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Takt Time

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Takt Time


Takt Time - Takt is derived from a German word Taktzeit, meaning clock interval, pulse or beat. It is the concept that all activity within a business is synchronized by a beat, set by the customer demand. In other words, it is the production rate at which one unit should be produced or serviced in order to meet the customer demand

Takt Time is calculated as Total Available Time divided by the Customer Demand

E.g. Customer demand is 16 products in a day. Assuming the working window is 8 hours, the Takt Time = 8/16 = 0.5 hours = 30 minutes. This implies that in order to meet the customer demand of 16 products a day, one unit should be produced every 30 minutes


An application oriented question on the topic along with responses can be seen below. The best answer was provided by Vivek Dahake on 17th September 2017. 




Q10. While takt time is the same as demand rate in simplistic terms, it is considered extremely important as a concept in Lean implementation. What kind of decisions does the Takt Time drive? Are these decisions strategic or tactical by nature? 


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Takt Time Concept - Takt is a German word, It describes the conductors baton (for example in music orchestra). It is the concept that all activity within a business is synchronized by a rhythm, set by the customer demand.

To simplify this concept, auto-industry, where mass production is done in ‘pull’ manner, has generally described it as “Time Available to Complete Task (Task here means production of one unit e.g a car). An organization may decide and make suitable arrangements to produce a unit (product/service) in Takt-time or slightly less than Takt-time, repetitively in a cyclic manner, this speed at which production is done to ensure org meets the customer requirement is called Cycle Time. And total production time from start to end is called Lead Time.


To calculate the 'Takt time', following formula is used, Takt = 'Production Time Available' / 'Customer Demand'. 'Production time Available' is derived by deducting the Lunch and tea breaks, Team briefing times, TPM breaks, Clean down time, etc from 'total available time', as per industry practices. Hence 'Takt' is in fact the goal or target rate.


Takt & 'Resource planning' is closely related - As demand may fluctuate, a takt time can be then calculated for anticipated demand (or known demand) to plan resource levels. This applies across the board for any production operation, as well as Lean operations.


Why Takt is important & decisions it affects/drives-

Takt Time regulates following,

1.    The pulse of the Production System, and so the resources required !

2.    Rate of fulfillment of customer demand or Pace of sales !!

3.    Links production activity to actual customer demand !!!

4.    Ensures all production activity will be synchronized from 1st process to final assembly process, which is nothing but the balance flow.


Takt time concept helps to set the flow of production. Work balancing is done to match to takt (by applying lean tools & practices) and so the flow of production is in tune with customer needs. Hence Takt is enabler for work balance in the business. Successful Takt planning drives the business decisions which are strategic as well as tactical in nature. Takt drives organization to meet the strategic objectives of business, for example - Customer Satisfaction, Profits, Investment decisions, ROI, ROCE, Payback, Market Share and Growth. Also effective takt planning drives org to meet operational level objectives (Tactical), for example - Effective use of its people and plants, inventories, cashflow, productivity and various costs. Whole SCM related decisions are driven by takt planning decisions.


Calculations/Decisions on Takt eventually drives/affects the decision on Technology selection, Equipment selection decisions, Capital Investment, Operations cost, Offloading decisions / in-house production, Manpower & skills decisions, etc. Also, Identifying the areas of under-performance or waste in the system is the total focus of Lean and there Takt plays a vital role & becomes driver of improvement efforts.

-      Written by Vivek Dahake, based on experience in Auto-mfg-industry.

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It all starts with the need to understand the customer’s requirement and operations’ effort to meet those. Takt time is the average unit time needed to meet customer demand and is the pulse of the business. WORK TIME / CUSTOMER DEMAND.

The operations must be aware of the CYCLE TIME –as to how much time does it take to finish a task and the corresponding LEAD TIME – as to how soon can the entire work be finished from order till delivery.


For instance if the reception at a hotel is supposed to resolve a query/ accept a booking in 5 minutes as let’s assume it to be the benchmark of the industry ( based on CSAT surveys). Where in the reception works 10 hrs shift comprising 600 minutes a day and on an average the hotel gets 100 customers. Currently the Cycle time is at 600/100=6 min. Also let us assume that the customer is made to wait for at least a minute before his request is considered. This will add to our lead time which determines the time taken since the customer enters the hotel and till is “satisfied “by the response received.


The hotel needs to match the takt time of 5 minutes. How will it accomplish.


If I say that is has be strategic, I will be looking into the business delivery and its improvement. That is possible by looking into the resources, the profits the business has to make and the cost the customer is willing to pay for the 5 star service.


If I focus on being tactical, it has to around the operations, their efficiency, data collection, customer experience and employee satisfaction. Tactical decisions will guide the priorities, solutions with lean thinking and continuous improvement.


TAKT time should drive both. Its about the vision of the business, which prompts my strategic decisions and in turn will drive my tactical performance.

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Takt time is actually a german word for beat (as in drum beat) adopted by japanese and in term by lean community.

It is very useful as the relation between cycle time and customer demand rate matters, because it helps us to understand the waste and oppurtunity. It helps us to understand what we are heading towards. It aligns process towards needs.


