Takt Time Explained

4 min readMar 12, 2020


Whenever we talk about the lean management paradigm, we know that the success of this approach belongs majorly to pulling new work from the market instead of pushing it. This enables the organization to generate value to their customers only when there is a proper demand for it.

Still, when we look at the facts, we get to know that managing this constant pull system would not be entirely successful if the organization is not capable of maintaining a seamless flow of work. Normally this is a hard promise to keep because the demand is in a never-ending state of flux.

This is where Takt time comes into play because, to meet the daily bloating demand and running your business activities most productively, you need to incorporate Takt time in your work process. So, what is Takt time? Let’s take a look.

What is Takt Time?

Takt time is the workflow rate you need to achieve if you want to deliver a specific product or service to meet the demands of the customers.

To make things clear, consider the scenario that if you want to receive a constant flow of new orders every 4 hours, your team needs to finish the production of every product in 4 hours or less.

Takt time can also be categorized as your sell rate and is considered as the most important criteria you need to fulfill if you want your work process to generate impressive results.

It optimizes your capacity most effectively so that you can fulfill any number of work demands as soon as possible.

A quick history lesson about Takt — The word “Takt” is from the German language meaning pulse. The term was coined in the 1930s in the German Airplane industry.

2 decades later, it single-handedly changed the fate of Toyota, turbo-charging its growth from being a small Japanese automobile company to the largest car manufacturers in the world.

How do you calculate Takt time?

To calculate this metric, you need to divide the complete available time by the customer demand.

If you want to get the most accurate result using this formula, you need to input both the available time and customer demand in the form of frames.

A pro-tip for you in this endeavor is that you should only input the active working time of your team into this formula. That means that you have to exclude every break, shift changeovers or any scheduled maintenance from this time input.

When you are defining Takt time for your product or service, you should include a very short time frame for the customer demand that is normally set to a week or a month depending on the size of the project.

Let’s consider a scenario in which we will calculate the Takt time for a company that develops 3D printing hardware.

The workweek set to complete this endeavor on time is five-days long. The daily routine is that the company requires a nine-hour work shift that also includes a 60-minute lunch break with an additional 2, 15-minute breaks, in the morning and the afternoon.

Let’s calculate the Takt time by using the upper mentioned formula now.

The total available time minus the breaks is 7 hours 30 minutes daily. If we break down this time into minutes then it comes as 450 minutes per day. Multiply that with 5 times a week then it comes as 2250 minutes per day. Let’s take the number of orders to be 10.

When you apply the formula and input the values, the answer comes out to be 225 minutes which in hours is 3 hours and 45 minutes of production time per product.

Takt Time = Total Available Production Time / Average Customer Demand

Takt Time= 2250/10= 225 minutes

This shows us that calculating the Takt time takes no time at all and when you have all the values in your records, you can easily fulfill this vital criterion and optimize your whole work process.

Lead Time vs Takt Time vs Cycle Time

When people try to incorporate this strategy into their work process, they often confuse these three-time types with one another. Takt time is superior, but no mistake, the other two are also some very important lean metrics that benefit your business.

Let’s take a look at all three of the metrics and find out the differences.

  • Cycle Time: This is the time which the production team spends actively working on a specific project
  • Lead Time: This is the time frame between the customer request and the moment they receive their complete order
  • Takt Time: This is the maximum amount of time the team is allowed to finish a specific client demand

If you’re in the position of a Lean manager, you are required to monitor all three of them to optimize your workflow performance.

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Why is Takt Time important?

Takt Time is an important metric that is vital in optimizing your team’s capacity to complete more and more orders. It is also important because it reduces all of the time and effort your team wastes in production.

All in all, Takt time is extremely valuable in reducing your storage costs as this metric is an expert in helping you avoid overproduction.

Originally published at https://www.ntaskmanager.com on March 12, 2020.




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