Skip to main content

Using Takt Time to Drive Improvement

Takt time (or cycle time) is a term that is very rarely understood outside of engineering circles, but can apply to different businesses who need to improve their business processes. The reason for writing this post is to help people who approach their business improvement with no real objectives other than to be better than they currently are.

When continuous improvement approaches are used in isolation there is sometimes a lack of understanding about how good  an improvement needs to be in order to serve the business from the perspective of profit and customer service. Sometimes we pat ourselves on the back when we make improvements, but the improvement might not go far enough.

Calculating takt time is a simple approach that divides the amount of demand into the available time. For example, if you need to handle three enquiries every hour, then that means that the task (nominally) should be designed to be no longer than 20 minutes. Obviously this example assumes that there is nothing else that needs to be done within that hour, but I hope you see the point. If the task currently takes forty minutes and we reduce it to twenty five minutes that's a great improvement, but not good enough for where we need it to be.

Using the takt approach can help you provide meaningful targets for your staff / teams when they are using business improvement tools on their own areas of the business. Ideally, takt time should be considered when you are starting improvement activities as it helps to shape the overall resource levels and approach you take when you are beginning business process improvement projects.


Smartspeed Consulting Limited
Taking the frustration out of on time delivery.

Popular posts from this blog

Where to start with Kaizen, if you just aren't sure

Kaizen is a great word. It is a word that can unleash the potential of both a business and an individual. Kaizen means more than just continuous improvement. It is a word that is linked to: Confidence Growth Exploration Courage Many people I speak to, that are new to improvement projects, aren't sure if they are on the right path when it comes to embracing the spirit of Kaizen. If you are also one of these people then let me share with you a few thoughts that can help you feel at ease about starting and leading change. Start with your concerns A great place to start your improvement life is with anything that isn't right. Getting your concerns out into the open really is the first step for most of us. If you aren't happy with something, raise it. This isn't only a great place to start, but something that you shouldn't give up. Whenever a standard is not being met, or not even defined, get vocal and then do something about it. Start small The intention of Kaizen is

Stimulating Kaizen opportunities - the 'mechanical' way!

I often end up in conversations about how to stimulate Kaizen ideas and opportunities. If you have read my other posts, you will know that I split the improvement journey into two halves. For many people, the initial Kaizen focus is all around fixing things that are wrong / not working properly. Once you get past this point you need something else to focus and motivate you to generate improvement opportunities. The two halves of the Kaizen journey The discussion that I often end up in, is the one around the imagination quandary. People talk to me about not being creative, or not being inspired to come up with improvement ideas. Do you ever feel this way? It seems that there is a popular view that some people are creative and some aren't. Great Kaizen ideas are not just the product of 'creative' people. There are lots of ways that you can generate improvement ideas without having to sit on a mountain top cross legged waiting for inspiration. Finding a 'mechanical' w

Kaizen projects: being honest about being off track

Projects, especially improvement projects, have a tendency to get off track. There is often a clear distinction between projects for customers and projects for ourselves. If our improvement projects fall behind then our customers won't be barking at us; it is no wonder that if something is going to slip it is our Kaizen endeavours. For some people this can be a tough conversation to have. No one wants to be a 'failure' and pride often gets in the way. In my experience it seems that it is believed to be far more credible to ignore the requirement to improve than to admit that we aren't making progress. So, if you find yourself (and your business) in this situation, what can you do about it? Let me share with you two options to increase the visibility in your business around progress with projects and four options to help get your projects back on track. Increasing visibility Ok, no more hiding the status of Kaizen activities . This also means no more being precious about