Formula for takt time is = Available minutes for production / required units of production


For me i think "Takt is a choice" by this i mean that it is more than maths of customer demand rate over time, actually it is an organisation choice of what to establish as demand. In todays dynamic world demand constantly change so do we use the last actual demand or forcast demand or seasonality demand and over what time period. It seems to me that if we are able to establish relation between the time period at which changes in operations can be made in order to respond changing takt. It need a strategic decesions for doing the right things over a period of time.


Have a nice day!

Atul Sharma

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Takt time may be thought of as a measurable “beat time,” “rate time” or “heartbeat.” In Lean, takt time is the rate at which a finished product needs to be completed in order to meet customer demand. If a company has a takt time of five minutes, that means every five minutes a complete product, assembly or machine is produced off the line because on average a customer is buying a finished product every five minutes.

Described mathematically, takt time is:

Available time for production / required units of production


Takt time is driven by both decisions strategic & tactical but it depends on situations when and where? Before going to details about this we need to know what is the purpose of takt time and what really is it?

The Purpose of Takt Time:

Here is one statement :Running to takt time is wholly unnecessary. Many factories operate just fine without even knowing what it is.

What those factories lose, however, is a fine-grained sense of how things are going minute by minute. Truthfully, if they have another way to immediately see disruptions, act to clear them, followed by solving the underlying problem then they are as “lean” as anyone. So here is the second one: You don’t NEED takt time to “be lean.”

What you need is some way to determine the minimum resource necessary to get the job done (JIT), and a way to continuously compare what is actually happening vs. what should be happening, and then a process to immediately act on any difference. This is what makes “lean” happen.

Takt time is just a tool for doing this. It is, however, a very effective tool. It is so effective, in fact, that it is largely considered a necessary fundamental. Honestly, in day to day conversation, that is how I look at it. I made the above statements to get you to think outside the mantras for a minute.


What is takt time, really?

Takt time is an expression of your customer demand normalized and leveled over the time you choose to produce. It is not, and never has been, a pure customer demand signal. Customers do not order the same quantity every day. They do not stop ordering during your breaks, or when your shift is over. What takt time does, however, is make customer demand appear level across your working day.

This has several benefits.

  1. It makes capacity calculations really easy through a complex flow.
  2. You can easily determine what each and every process must be capable of.
  3. You can determine the necessary speeds of machines and other capital equipment.
  4. You determine minimum batch sizes when there are changeovers involved.
  5. You can look at any process and quickly determine the optimum number of people required to make it work.
  6. You can see opportunities where a little bit of kaizen will make a big difference in productivity.

More importantly, though, takt time gives your team members a way to know exactly what “success” looks like for each and every unit of production.

This gives your team members the ability to let you know immediately if something is threatening required output. Put another way, it gives your entire team the ability to see quickly spot problems and respond to them before little issues accumulate into working on Saturday.


The key point here is that to get the benefit, you have to have a takt time that actually paces production. It has to be real, tangible, and practically applied on the shop floor. Otherwise it is just an abstract, theoretical number.


Further, in a complex flow, there may be local takt times – for example, a process that feeds more than one main line is going to be running to the aggregated demand, and so its takt will be faster than either of them. Likewise, a feeder line that builds up a part or option that is not used on every unit is going to be running slower.


And finally if disruptions do cause shortfalls to the required output, you have to make it up sometime. If you are constrained from running overtime (and many operations are for various reasons), then your only alternative is to build a slight over speed into your takt time calculation.

  • If everything goes well, you will finish early. Stop and use the time for organized improvement of either process or developing people. Continuing to produce is overproduction, and just means you run out of work sooner if you have a good day tomorrow.
  • If there are issues, the use the buffer time for its intended purpose.
  • If there are more issues than buffer time, there is an operational decision to make. Have a policy in place for this. The simplest is “hope for a better day tomorrow” and use tomorrow’s buffer time to close the gap. If this isn’t enough, then a management decision about overtime or some other remedy is required.

What about just allowing production to fall short? Well, if this is OK, then you were running faster than customer demand already. So pull that “extra” out of your schedule, stop overproducing (which injects its own disruptions into things), and deal with what just actually have to accomplish. Stop inflating the numbers because they hide the problems, the problems accumulate, and you end up having to inflate even more.


If we talk about decisions then there is some difference between strategic & tactical decisions:

General characteristics of strategic decisions

Strategic decisions usually:

  1.  Have a long-term impact on the business
  2. Have an impact on the whole organization
  3. On its future direction
  4. On the scope of its activities
  5. On the boundaries of the firm
  6. Define the basis on which the firm competes or co-operates:
  7. Based on which competencies and/or advantages
  8. In which markets
  9. By providing which value for the customer
  10.  Align the organization’s activities with its environment, its resources, and capabilities. Hence, strategic decisions have a major impact on the organization’s future development. They determine long-term success or failure.From this, we can conclude some additional characteristics. These are not a prerequisite for a decision to be strategic, but they are a feature of most of them:
  11. Are taken at top-management level
  12. Have a significant impact on resource allocation
  13. Require irreversible commitments and hence risk some sunk cost investments
  14. Involve major change
  15. Are taken under uncertainty / under incomplete information

 The frequency of strategic decisions:

Many organizations have a defined strategic planning process with regular strategic planning meetings. In most cases, this is an annual cycle; sometimes with an even lower frequency. This might lead to the conclusion that strategic decisions are taken on a more or less regular basis.

