Takt Time for Executives

We recently had the opportunity to host 15 top executives from a multi-billion dollar manufacturing company for 3 days of Lean training, benchmarking tours, and strategizing. During this process we gained insight into Takt Time.
These executives were all knowledgeable in Lean, many of them having sponsored dozens of kaizens or Six Sigma projects. They were familiar with the basic Lean lingo, including Takt Time.
When it came time to go through the Factory Flow Simulation, they split up into two teams. They competed in designing a production system to minimize inventory and lead-time while maximizing profit building airplanes. When it came time to introduce Takt Time and line balancing to the exercise, we were in for a surprised. None of these highly educated and experienced executives made the connection between the time it took to build a plane and the Takt Time, and the effect on staffing.
As we explained how Takt Time could be used the VP of Marketing got it right away. He was arguably the person with the least amount of experience and knowledge of Lean, traditional manufacturing or work balancing.
The lesson learned was that Takt Time is counter-intuitive. It is deceptively similar to concepts of line speed and total cycle time (though totally different). It is such a simple concept that people assume that the ‘get it’ without working through it backwards and forwards. Because of this, we advise executives to assume they do not understand Takt Time and approach it with an open mind.
One of the best ways to drive home the concept of Takt Time for executives is to ask them to figure out Takt for each of their major Value Streams. This will force them to figure out available time and demand for each one, which in itself can be an eye-opening exercise. This will give them a sense of the heartbeat of their business, in addition to raising interesting questions about how demand is determined and work hours are set.

3 Comments

  1. thy

    August 21, 2004 - 7:48 pm

    can you help me lean progam
    i leanteam to vietnam,

  2. Carlton

    March 1, 2006 - 2:49 am

    I am trying to develop measure operators performence by applying
    daily Individual Operator report display by 5S board.
    Can you suggest me how we can apply one-piece-flow in LIne.
    Its three years DADA(DHAKA) applyed Line Syster.
    But operators are still not following one-piece-flow EVEN.
    What To Do? I am newly appointed Executive in this company

  3. Emerson V G

    November 26, 2006 - 6:52 am

    Lean Manufacturing and Kaizens