Takt Time
Introduction
Takt Time is the pace or rhythm of work production needed to meet customer/client demand. It is the available work time in a specified time period/frame divided by the number of units of work needed/demanded in that same time frame. It takes into account any shifts worked and makes allowances for planned unavailable times (for team briefings, standup/standing meetings, breaks, planned maintenance, etc.).

Takt Time is a useful concept for balancing demand and supply/resources. It is simple to use where the demand rate is consistent and/or consistently known but can also be very useful where demand fluctuates and where the time resources are variable (staff come and go; there are interruptions, etc.).

Takt Time = Available Time /Customer Demand

Example: If your customer requires 100 units a day, the Takt Time in minutes for one work day (using 7.5 actual work hours) will be -

7.5 hours/100 units = 450 minutes (7.5 hrs.X 60 mins.)/100 units = 4.5 minutes per unit

-OR-

Example: If you have 100 requests for service each day that you must address, Takt Time will be -

7.5 hours/100 service requests = 450 minutes (7.5 hrs. X 60 mins.)/100 service requests = 4.5 minutes per request

This means the specified unit of work needs to be completed/delivered every 4˝ minutes. Therefore, every step/unit needs to be done/delivered every 4˝ minutes. Every effort should be made to first identify and eliminate waste in order to equalize the actual time variations in each step within the process -- and then to balance the workload.

Steps to Calculate Takt Time
    1. Calculate your demand, i.e. what does your customer typically want every day/week/month.
    2. Calculate your available time = working time minus regular ‘non-direct’ time (stand-up meetings, breaks, vacations, sick time, cleaning, etc.). This is simply the work time in the time period selected, regardless of the number of people actually doing the work.
    3. Calculate your Takt Time: Divide the available time by the demand.
How You Can Use Takt Time
1. Compare current worker cycle time against Takt Time.

2. Identify steps to rebalance work and, if necessary, adjust the amount of work so each employee has a full job. This avoids the build up of Work in Process or waste due to waiting.

3. Consider the inputs each worker receives to do the work and take steps to adjust these to match Takt Time.

4. Regularly (each week in most cases or whatever the appropriate time period is for your process) recalculate your Takt Time to ensure it reflects current circumstances and adjust staffing levels accordingly.

Examples
There are 11,018 claims that come into your unit each week. You have 27.5 staff to process these claims. What would be the pace at which each claim has to be processed in each step to meet the demand in a timely way? 1,886 work minutes a week available (1 FTE) = .17 minutes for each claim 11,018 claims per week A claim would have to be processed roughly every 10 seconds in (each step of) the process in order to have no backlog (meet customer demand) for that week.

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