I don’t want to play down the value of a regular strategic planning process. However, such a process does not necessarily lead to regular decisions that are truly strategic. The real value of such annual meetings is to review the current strategy and to make adjustments as necessary.

True strategic decisions occur infrequently. They are taken when top managements identifies new opportunities or threats. Such changes of conditions don’t have a fixed time schedule. It would be unwise to postpone such a decision to the next strategic planning workshop scheduled in five months. The opportunity may be gone by then. Otherwise, it would be similarily unwise to re-cast a successful strategy, just because the annual top-management-meeting is supposed to lead to some decisions.


Decisions are taken at all organizational levels. They have a varying impact on the business. In general, a distinction is made between strategic, tactical. Particular consideration should be given to the separation between strategic and tactical level. Depending on the terminology and the emphasis employed in the formulation, tactical decisions sometimes come masked as strategic ones.


Strategic decisions

  1.  Support the organizations' vision, mission, and values
  2.  Have significant resource allocation impact
  3. Set precedents for decisions further down in the organization
  4. occur infrequently, may be irreversible
  5. have a potentially material effect on the organization’s competitiveness,
  6. Are made by top managers

Tactical decisions

  1. Involve formulation and implementing policies for the organization
  2. Are less all-encompassing than strategic ones
  3. Are usually made by mid-level managers
  4. Often materially affect particular business functions such as marketing of production, or a business unit
  5. Have fewer resource implications
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Takt time is used to synchronize pace of production with the pace of sales. A sort of just-in-time production.

Takt time = Net Available time / Customer Demand.

  • The goal of Takt time is to produce to demand
  • Can only be changed if the available time or customer demand changes.
  • Must be recalculated on a regular basis.
  • Should drive staffing decisions and cell layout.
  • Should NOT be adjusted to account for system problems.
  • Pace the process to a planned cycle time to accommodate system problems.

Combination of both Strategic and Tactical

  • Strategic work is a management role. It involves setting the direction for the organization (or group), deciding what to do and what not to do, who to hire and when. If it involves committing the organization to money in some way, that’s strategic work. Here are some examples (not an exhaustive list): managing the project portfolio, deciding on a product line, deciding when to hire which kinds of people, deciding on a software process initiative.
  • Project management is mostly tactical, the operational approach to the day-to-day decisions. The one exception is at the beginning of the project, when you decide on release criteria and a life cycle. When you decide on release criteria, you have defined the boundaries of this release, a strategic decision. When you decide on a life cycle, that’s a strategic approach to how you use the people. The rest of a project or a program is tactical. Looking for and managing risks? Tactical. Understanding how people are working together–or not? Tactical. Conducting a meeting? Tactical. Problem-solving? In the context of a project, tactical.

    There’s also work that requires tactical time, and is strategic management work. For example: one-on-ones, feedback, coaching, career development/discussion, working across the organization to smooth the way for a project, solve other problems, or accomplish something that managers needs to do, such as collaborating on the project portfolio. This is the day-to-day work of a manager, which makes it tactical. It’s strategic in nature, because it builds culture, retains people, builds a trusting relationship with people across the organization, and implements the mission. I can never tell if this is strategic or tactical.

    Strategic work is difficult. It requires thought and discussion. Tactical work is difficult in a different way. Tactical work often demands answers quickly. Strategic work, assuming you don’t postpone it and create management debt should take longer because reflection is a good thing for strategic work.


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Takt time is an expression of your customer demand normalized and leveled over the time you choose to produce. What takt time does is make customer demand appear level across your working day.


What kind of decisions does the Takt Time drive?

1)      Gathering information

2)      Defining areas of work (zones)

3)      Understanding the production sequence

4)      Understanding the individual production durations

5)      Balancing the workflow

6)      Establishing the production plan


And these decisions are both strategic and tactical in nature.

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What kind of decisions does Takt Time drive?
Talk time will help us drive decisions that will enable a process to meet the customers demand with available  productive hours:
Actual productive hours ( excluding breaks)/ required production as per customers demand

  1. Eliminate waste, unnecessary steps or process to meet the demand
  2. Also, help us meet any sudden spike in customer demand ( quantitative) 

Are these decisions Strategic or Tactical by Nature?
These decisions are definitely tactical in nature since it enables a business/process to meet the current( day wise or month wise) customer demand, Or even meet sudden spikes in demand. This will not address process capabilities, efficiency or continuous improvement.

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Since TAKT time is maximum available time to meet demand of the customer, it drives strategic decision making. TAKT time assits in configuring optimal speed of the production. TAKT time drives the lean mindset in the process because to meet customer demand, required speed of operation has to be maintained which calls for keeping process lean.

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In Lean, takt time implies a rate at which a finished product needs to be completed in order to meet the customer demand. The tak time ensures that the production exactly matches the demand. 


Takt time can help in taking decisions related to

  • Getting an estimate of service delivery processes
  • Eliminating waste of overproduction by producing to meet actual customer demand
  • Developing standardized work instructions thus promoting quality and efficiency
  • Setting real time targets for production
  • Hels in keeps a track of production rates
  • It also helps in reduction of over production
  • Helps in managing overtime
  • Helps in geneating fewer errors due to standardised procedures
  • Improves price management

All the above mentioned decisions are more tactical in nature and not strategic since there is always a scope of improvement in the operations of a company.


