As many organizations start the Lean or Six Sigma journey, they learn terms such as cycle time and takt time. These two terms are often confused. One of our readers sent in the question asking us to explain the difference.

Takt is often described as the German word for rhythm or beat.

  • Takt time is essentially the pace of demand and determines how fast the process must run to meet customer demand. It is calculated by dividing the available production time by the total daily volume required. When considering the “available production time”, you do not include breaks or scheduled downtime such as training or meetings.
  • Cycle time however is the amount of time it takes for a task to be completed and thus equates to the rate of the process.

The easy way to think of the two:

Takt time——–>Pace

Cycle time——–>Rate

Dividing cycle time by takt time will determine the total number of people needed to complete a task to meet customer demand.

Here are a couple of additional resources to assist with explaining cycle time and takt time.

Branner Consulting, LLC excels in business process improvement consulting and training. We are problem solvers and business coaches. We perform business process audits and provide thought leadership on implementing or improving a business process improvement program. In addition, we facilitate process improvement workshops and provide one-on-one coaching.