Resource Page: Takt TimeDuring the month of August – while many are taking time off to enjoy summer – we will be offering a resource page on a different topic each week. The resource page features an overview of the week’s topic and links to the best related content  across iSixSigma. This week’s topic is takt time.

What Takt Time Is

The German word takt means musical meter or beat. In a manufacturing setting, it is used to refer to the pace, or “beat,” of production. First used as a production management tool in the aircraft industry in Germany, takt time  is a measure within Lean manufacturing that represents the rate at which a completed product needs to be finished in order to meet customer demand.

Described mathematically, takt time is:

Available minutes for production / required units of production

For example, a factory operates 1,000 minutes per day. Customer demand is 500 widgets units per day. The takt time, then, is:

1,000 / 500 = 2 minutes

Note that the time available for production should reflect the total number of hours employees work minus time spent on any breaks or meetings.

If the available production time for the factory extended to 1,500 minutes per day, the takt time would change to:

1,500 / 500 = 3 minutes

Why use takt time? Businesses that are following Lean principles want to know the minimum level of resources necessary to deliver to customer demand. Takt time is a tool for doing that – it helps companies establish workflow that follows a consistent and smooth pattern based on demand. The use of takt time works best in settings where the work is repetitive and the average demand is predictable.

What Takt Time Is Not

As important as describing what takt time is, it is just as important to understand that takt time is not the same as cycle time (unless a business unit clearly defines it as such).

Cycle time is the time it takes to complete a process – the inherent vagueness of that definition is exactly why cycle time is not the same as takt time. Cycle time is broad enough to encompass nearly anything; takt time is one specific calculation.

More Takt Time

To learn more about takt time and related topics, explore the following articles and discussions on

About the Author