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Takt time production is a concept that helps the production line to produce products at the rate that the customers need them.


It can be calculated as: Takt Time = Estimated Production Time / Customer Demand Qty



Are the decisions driven by Takt Time Strategic or Tactical in nature?


Before we analyse the decisions driven by Takt time production, we need to understand the difference between “Strategic Decision” and “Tactical Decision”  


Strategic Decision

Tactical Decision

Strategy involves planning a company's next move. (long term perspective)

Tactics involves the activities for the implementation of the plan. (short term perspective)

It is about doing the right things.

It is about doing things right.

Deals primarily with planning for the future direction and growth of the company, in accordance with its stated mission and goals.

Deals with real-time (or very near future), actions to handle company’s current operating environment and identify opportunities.


Concerned authority is the upper management who have a better understanding of the company, as a whole.

Concerned authority is the lower level management who have a better understanding of the day to day operations and planning

E.g. Recognising future trends or foreseeing results of projects and developing Counter/fallback plans.


E.g. Making the most efficient use of resources (people, time and money), both for achieving objectives as well as handling any risks and challenges involved in carrying out strategic plans.


Takt time production ensures that all the capacity in a production line is planned and utilised and still meets overall customer demand. It helps to deliver the right product at the right time in the right quantity to the customer with reduced waste of man and machine Reduced Over production, Manage operator overtimes, easier planning of shifts and schedules, , Fewer defects, better price management as right quantity is produced and inventory is minimised. It creates a constant pulse across the processes, which will immediately highlight capacity issues, synchronisation issues among processes, quality issues and many others.


Tact time production ensures the production line is operating more efficiently and production would be more predictable. 


The decisions driven by Takt Time production is related to capacity planning, production quantity and inventory management, manpower/resource planning , scheduling. With the understanding of Tactical decisions, that we obtained earlier, we can conclude that all these decisions are tactical in nature.

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In Lean, takt time is the rate at which a finished product needs to be completed in order to meet customer demand. If a company has a takt time of five minutes, that means every five minutes a complete product, assembly or machine is produced off the line because on average a customer is buying a finished product every five minutes.

Described mathematically, takt time is: Available time for production / required units of production

Required units of production is a measure of customer demand – how many products a company expects its customer to buy in a given period of time. That period of time should be consistent between the two variables in the takt time equation.


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


Takt time derives the standards for production output through analyzing the customer demand for the product. Takt time is tactical by nature. but when the run on a long term it acts as a strategic plan.

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Takt time is to produce product at the rate at which the customer requires it.  If the customer demand averages one unit per production minute, produce the product at this rate (Takt time).


There are four Key concept to elaborate:

1). How linear is the actual demand.

In many industries, the actual demand varies significantly period to period.

For example, if

 average demand is 100 units/day is of little value when actual customer demand regularly varies from zero/day to 300/day!  If we were to produce at an average rate, while consistently meeting customer demand, we’d likely have to carry some finished goods inventory.  


This strategy has all of the typical “wastes” associated with inventory: Double handling, tracking, risk of obsolescence, hidden quality defects, tied up money and space, etc.


2). How does the customer want to take delivery? 

Needless to say, producing at a nice linear rate, all month long, only to ship once/month, defeats much of the benefit of producing at a rate.  All month long we’ll be building and storing inventory, double handling (put it into storage, then take it back out of storage to ship it), with all of the wastes associated with inventory.

One of the biggest benefits implied by being able to produce linearly, at Takt time, is the ability to produce essentially directly to the shipping process and to transfer the product immediately to the customer.  I.e. we want to produce and ship at the takt time rate.

In the circumstance where the customer does NOT want daily linear deliveries, it often makes more sense to produce and ship JIT according to the customer’s shipping constraints.  I.e. instead of producing linearly and accumulating the product to ship, it may make more sense to produce the shipping quantity, at a considerably higher production rate, and then immediately load and ship the product.


3). Are there any shipping constraint?

If the logistical costs of daily shipments are prohibitive, then some of the benefits of takt time are lost.  We’d produce nice and linearly, but then have to accumulate and store the product waiting for an “efficient” transportation batch


4). How Large is the value added work content?

Another limitation to takt time usefulness is the amount of value-adding time required to produce the unit.

On the above example, this time with no constraints on the shipping rate: i.e. the customer is willing to take daily delivery, and the transportation costs are not prohibitive.
Our computed takt time is 4.2 minutes/unit.

But what if the entire value-add time is less than 1 minute/unit?  i.e. one production operator can produce a unit in less than 1 minute.

Does it make sense to spread out the work beyond 1 minute?  Probably not!

Takt time applicability demands that the total value-add time is substantial enough to justify producing at a rate.



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Takt time is the required pace of production to meet customer demand. It is calculated by dividing the working time available, generally for that shift, by the customer demand during that time period.


