Manufacturing Cycle Time

Date created: Sep 21, 2023  •   Last updated: Sep 21, 2023

What is Manufacturing Cycle Time

Measures the time it takes for manufacturing to produce a given product from the time the order is released to production, to finished goods. It helps identify bottlenecks and optimize production flow.

Manufacturing Cycle Time Formula

ƒ Process Time + Inspection Time + Move Time + Queue Time

How to calculate Manufacturing Cycle Time

Suppose a furniture manufacturing company is producing a certain line of chairs. Let's break down the time spent on each stage of the manufacturing process: It takes 3 hours of Process Time to prepare and assemble the parts of the chair. 30 minutes is then spent on Inspection Time to ensure an acceptable level of quality. A total of 15 minutes is accumulated on Move Time, as the chair proceeds through the production line. And a total of 1 hour is spent in Queue Time, as the chair waits to be moved from one stage to the next. Manufacturing Cycle Time = 3 hours (process time) + 0.5 hours (inspection time) + 0.25 hours (move time) + 1 hour (queue time) = 4.75 hours So, for this example, the Manufacturing Cycle Time for producing one chair is 4.75 hours. This understanding can lead the company to identify areas of inefficiency and work to reduce the Cycle Time, aiming to improve productivity and reduce costs.

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What is a good Manufacturing Cycle Time benchmark?

Just like with many manufacturing metrics, Cycle Time benchmarks can significantly vary depending upon the specifics of the industry, manufacturing process, and the type of product being produced. Some highly automated industries might have very short Cycle Times, while others that involve more manual labour or complex assembly procedures might have longer Cycle Times. However, regardless of the industry, a common benchmark for Cycle Time is to aim for it to be as short as possible without compromising the quality or safety of the product. This is because a shorter Cycle Time generally implies increased production efficiency, higher throughput, and lower costs.

More about Manufacturing Cycle Time

Manufacturing Cycle Time includes not only the time spent actively producing the product but also any associated wait times or delays. The manufacturing Cycle Time is calculated as the time between the start of production and the product's readiness for sale.

There are four stages that account for total cycle time. Each of these can and should also be measured independently: 

  • Process Time is the time spent actively transforming inputs into outputs during production.
  • Inspection Time is the time spent on quality checks to ensure the product meets the requisite standards.
  • Move Time is the time taken to move materials or products from one place to another within the production area.
  • Queue Time is the idle time that a product spends waiting to be moved onto the next stage in production.

This formula makes it possible to identify potential bottlenecks in the manufacturing process and areas that could be optimized for efficiency. By reducing any of these four components, a company can decrease its Manufacturing Cycle Time and increase throughput.

Each organization should establish its own Cycle Time goals based on its unique operational capabilities, industry standards, and quality expectations. Continuous improvement efforts should then be directed toward achieving these goals.

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