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Takt Time

What is it for?

Takt time tells you how quickly you need to action things against your customer demand.  It's the beat, the pace of your productivity. Used in the Analyse phase of the DMAIC cycle.

This is often a topic that people overlook, as a) it sounds complex to calculate, and b) they feel they already know how long it takes to get throughput in their department.  

It is a vital step in helping to analyse your current process, and to measure the effectiveness of your future process once waste is removed and improvements are made.


Examples of why you want to calculate Takt Time in a Lean Office environment

  • Number of customer purchase orders vs number of staff allocated to order entry

  • Number of customer price enquiries vs number of staff working on quotations

  • Number of customer invoice requirements vs number of accounts receivable personnel

  • Number of email enquiries vs number of employees administrating the generic mailbox.

Tools for process optimization

Taking the first example of number of purchase orders received vs number of staff working on order entry:


  1. We have 100 customer purchase orders each working day

  2. We have an eight hour shift of 10 people

  3. We are not interested in the number of people, only the number of total minutes

8 hours x 60 minutes = 480 available minutes for order entry


480 minutes divided by 100 purchase orders = 4.80 minutes per order entry Takt time

Even if we had 20 people working on order entry, the Takt Time would still be 4.80 order entry minutes since this figure is based on the customer demand.

4.80 minutes is the order entry rate needed to meet the customer demand.

It is recommended you review your Takt Time every month, or even more frequently if you have a lot of peaks and troughs in your purchase order volumes.  

To assist with wide peaks and troughs in Lean office, you can use Control Charts to help you to understand the likely variation in levels of customer ordering.

You could also use Takt Time to help you to understand if your current number of working day minutes will allow same day order entry, or even same day delivery (if measuring a longer end to end process).


In summary, here is the simple formula to calculate Takt Time:

The available (staff) work time per day Divided by The number of customer orders (demand) per work day

Book a free consultation with us Lean4U

As a Lean consultancy, we are passionate about simplicity and Lean is a mindset that we apply in all our areas of activity. Our reward is when we know that we helped you meeting your business objectives, where both management skills and tools play a key role.

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