The word takt comes to us from the German language and literally means pace or rhythm. It’s also a term often associated with the takt a conductor sets so that the orchestra plays in unison.
We often speak about takt time as being the pulse or the heart beat of a lean production system. In other words, takt time is used to match the pace of work to the average pace of customer demand.
You must calculate takt time.
Cycle time describes the total time it takes an operator to complete one cycle of an operation, including any walking, inspection, etc. We typically measure cycle time with a stop watch.
Value Creating Time
The value creating time (VCT) is similar to cycle time, with one exception. With VCT we are only interested in the time the product is actually being transformed.
In other words, we subtract any non value added time (muda) from our cycle time in order to get to our value creating time.
Total Cycle time / Production Lead Time
We are speaking about the total cycle time, or production lead time, when describing the time is takes one unit to move through the entire value stream.
An easy way to picture this is to imagine marking your initials on some raw material at the beginning of the process and watching how long it takes to make it through to the end. You should really try this… it may surprise you how long you wait!
As you can see, there is quite a bit to this time concept. Depending on which book you read or expert you talk to, you may hear slightly different names than those above.
The key is to remember that different aspects of time exist as it relates to continuous improvement… but as long as you are consistent in your naming convention all should be well.
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