Takt Time is the pace of production (e.g. manufacturing one piece every 34 seconds) that aligns production with customer demand. In other words, it is how fast you need to manufacture a product in order to fill your customer orders. Takt Time is calculated as:


                                  Takt Time = Planned Production Time / Customer Demand


The term Takt Time comes from the German word Taktzeit, which loosely translates to “rhythmic time” or “keeping a beat”, similar to the ticking of a metronome or the movement of a conductor’s baton. Takt Time is a key concept in lean manufacturing. It is the heartbeat of a lean organization – matching actual production to customer demand. It is not a goal to be surpassed, but rather a target for which to aim:  Producing faster than Takt Time results in overproduction – the most fundamental form of waste. Producing slower than Takt Time results in bottlenecks – and customer orders that may not be filled on time. So Takt time is a function of demand and working time, so can only changes when demand changes, or working time changes. If customer demand rises, takt time drops. If customer demand drops, takt time increases.


There are two different yet related ways to use Takt Time. Both are valid and useful – they simply look at customer demand from different perspectives:

Planning Perspective: Use Takt Time to set goals for kaizen activities that focus on making improvements to your production process to ensure that it can meet customer demand. Manufacturing Perspective: Use Takt Time to drive a real-time target for production.


The actual time it takes you is known as cycle time. So, takt time is what you need to be able to do, and cycle time is what you can do. While you want them to be in alignment, one does not affect the other. Customers changing their purchasing patterns doesn’t change the work content of a product. Making a dramatic improvement during a project doesn’t get customers lining up for your product. Comparing takt and cycle times, once determined, drives actions. It establishes the staffing needed. It drives improvement projects. It provides information to the marketing team about pricing. It can be used to establish lead times based on backlogs. So, takt time serves to give you a real target for improvement, not just an arbitrary, made-up percentage. Goals with a specific purpose are always easier for frontline employees to get behind than annual improvement goals (i.e. improve productivity by 10% per year).


When a process is extremely stable, like on an assembly line, it is easy to pace to the takt time. The work advances at a set pace, so the product rolls off the end in very predictable increments. This isn’t the situation in the office.   Customers call or e-mail at random intervals. Some requests are small; some are significant. Some orders come in with one line; some are several pages long.

Probably most notably, averaging out demand is harder in service operations. If orders come in primarily at the beginning of the week, they can often be allocated throughout the week, or can be built to a small finished goods inventory. Customers on the phone, though, won’t sit on hold very long.  In effect, service takt times are relevant in smaller windows because the work does not keep. Furthermore, even with an average demand, the work content can vary substantially.



The contribution of operations to performance is not the same in every business. The way operations are designed and run makes the winners and losers. Most business is on a spectrum between these extremes. In luxury goods, for example, operations matter, but they are secondary to brand management. When you make custom-configured or custom-designed products, the customization process itself is part of operations, as support activities like production control, logistics, technical data management, quality management or maintenance. Lean transformation of a company can only be successful as a result of a strategic decision by top management, with personal involvement by the CEO. It cannot be delegated to a “VP of Lean” or to a “Lean department.” It must instead, over time, become part of the way everyone works. It is not easy and requires sustained effort.


For despite the enormous time and energy that goes into strategy development at most companies, many have little to show for the effort. Companies on average deliver only 63% of the financial performance their strategies promise. Even worse, the causes of this strategy-to-performance gap are all but invisible to top management. Leaders then pull the wrong levers in their attempts to turn around performance—pressing for better execution when they actually need a better strategy or opting to change direction when they really should focus the organization on execution. The result: wasted energy, lost time, and continued underperformance.


Given the poor quality of financial forecasts in most strategic plans, it is probably not surprising that most companies fail to realize their strategies’ potential value. The strategy-to-performance gap can be attributed to a combination of factors, such as poorly formulated plans, misapplied resources, breakdowns in communication, and limited accountability for results. What emerges from our survey results is a sequence of events that goes something like this: Strategies are approved but poorly communicated. This, in turn, makes the translation of strategy into specific actions and resource plans all but impossible. Lower levels in the organization don’t know what they need to do, when they need to do it, or what resources will be required to deliver the performance senior management expects. Consequently, the expected results never materialize. And because no one is held responsible for the shortfall, the cycle of underperformance gets repeated, often for many years.

Management can close the strategy-to-performance gap. A number of high-performing companies have found ways to realize more of their strategies’ potential. Rather than focus on improving their planning and execution processes separately to close the gap, these companies work both sides of the equation, raising standards for both planning and execution simultaneously and creating clear links between them.

Companies should follow seven rules that apply to planning and execution.

Rule 1: Keep it simple, make it concrete.

Rule 2: Debate assumptions, not forecasts.

Rule 3: Use a rigorous framework, speak a common language.

Rule 4: Discuss resource deployments early.

Rule 5: Clearly identify priorities.

Rule 6: Continuously monitor performance.

Rule 7: Reward and develop execution capabilities.

Living by these rules enables them to objectively assess any performance shortfall and determine whether it stems from the strategy, the plan, the execution, or employees’ capabilities. And the same rules that allow them to spot problems early also help them prevent performance shortfalls in the first place. These rules may seem simple—even obvious—but when strictly and collectively observed, they can transform both the quality of a company’s strategy and its ability to deliver results.

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Takt time is the average time between the start of production of one unit and the start of production of the next unit, when these production starts are set to match the rate of customer demand. For example, if a customer wants 10 units per week, then, given a 40-hour work week and steady flow through the production line, the average time between production starts should be 4 hours, yielding 10 units produced per week.

