Cycle Time

What Does It Mean?

Cycle time measures the amount of time or the speed with which a product is completed from order to delivery. This KPI revolves around production efficiency, and tracks how effectively production is managed to optimize output.


Why Does it Matter?

Efficiency is a vital consideration for any manufacturing operation, as slow production times and inefficient processes can severely impact your bottom line.

Including cycle time KPIs in your manufacturing analytics can give you a better idea of how effective your operations are at meeting your production, delivery, and quality goals.

More importantly, it can highlight areas for improvement on both an overall product level and an individual component level. By changing the scope of the cycle you’re measuring, you can determine where problems are developing and quickly resolve them.

How Do you Measure the KPI?

On a production level, cycle time rate is measured by tracking the time it takes for a product to be completed from the moment it is ordered to the instant it is marked as completed and ready for delivery. On a workbench level, it can be measured by tracking the time from when a component arrives to when it is passed on to the next step in the production line.

What Sources Would You Use to Measure the KPI?

Tracking cycle times requires data about productivity, including sources such as the number of orders opened against the number of orders fulfilled. Moreover, you can include sources such as individual workbench production time and overall production cycles.

Give me an Example…

Let’s say your manufacturing plant has fallen behind on orders, and you can’t seem to pin down exactly where the problem is manifesting itself. To uncover a solution, you can start by tracking your cycle time for each product to determine which is taking longer than normal to produce.

You can easily compare this cycle time data to historic data points to visualize which item is behaving abnormally. Once you have singled out the problem product, you can turn to a more granular approach.

Measuring the individual workbench cycle times can give you an idea of exactly where the production breakdown is occurring. You can also more easily determine if it is an individual point in the process, or if it has affected different steps in the line.

What Benchmark/Indicators Should I Use?

Some useful indicators include:

  • Total Output vs. Total Orders
  • Individual cycle time
  • Historic production rates