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Manufacturing Cycle Time

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What is Manufacturing Cycle Time?

Manufacturing cycle time is a key performance indicator for manufacturing businesses. It refers to the amount of time spent working on an item from the raw material stage to the finished product stage. The cycle time calculation includes the processing, moving, inspection, and queue time for an item – it covers the entire process, including the inactive time a product spends going through the production facility. Another way to look at production cycle time is to divide the net production time by the total number of items.

Why Track the Manufacturing Cycle?

When the manufacturing cycle time is calculated and tracked, it can have major business implications. By reducing cycle time in manufacturing, a company can improve productivity, work on capacity consolidation, and manage yield/loss or logistics issues. Knowing the cycle time can help companies improve their lean manufacturing, providing a valuable indicator for teams to know what goal to work towards to complete a finished product. The faster the manufacturing cycle time, the better for business – as long as the quality of the product is not compromised.

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Cycle Time Formula

As noted above, the cycle time formula in manufacturing can be calculated in various ways and can apply to different processes within a manufacturing facility. Equipment cycle time, for example, refers to the time it takes to process an item, excluding the support steps. Effective cycle time includes the entire process for producing an item, including the load and unloading time, applied changeover time per piece, and processing time. Each measure is important, and a manufacturing business can track the process time from the start of one cycle to the next.

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Operating in a Competitive Environment

Today’s manufacturing companies operate in a global business environment that is extremely competitive and dynamic. Changes occur in the supply chain, and consumer demand can ebb and flow – and even surge, according to external environmental factors. Tracking KPIs within a manufacturing facility is critical for a company to make sure they’re meeting their targets and are flexible enough to strategically meet consumer demand. Operation time in manufacturing is one of the most crucial KPIs within a production facility, as it directly indicates how much time and resources are being spent to produce every item. And as all businesses know, especially in the manufacturing sector, time is money. 

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