Takt time can be determined with the formula:


T   = Takt time, e.g. [work time between two consecutive units]
= Net time available to work, e.g. [work time per period]
D = Demand (customer demand), e.g. [units required per period]

Net available time is the amount of time available for work to be done. This excludes break times and any expected stoppage time (for example scheduled maintenance, team briefings, etc.).

If there are a total of 8 hours (or 480 minutes) in a shift (gross time) less 30 minutes lunch, 30 minutes for breaks (2 × 15 mins), 10 minutes for a team briefing and 10 minutes for basic maintenance checks, then the net Available Time to Work = 480 - 30 - 30 - 10 - 10 = 400 minutes.

If customer demand were 400 units a day and one shift were being run, then the line would be required to output at a minimum rate of one part per minute in order to be able to keep up with customer demand.

In reality, people and machines cannot maintain 100% efficiency and there will be stoppages for other reasons. Allowances should be made for these instances, and thus the line will be set up to run at a faster rate to account for this.

Also, takt time may be adjusted according to requirements within the company. For example, if one department delivers parts to several manufacturing lines, it often makes sense to use similar takt times on all lines to smooth out flow from the preceding station. Customer demand can still be met by adjusting daily working time, reducing down times on machines and so on.


Benefits :

  • The product moves along a line, so bottlenecks (stations that need more time than planned) are easily identified when the product does not move on in time.
  • Correspondingly, stations that don't operate reliably (suffer frequent breakdown, etc.) are easily identified.
  • The takt leaves only a certain amount of time to perform the actual value added work. Therefore, there is a strong motivation to get rid of all non value-adding tasks (like machine set-up, gathering of tools, transporting products, etc.)
  • Workers and machines perform sets of similar tasks, so they don't have to adapt to new processes every day, increasing their productivity.
  • There is no place in the takt system for removal of a product from the assembly line at any point before completion, so opportunities for shrink and damage in transit are minimized.

Downsides :

  • When customer demand rises so much that takt time has to come down, quite a few tasks have to be either reorganized to take even less time to fit into the shorter takt time, or they have to be split up between two stations (which means another station has to be squeezed into the line and workers have to adapt to the new setup)
  • When one station in the line breaks down for whatever reason the whole line comes to a grinding halt, unless there are buffer capacities for preceding stations to get rid of their products and following stations to feed from. A built-in buffer of three to five percent downtime allows needed adjustments or recovery from failures.
  • Short takt time can put considerable stress on the "moving parts" of a production system or subsystem. In automated systems/subsystems, increased mechanical stress increases the likelihood of breakdown, and in non-automated systems/subsystems, personnel face both increased physical stress (which increases the risk of repetitive motion (also "stress or "strain") injury), intensified emotional stress, and lowered motivation, sometimes to the point of increased absenteeism.
  • Tasks have to be leveled to make sure tasks don't bulk in front of certain stations due to peaks in workload. This decreases the flexibility of the system as a whole.
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          Takt is a German word for a musical beat or rhythm

          Just as a metronome keeps the beat for music, Takt time keeps the beat for customer demand

          Takt time is the time required between completion of successive units of end product

          Takt determines how fast a process needs to run to meet customer demand


Takt Image

          The entire organization must truly believe that at some point in the future it will be able to reach the ideal state

          To maintain the true spirit of Lean, each compromise (made for particular reasons) MUST continuously be challenged

          To do this you MUST maintain the vision of eliminating waste and designing a process that will achieve one-piece flow


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In Lean, takt time is the rate at which a finished product needs to be completed in order to meet customer demand.


Described mathematically, takt time is:
Available time for production / required units of production


Takt time drives all decisions related to meeting Customer demands and it is strategic when the delivery time is small for a larger no. of goods that needs manufactured and there are many competitors who are ready to deliver the same product.

It would be tactical when you want to be ready before the customer makes his demand and being prepared for the market competition.


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

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Takt on it’s own as a word means “Beat” in German. It refers to beat, timing and regulation of speed.


Takt is the desired time that it takes to make one unit of production otput.

It is often confused as the cycle time which is different to Takt time- Cycle time is the actual time taken to to make one unit of production output.


When Customer Driven it is Available operating Time/ Customer Demand

Eg: 8 hours of daily operating time/4 units of daily demand= Takt tiem of 2 hours.


When Operation Driven it is Available Operating Time/Units of Forecasted demand

Eg: 8 hours of daily operating time/5.7 units of forecasted demand= Takt tiem of 1.4 hours.


Nominally, this is an initial design variable that dictates the architecture of the manufacturing operations- Sets the pace of production/Manufacture to match the pace of sales


How to Calculate

Takt Time can be first determined by the formula T= Ta/ Td


T= Takt Time eg. Minutes of work/ Units produced

Ta= Net Time available to work eg. Minutes of work/ Day

Td= Time Demand (Customer Demand) eg Units required/ Day/ day part.

Net Available time is the total time available for work to be done excluding any expected stoppage time like break time,Team Briefing, Scheduled maintenance etc.



If there is a total of 8 hours(480 Minutes) in a shift (gross time),less 30 minutes Lunch and another 30 minutes for smoke breaks (2 X15).Then 10 Minutes for a Team Briefing Plus 10 Minutes for basic regular maintenance checks-

Then the net time available to work is 480- 30 -15-15-10-10=400 Minutes.

If the customers demand had to be 400 units a day in a single shift, then the line would be required to output at the rate of a minimum of one part per minute, in order to be able to keep up with customer demand.


