What is Takt Time?

Takt Time refers to the speed at which a product must be manufactured in order to meet customer demand.

The Benefits of Takt Time

Implementing Takt Time into your organization is beneficial for a number of reasons:

  • Identifying bottlenecks – If an organization is making Takt Time a priority, bottlenecks tend to be spotted quicker as processes that could be slowing the production line are more easily identified.
  • Underperforming employees – A focus on Takt Time helps being able to spot employees that are underperforming.
  • Waste elimination – Putting an emphasis on Takt Time helps to eliminate waste and puts a focus on work that is value-added.
  • Instills routine – An awareness of Takt Time tends to instill routine into a production line, which enables faster operations and the production of more output.

How to Calculate Takt Time

To calculate Takt Time, you will divide the available production time by customer demand. Available production time means the time available to build a product. This excludes any time spent on breaks, maintenance, or changeovers.

For example, if workers are available for 7.5 hours or 450 minutes of an 8-hour shift and a client wants 150 units completed in a day, the Takt Time is 3 minutes.

Takt Time = available production time / customer demand
= 450 minutes / 150 units
= 3 minutes per unit

What is Cycle Time?

Cycle time can be defined as the actual amount of work time needed to complete a single task.

The Benefits of Cycle Time

Increased profitability – By maximizing cycle time, you have the ability to increase profitability and cut down on your costs. By understanding exactly how time is spent, you can know where cutbacks can be implemented.

  • Consistent production – When you have a firm grip on your processes by putting a focus on things like Cycle Time, you can have more efficient and consistent production.
  • Realistic timelines – In understanding Cycle Time, you are better equipped to give more realistic timelines to employees, thereby avoiding disappointment and increasing customer satisfaction.
  • Addressing inefficiencies – Data that comes from assessing Cycle Time allows you to spot and address any potential inefficiencies.
  • Better project scoping – If you do not have a solid understanding of the time needed by your team to complete a task, you are unable to accurately scope work for your customers.
  • Outpace the competition – Using the data that comes from your Cycle Time allows you to have the chance to put your company at a competitive advantage by being able to make adjustments to stay ahead of the curve with the shortest possible production time.

How to Calculate Cycle Time

In order to calculate Cycle Time, you will be dividing net production time (NPT) by the number of units produced. Net production time is the production time when any breaks or downtime are stripped away.

Cycle Time = NPT / number of units produced

For example, if it takes 80 minutes to produce 20 units, the Cycle Time per unit is 4 minutes.

Takt Time vs Cycle Time: What’s the Difference?

Takt Time refers to the amount of time a product needs to be manufactured in order to satisfy demand, while Cycle Time refers to the amount of work time it actually takes to create a product. These two terms are definitely related, but they can absolutely be out of sync with one another. For example, you can have a Takt Time of two days in order to be ahead of backorders but have a Cycle Time of three days needed to complete the job.

In order to offer the best service to your customers, your Cycle Time should be in agreement with your Takt Time or even a bit ahead of it.

Takt Time vs Cycle Time: Who would use Takt Time and/or Cycle Time?

Takt Time and Cycle Time would definitely be used by the same organizations. It is just as important to know the demands of the customer as it is to know the real-world time that it takes for the work to be done. If Cycle Time exceeds the Takt Time, it is important to look at the processes involved in production to see if there are adjustments that can be made in order to rise to the occasion. It is also important to be forthright with the customer if the Takt Time is too far off from the Cycle Time for completing the order in the time demanded to be realistic. If the Takt Time exceeds the Cycle Time by a significant degree, it could allow your employees to work at a more relaxed pace or to be able to fit in other orders.

Choosing Between Takt Time and Cycle Time: Real World Scenarios

If you are a manufacturer where the Takt Time needed by a customer for an order and the Cycle Time are not in line with each other, it is important to look at just how out of sync they are. For example, if an order is placed and the Takt Time per unit works out to 2.75 seconds and the Cycle Time is greater per unit but only by a negligible amount, then you will likely still want to fulfill the order. If the difference is small enough, you may not even need to make any major adjustments. For instance, if the Cycle Time per unit is 3 seconds and the order placed is for 200 units, that quarter of a second difference may not be much of an issue. If, however, the disparity between the Takt Time and the Cycle Time is significant, you may need to make adjustments to processes or reject the order all together.


Having a firm understanding of both Takt Time and Cycle Time is extremely important for doing good business. Being able to keep these two times in sync with one another makes for happy customers that are likely to keep coming back. If you find that the Takt Time and Cycle Time are not lining up, you will need to look at your processes to see where improvements can happen in the Cycle Time. Otherwise, you will have to turn down the orders if the Takt Time is simply unrealistic when compared to how much time it actually takes to make each unit.

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