What is Setup Time?

Setup Time

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Setup Time

Setup time refers to the duration required to prepare a system, machine, process, or workstation for a new operation or production run. This time is distinct from the actual operation or production time. Setup time is especially relevant in manufacturing and production environments, where changing from one product or operation to another often requires various adjustments or configurations.

Example of Setup Time

Let’s consider the scenario of a bakery that produces different types of pastries.

Scenario: Producing Two Types of Pastries

A bakery produces croissants in the morning and then switches to making Danish pastries in the afternoon. Each switch requires a change in the setup of the baking area and equipment.

Initial Setup Time:

  • Preparation of Dough: Different pastries might have distinct dough mixtures. Preparing the dough mixture for croissants takes 20 minutes.
  • Machine Setup: The bakery uses a machine to roll and cut the dough. Changing the settings and attachments for croissants takes 15 minutes.
  • Oven Preheating: The oven needs to be set at a particular temperature for each pastry type. Preheating or adjusting the temperature for croissants takes 10 minutes.

Total setup time for croissants = 45 minutes.

When switching to Danish pastries:

  • Dough Preparation: 25 minutes (since it might involve more ingredients like fruit fillings).
  • Machine Setup: 15 minutes (different attachments and settings).
  • Oven Preheating: 10 minutes.

Total setup time for Danish pastries = 50 minutes.

Total combined setup time in a day = 95 minutes.

Efforts to Reduce Setup Time:

The bakery recognizes the lengthy setup times and takes measures to streamline:

  • Batching Dough Preparation: They prepare the dough for both croissants and Danish pastries at the start of the day. This reduces the dough setup time for Danish pastries to 10 minutes.
  • Upgrading Equipment: They invest in a newer machine that can switch between settings and attachments faster, reducing machine setup time for both pastry types by 7 minutes each.
  • Oven Upgrades: They invest in an oven with faster preheat times, reducing the time by 5 minutes for both types.

Total new setup time for croissants = 36 minutes (45 – 9).
Total new setup time for Danish pastries = 38 minutes (50 – 12).

New combined setup time in a day = 74 minutes, resulting in a savings of 21 minutes each day.


Over a week, the bakery saves over two hours of setup time, allowing them to either produce more pastries, take additional orders, or even introduce a new variety of pastry in the same production window. This example illustrates how businesses, even outside of typical manufacturing environments, can benefit from evaluating and optimizing their setup processes.

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