What is Manufacturing Cycle Time?

Manufacturing Cycle Time

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Manufacturing Cycle Time

Manufacturing cycle time, also known as throughput time, refers to the total time from when a production process begins until the finished product is ready for delivery. This cycle time includes all activities involved in producing a good, including processing time, inspection time, move time, and any queue time that occurs when the items are waiting to be worked on in the next step of the process.

In more detailed terms:

  • Processing Time: The time during which a product is actually being worked upon physically by machines or employees.
  • Inspection Time: The time during which people or machines are checking the product to ensure it meets quality standards.
  • Move Time: The time taken to move products from one place to another during the production process.
  • Queue Time: The time a product spends waiting to be worked on (in a queue), moved, inspected, or processed.

The manufacturing cycle time is a crucial metric as it directly impacts the lead time given to the customers, the working capital tied up in the products, and the company’s ability to respond to changes in demand. Businesses continually strive to reduce their manufacturing cycle time to improve efficiency, increase output, and respond faster to market demand.

Example of Manufacturing Cycle Time

Let’s consider a bicycle manufacturing company.

Suppose the company starts the production process for a new bicycle. The total time taken from when the raw materials start being processed to when the finished bicycle is ready for shipment is the manufacturing cycle time.

Here’s a breakdown of possible time components:

  1. Processing Time: The actual time spent manufacturing the bicycle, such as assembling the frame, installing the wheels and handlebars, etc., is 3 hours.
  2. Inspection Time: The time spent checking the bicycle for any defects and ensuring it meets the quality standards is 1 hour.
  3. Move Time: The time spent moving the bicycle between different stations (like from assembly to painting to inspection) totals 0.5 hours.
  4. Queue Time: The time the bicycle spends waiting in line to be worked on at each station, say it adds up to 1.5 hours.

Adding all these times together, the total manufacturing cycle time for the bicycle is:

3 hours (Processing) + 1 hour (Inspection) + 0.5 hours (Move) + 1.5 hours (Queue) = 6 hours

So, in this example, it takes a total of 6 hours to manufacture one bicycle. It’s worth noting that businesses always look for ways to reduce this time (without compromising on quality) to increase productivity and efficiency.

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