What Is Cycle Time?
Cycle time is a metric that measures the amount of time it takes for you to complete a task from start to finish. This time includes each step from the time you start working on the task to when you finish it. Cycle time can also expand to all the steps each worker takes to complete a particular product or service.
How To Calculate Cycle Time
Before you can calculate your manufacturing cycle time, you first need to gather data on the following factors:
- The number of products or services you produced during a specific period
- The total time it took you to complete those products or services
After collecting this data, divide the total time it took to complete all products or services by the number of products or services you produced. It will give you your cycle time for that specific period.
For example, let’s say you produced 100 widgets in one day, and it took you a total of eight hours to complete them. That would mean your cycle time is 0.08 hours per widget or four minutes and 48 seconds.
How To Implement Cycle Time at Your Factory
Now that you understand what cycle time is and how to calculate it, you can start using this metric to improve your manufacturing process. Here are a few tips on how to get started:
Define what you want to measure. This could be the cycle time for a particular product or service, or the average cycle time for all products or services.
Set a target: Once you know what you want to measure, you need to identify a target. Goal setting will give you something to strive for and help you track your progress over time.
Collect data. To accurately measure your cycle time, you need to collect data on all the steps involved in your manufacturing process.
Analyze your data. Once you have collected all the necessary data, you can start to analyze it. Doing this will help you identify areas where you can improve your cycle time.
Make changes: After analyzing your data, you can start to make changes to your manufacturing process. These changes could be small or large, but they should all focus on reducing your cycle time.
Monitor your progress: Doing this will help you see if the changes you made improve your cycle time and allow you to make further improvements if necessary.
How To Reduce Your Cycle Time
Now that you understand what cycle time is and how it can impact your business, here are a few tips on reducing your cycle time. Remember that each company is different and that, while these are best practices, they might differ for your organization or specific use case.
- Invest in new technology. This could be anything from new machines to software that automates specific tasks.
- Streamline your process. Eliminate any steps that are unnecessary or taking longer than they should.
- Outsource certain tasks. Outsourcing labor-intensive tasks will free up your time so you can focus on other areas of your business.
- Reduce downtime. Downtime is one of the biggest enemies of efficiency. Reduce downtime by ensuring that your machines are well-maintained and that you have a plan for when they do go down.
- Train your employees. Proper training is crucial in manufacturing. Make sure your employees receive adequate training on how to safely use your machines and software.
Challenges and Limitatios of Cycle Time
These are the main benefits you can leverage for your business:
- Improves your manufacturing process
- Identifies areas where you can reduce cycle time
- Helps you monitor your progress over time
These are the main challenges to find solutions for:
- Requires data collection and analysis
- Might require investment in new technology or process changes