Takt time is calculated virtually on every task in a business environment. It is used Mostly in a

-          Manufacturing(Casting of parts, drilling holes).

-          Control Tasks (testing of parts or adjusting Machinery)

-          Administration (Answering standard Enquiries, in call center operations)

-          It is used in production lines that move a product along a line of stations that each perform a set of predetermined tasks (Like the burger assembly in McD)


MEASURES of Takt Time Implementation:

-          How well do the operational Takt times meet the customer demands?

-          Are the Takt time and Cycle times Synchronised?

-          What percentage of operations are controlled by Takt time?

-          Is there a System in Place to handle fluctuation in Customer Demands(Overtime,tpart time workers etc)

-          Does the plant conform to the takt time and not deviate from following it??

-          In the QSR industry like in McDonalds, Takt time is considered very importand and is planned sequentially in all stations / product assembly points as the complete order delivery time is expected to be below 60 seconds. Technically it is the customer demand.

 So the Decisions is operationally driven and planned as a strategy- By following the 5 steps to Plan Takt time in each Station/ Zone of the assembly line :





They aren’t worried about a shift. They are worried about smaller blocks of time. The operational processes must adjust sometime on an hourly basis driven by the planned and known changes in the customer demand rate (Trend charts based on dayparts are followed). The takt time is different from 11:30 – 3pm (Lunch rush) than it is from 3-6. This isn’t just variation in demand; it’s specific shifts in demand.

There is an estimate PRODUCT BIN LEVEL CHART that is maintained and followed based on trends of consumption of the products . The stations and manned accordingly , along with storage optimization , to ensure the cycle time at each assembly station/ zone  in the production line of the burger is met. It is thus that the Takt time is met, more often than not!!



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Lean production has greatly influenced the way manufacturing systems should be designed. One important aspect of lean production is takt time. Takt time relates customer demand to available production time and is used to pace the production.


Takt Time can be calculated as T = (Ta / D)


Ta is the available time to work


D is customer demand


Takt time answers the question 'what is the speed at which the product must be created to meet the customer order?'

Takt time approach has following benefits:

1) Keeps track of production rates.

2) Reduces overproduction

3) Manages overtime

4) Facilitates easier planning

5) Generates fewer errors

6) Improves price management


Takt time approach helps us in taking long term strategic decisions as well aa short term tactical decisions. Entire production line is designed as per Takt time. Companies spend a great deal of money and time planning out a production process before work for a client begins. When production is underway, short term decisions of any change are also taken as per Takt time.

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TAKT time is the maximum acceptable time to meet the demands of the customer. You can consider it as start time of any production to start time of another production. Also we can say TAKT Time is the speed with which the product needs to be created in order to meet the requirements of the customer.


TAKT Time = (Net Time Available for Production)/(Customer’s Daily Demand).

It will help to take the decision on what will be the expected speed of completing the task and also human resources details also.

I believe it helps us to take strategical decisions as well as tactical decisions.




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Takt Time is the rate at which products or services should be produced to meet the rate of customer demand. It is derived from the German word, Taktzeit, which is often referred to as the heartbeat or drumbeat of production in Lean Manufacturing

The value, in conjunction with the current loading (production) rates, is used to analyze process loads, bottlenecks, and excess capacity. The study will indicate which operations are ahead of the demand rate and which are not, both indicating opportunities for improvement. This is strictly a formula and calculation. Use it to compare the measured "loading" to quantify whether an operation meets, exceeds, and by how much.


                          Available work time
  Takt time =   --------------------------------------
                         Customer demand rate


It may commonly be known by the team members which operations have capacity and which are the constraints but it is not known to what degree and amount compared to the other processes.

In order to meet the delivery demands of the customer each bottleneck will need to resolved so the loading is faster than the takt time. Hence we can conclude it is more of Tactical approach.


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Takt is a German word which was used as as a production management tool in 1930s. Takt time is a rate at which the finished product is produced and which is synchronized with the customer demand. Its a maximum amount of time in which a product needs to be produced in order to satisfy the customer demand. Its very important in balancing the work content at a continuous production line. Its a average time between start of production of one unit and start of production of the next subsequent unit. Its calculated as available production time divided by customer demand.

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Wiki definition of Takt Time:


 Takt time states that it is the average time between the start of production of one unit and the start of production of the next unit, when these production starts are set to match the rate of customer demand.  For instance, if a customer wants 20 units of a processing unit per week, then for the entire week (of 40 hrs) and on a steady flow through the production line, average time between production starts should be 2 hrs (40/20) , yielding 20 units per week.


A misleading idea or thought that is being though upon is that Takt time is actually the time taken to create the product which is not the case.  This means completion of the product can even take more time but the takt time remains as 2 hrs.

To summarize this, assuming a product is made one unit at a time at a constant rate during the net available work time, the takt time is the amount of time that must elapse between two consecutive unit completions in order to meet the demand.


