Takt time is existing production period or working hours divided by total buyer demand. In other words, the production rate is synchronized with demand. For instance, if a shirt manufacturer operates for 10 hours per day and the client needs 1000 shirts per day, the company’s takt time for the shirts is 100 units per hour.

Inspired by a German word Taktzeit that roughly translates to pulse or rate time, takt time was first utilized during the 1930s in the German aircraft sector. Toyota later adopted the production methodology during the 1950s, and is often credited with popularizing the method.

Takt Time Implementation Benefits and Challenges

A company that follows takt time production ensures its production team is consistently active and buzzing. This helps instantly recognize or detect equipment, quality or process synchronization issues. A takt time production approach also means a stabilized manufacturing setup and zero inventory buildup.  

On the flip side, process errors, downtime or rework (if any) could be costly or difficult to entertain, thanks to the already jam-packed production schedule. Therefore, in practice, companies generally ensure a higher production pace than what takt time recommends, to make time for fending any potential errors or disturbances.  

As takt time is based on demand or client preferences, it constantly evolves. Most companies review their production targets periodically to determine new takt time. Strict adherence to takt time means the right item is delivered to the right customer in the correct proportion.