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Takt time is a term that refers to the rate of production required to meet customer demand. For example, if a company’s customers require 40 units each week – the takt time required to meet this demand is 1 hour per unit (assuming a standard 40 hour work week). The word “takt” is actually the German word beat or pulse.
Calculating accurate takt time is a bit more complicated than just the simple formula proposed here.
Time Available To Produce / Number Of Units Needed
If a production were to rely solely on that formula, they would likely underestimate the speed in which they need to produce each unit. Factoring in equipment breakdowns, errors in the production line, employee break times, and other variables are needed to get closer to an accurate accounting of takt time.
Furthermore, if you are producing products in a consumer goods vertical, understanding takt time requires a bit of predictive analysis.
A great example can be seen in ice cream production. A responsible ice cream production company should be able to have a rough idea of the demand for their product as based on previous years. However, in the case of a widespread heatwave or unseasonably cold summers, this demand can vary widely.
Lean organizations seek to cut down on waste by getting as close as possible to producing goods in sync with an accurate takt time. And takt time is not just limited to the physical manufacturing, software companies who rely on lean business practices need to have an understanding of takt time in order to keep a constant flow of work in the pipeline for employees to complete.