while your Cycle time is where you are currently.

So in a situation where you calculate the TAKT time for warming a meal, if you want to be more productive and meet your customer / business need, your Cycle time must be equal to or less than your TAKT time.

An Actual Example

An example from an actual business might help you understand TAKT time and Cycle time better and how you can use them to make your business more productive.

A hair dressing salon uses 3 hours (Total Cycle Time) to braid a person’s hair; and in a working day (9:00am – 5:00pm) of 8 hours –including one break hour—which makes it 7 working hours, only two persons’ hair can be braided by one person.

The process of braiding a hair in 3 hours involves three steps. They are:

STEP 1: Cut the braids 10mins (Cycle Time)

STEP 2: Comb the braids 10mins (Cycle Time)

STEP 3: Do the actual braiding of the hair 2 hours 40mins (Cycle Time)

This hair dressing salon now has a customer demand of making 5 persons’ hair in a day and the management wants to see how possible this is to achieve without having to just assume before taking the decision to go ahead to meet this customer demand.

When you ASSUME; you make an ASS-of-U-and-ME! Make Data-driven decisions –decisions based on facts and numbers!

What can this salon do to make a decision?

Step 1: Calculate the TAKT time.

TAKT time = Net time available for production / customer demand

Your TAKT time to meet will be: Net time available for production = 7 working hours = 420 working minutes for hair braiding / customer demand = 5 persons’ hair;

TAKT Time = 420 minutes / 5 hairs

TAKT Time = 84 minutes / hair

Meaning in order to meet up with the customer demand of making 5 hairs in a day, you must not spend more than 84 minutes on one person’s hair –which is 1 hour 24 minutes.

Step 2: Calculate your Cycle Time

Since you already know how much it takes you currently to braid one hair –which is 3 hours. Then your Cycle time = 3 hours.

Step 3: Find the Bottleneck

A bottleneck is the process that takes the longest time in production.

Your production processes are these:

STEP 1: Cut the braids 10mins

STEP 2: Comb the braids 10mins

STEP 3: Do the actual braiding of the hair 2 hours 40mins (Bottleneck)

Step 4: Make Cycle Time <= TAKT Time

As I already mentioned earlier in today’s post, in order to meet your business or customer’s need, your Cycle time must be equal to or less than the TAKT time.

The TAKT time here is 84 minutes, let’s leave it at 80 minutes and keep some buffer. So, TAKT time now equals 80 minutes.

Total Cycle time = 180 minutes (3 hours); Bottleneck = 160 minutes (2 hours 40 minutes).

Your workstation size is the amount of persons allocated to a production unit.

Let’s assume one workstation = 1 person; meaning only one person works on a hair.

Workstation is calculated by dividing TAKT time by Total Cycle time.

Workstation size = Total Cycle Time / TAKT Time

The workstation size you need to meet your TAKT time = 180 minutes / 80 minutes

Workstation size = 2.25 persons, since we cannot have 2.25 persons; workstation size = 3 persons.

What does this mean?

This means that you need to have 2 extra hands working on a person’s hair in order to meet up with your TAKT time (customer’s demand).

These two extra hands should be assigned to the bottleneck process –which is the STEP 3 (the actual braiding of the hair).

Always work on reducing the bottlenecks.

When the bottleneck is worked on by adding two extra hands, your Cycle time now becomes 74 minutes.

This is how you get 74 minutes: Steps 1 and 2 remain the same –20 minutes (10 minutes each); Step 3 now becomes 160 minutes / 3 persons = 54 minutes (approximated) / person. This means the 3 persons are working parallel to each other on Step 3 and this is counted as 54 minutes in your Cycle time calculation.

This, dames en heren, is how you can be more productive in your business using the TAKT time and Cycle time calculations. It sounds pretty simple using the example given here but in reality it involves a lot more depending on how complex the production process it. Parallel tasks, batch size and other factors can be included in these calculations; but like I said, depending on how complex the production process is.

With easy production processes like the example used in this post, I see no reason why you should not do this to improve on your business productivity.

For more advice and tips on today’s post, you can contact us via the contact us page.

You can also contact us regarding questions about any other ICT in Business related problems.

We are Ya’ats Advisory Services and we’re here to bring customer satisfaction your way.


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