Cycle time can be defined as the total time required for completion of a job, task, or activity. In other words, cycle time can be defined as the total time taken for the completion of the operation. A cycle time begins when the operation begins and ends with the completion of the operation.
Meaning of Cycle Time
In the production, when operation begins or when the production of a unit begins with that the cycle time starts and it ends with the completion of the production of that unit. A production process consists of many small activities, and it requires both time and money to complete these activities.
A less productive production process consists of many such unwanted activities. Therefore, experts of an organization constantly try to find out activities which don’t make any difference to the production process and eliminate them so that cycle time can be reduced.
In addition to this, there are several activities which are not being carried out efficiently.
By improving these activities, the efficiency of the whole production process can be improved. The cycle time of a production process can be reduced by carrying out the Business Process Reengineering (BPR).
Using Business Process Reengineering, the activities of the whole production process are analyzed and redesigned to improve the performance and the productivity of the production process.
The formula of Cycle Time
Cycle time = Production time + Waiting Time for Production
Production time can be defined as the time when a sub production activity of the production process is happening. For example, for the production of a mobile phone. There are several production activities, such as the production of the motherboard of the phone.
The production of the motherboard is sub production activity of the production process of the mobile phone. The total time taken by all the sub production processes is called the production time of the process.
Waiting Time for production is the waiting time between two sub production processes. More the waiting time, high will be the cycle time, and lower will be the productivity of the production process.
In addition to this, to reduce the production time, companies make efforts to reduce the waiting time between two production processes.
Because the waiting time is an idle time where the resources of the company get wasted completely, for example, during the waiting time, employees also have to wait to get started with the next process.
Significance of cycle time
- Less cycle time means less lead time to launch a product in the market. With reduced cycle time companies can introduce new products in the market faster and stay ahead in business.
- Less cycle time means a company can produce more units of products in lesser time which helps them to utilize the resources of the organization at an optimum level.
- Less cycle time means more units of products to sell in the market, which helps in the generation of more revenue.
- Companies which can avail products to customers in less time are usually preferred by customers. You can reduce the total lead time (Click Hereto learn more about lead time) to deliver the product to a customer by reducing cycle time. Therefore, in this way, you can get a competitive edge over your competitors in the market.
- The time is taken to produce a unit product also lowers, which means lower higher efficiency and lower cost. A reduced cost of production helps companies to generate more Return on Investment (ROI).
- Lesser cycle time means increased productivity.
- The biggest advantage of cycle time is customer satisfaction. Customers prefer quality products in lower time. Reduced cycle time helps companies to deliver products to customers in less time, which in turn increase the customer base.
- In order to lower cycle time, companies make constant efforts and achieve this by reducing extra activities involved in the production process. Reduced number of activities means the lower expense of production and effective production process.
How to reduce cycle time in a production process?
1) Apply Business Process Reengineering
Business process reengineering (BPR) is a process where the entire production process of the organization is analyzed and redesigned to increase the productivity of the organization. (Click Here to learn more about the Business Process Reengineering).
The BPR process helps in reducing Cycle time, lead time, and Takt time to improve the efficiency of the organization. Using this process, all the unwanted activities can be found and either eliminated or are replaced by better and effective activities.
2) Effective Management of time and scheduling tasks
Another method to reduce it is by effective management of time and proper scheduling of tasks. Two activities which are not related can be performed at the same time, or some task which is not related to the current process can be performed during the waiting time.
In this way, you not only utilize the waiting time but also reduce the production time by performed task beforehand during the waiting time of other activities. However, it is not easy to perform; it requires a deep understanding of the process and planning to schedule activities in the waiting time.
3) Making the use of Kanban board
The cycle time can be reduced by using a Kanban board. In which the work is managed in such a way that work is pulled in the production process when the capacity of the production process allows rather than following the process straight.
This requires employees to visualize the task and prepare a “Kanban cycle time” board to adjust activities whenever time permits.
4) Involve the participants of the production process
Usually, in organizations, planning and scheduling is the work of the management, and employees simply follow the instructions given to them.
However, this is an ineffective way of working because the people who are working at management level are not aware of how work is being done at the factory level.
Therefore, rather just forcing work on employees and demanding output from them. Involve them in decision making and use their knowledge and experience to learn how to reduce cycle time.
5) Reduce waiting time
Reducing the waiting time of the production process is the simplest and easiest way of reducing total cycle time. Waiting time can be reduced by making the use of automation and machines.