We’ve all heard the saying, “Mind the pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves.” Nobody questions the logic that spending fewer pennies will ultimately help you spend fewer dollars. The same logic can be applied in the successful operation of a manufacturing company.
In the fast-paced world of manufacturing, time always equals money. That’s why operations and production managers are keenly focused on reducing lead time, cycle time and takt time.
Most people understand that lead time is defined as the length of time between the customer placing an order for a part and when they receive it (think calendar days). They also know that cycle time differs from lead time because it only counts the time spent working directly on producing the part. Lunch breaks, staff meetings, etc. aren’t counted.
But takt time is a little more complicated to understand.
According to kanbanize.com, “Takt time is the rate at which you need to complete a product to meet customer demand. For example, if you receive a new product order every four hours, your team needs to finish a product in four hours or less to meet demand.”
In a machine shop, takt time is calculated by dividing the available work minutes by the number of parts ordered. For example, let’s say your shop is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, Monday through Friday. That’s 45 total hours. But since your employees take an hour for lunch every day, this leaves 40 hours available to make parts. Multiply 40 hours by 60 and you’ll see that this equates to 2,400 available work minutes per week.
If your customers order a total of 400 parts per week, you’ll calculate your takt time by dividing 2,400 minutes by 400 (2,400/400 = 6). This means your shop must manufacture one part every six minutes to satisfy your customers’ weekly demand for parts.
If your shop can only make one part every eight minutes, you’ll only be able to produce 300 parts each week, leaving your customers 100 parts short. Somehow, you need to take two minutes off your takt time. This is where Lean Manufacturing tools can help.
Implementing a 5S system is one of the easiest tools to implement. According to the American Society for Quality (ASQ), “Lack of organization in the workplace wastes time and lowers productivity. By implementing a lean 5S system – sort, set in order, shine, standardize, sustain – organizations can create a clean, well ordered, and disciplined work environment.” Keeping materials and tools organized where they are easily seen and can be quickly accessed is just one way to reduce process time.
Another tool, Value Stream Mapping (VSM) is ideal for reducing process time. VSM can help identify bottlenecks and eliminate waste, whether it’s time or materials. VSM practitioners use a process flow chart to document every step of the production process in chronological order. Each step is then analyzed for efficiency, and process improvements are implemented.
There are many other Lean Manufacturing tools, and each are worth exploring if you want to reduce takt time. Even something as simple as reducing the number of steps a worker takes to move parts from one process to another can make a difference.
In other words, mind the minutes and the hours will take care of themselves.
Implementing Lean Manufacturing methods will help you to operate your business at maximum efficiency. This is just one of the strategies reviewed during a Needs Assessment from CTmrg. Together we can uncover your operational challenges and provide vetted resources to assist you in implementing change. Contact Us to learn more.