 Takt Origin:


Takt is a derived word from the Japanese word of Takutotaimu. This word itself came from the German word of “Taktzeit”. It literally means pace or rhythm.  In Lean Manufacturing, this word is used to depict the fact that it is the heartbeat or drumbeat of production


Takt Formula:


Takt time (T) = Available work time (TA)/customer demand rate (DR)
Available work time (TA) = work time per period;
Customer Demand Rate (DR) = Units required per period


 Takt Explanation with an example:


Takt time, along with production rates can be used to analyze the bottle necks, processing loads and excess capacity. With this, we can find out the processing units that are ahead or behind the demand rate that can lead to improvement of processes for meeting the customer demand

Let us consider a Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) product produced by ABCMac Company.  Assuming there are 2 different ways to create the product. 2 shifts are used in each day for process 1 and 3 shifts are used in each day for process 2.  Process 1 way of making the product is used for European customers and process 2 way is used to woo the customers from Asia pacific region


Let us now try to calculate the takt time for the 1st processing way  

Available Work Time = Total work time available / day – (lunch time + tea breaks + Shift breaks* + meetings* +review time*+ maintenance period*) 

* - Wherever applicable


Note1:  Shift break can come when a process runs throughout the day cutting across shifts.

Note2:  In general, the takt time can be measured either in seconds, minutes, hours, day, week.. But the unit measured in both the factors, available work time and customer demand rate should be same.


Process 1 :


Measuring Unit = seconds.

Customer Demand rate = 30000 parts/day (need of the customer)

Total time available (consider only 2 shifts)/day (in seconds) = 16 hrs = 960 minutes (16*60) = 57600 seconds (960 * 60)

Assuming the following time are spent by the employees

Lunch break=25 min = 1500 seconds (=25*60)

 Tea break=10 min = 600 seconds (=10*60)

Shift break=15 min = 900 seconds (=15*60)

 Review time=10 min = 600 seconds (=10*60);

Now Available work time= (Total time available/day) – (Lunch Break + Tea break + Shift Break + Review Time)

= 57600 – (1500+600+900+600)

= 54000 Seconds


Therefore, Available work time = 54000 seconds

Now, Takt time = (54000 sec/day) / (30000 parts/day) = 1.8 parts /sec


Let us consider the 2nd process


Process 2


Measuring Unit = seconds.

Customer Demand rate = 35000 parts/day (need of the customer)

Total time available (3 shifts)/day (in seconds) = 24 hrs = 1440 minutes (24*60) = 86400 seconds (1440 * 60)

Assuming the following time are spent by the employees

Lunch break=30 min = 1800 seconds (=30*60)

 Tea break=10 min = 600 seconds (=10*60)

Shift break=20 min = 1200 seconds (=20*60)

 Review time=15 = 900 seconds (=15*60);

Now Available work time= (Total time available/day) – (Lunch Break + Tea break + Shift Break + Review Time)

= 86400 – (1800+600+1200+900) = 86400 - 4500

= 82800 Seconds


Therefore, Available work time = 81900 seconds


The Takt time = (81900 seconds/day)/(35000 parts / day) = 2.34 seconds/part


Note that the Takt time of the 2 processes vary even though they are used for the creation of the same product. The 2nd process is primarily different from the 1st process in that it operates in 3 shifts and also it does have different raw materials (ingredients) while making the parts, catering to the specific market needs (to meet to the customer needs and demand). Apart from that, the lunch time, shift break, review time periods differ. So there is takt time difference which is quite ok.

Takt Benefits


Takt Constraints


Trouble points or bottlenecks can be easily identified

Takt time reduction due to higher or increased customer demand will result in some activities getting restructured or re-shaped

Only time to perform the value added activities are calculated and therefore it  urges non-value added activities to be eliminated

Reduced Takt time can make the existing  process  vulnerable (and therefore changing to the new process) putting so much pressure –

a). To the mechanical parts   

b). Mental stress to employees (to meet to the new process changes or to the work needs)

As bottlenecks are found out, it provides opportunities for improvement.

Adapting to the new process (to a great extent) to meet changed customer demand (if it is too taxing) should be done very quickly to sustain the business successfully and to avoid customer dissatisfaction on using that product.

Production schedule Planning can be done well as you know shift requirements and production needs



There will be fewer errors as because  of planned production schedule,  there will be no hurry to do things





What kind of decisions the Takt time drives?


Takt time drives tactical decision in general.  But however there can be few and rare cases, where it can drive strategic decision.


 How Takt time impacts Tactical decisions:


In a multi-component product, time taken for processing of 1 part could have an impact for another part. If there is a delay in the processing of one of these parts, it could delay the overall takt time of the product.  Therefore, takt time value could decide the design choice for assembly line.

To meet to the customer demand, assume a particular processing unit/component needs to be processed quickly. To improve that particular processing unit/component in a product, there can be automation to increase the processing speed which will result in a reduced takt time. So there is a conscious decision to improve the processing speed, with automation and thereby ensuring customer demand is met. 


How Takt time impacts Strategic decisions:


If a company (read Senior mgmt/Key stakeholders) wants to catch hold of a market (read geographical region or specific sector of an industry), so as to get an immediate advantage

Suppose the company has reached out to the ASIA-Pacific for the 1st time and they have an important client. As we saw in our example earlier, there can be 2 shifts /day for one region (Europe) and 3 shifts per day. The 3 shifts, for instance, could be meant to satisfy the important customer.  That will be a potential opportunity to get a foot hold into the niche market available in that particular region. This could be till a short time or could be a long time depending upon the company’s ability to sustain this for a longer time but the gains would be to have a benefit in the longer run.


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