Cycle time

Cycle time is a term used to describe the time it takes for a certain cycle to be complete. The term is typically used in manufacturing to optimize processes, but it can also be applied to logistics.

What is cycle time?

Cycle time is the maximum time it takes to complete a process from start to finish. It’s often synonymous to lead time. The term is used in manufacturing to measure and analyse various ways to improve processes.

The definition of cycle time is often the time that passes between two manufacturing points for a single product. In other words, the time it takes to produce a specific product in a series of products to be manufactured. The shorter the cycle time, the higher the production rate.

How is the cycle time calculated?

To calculate the cycle time you first need to define what a cycle is, within your specific field. You need to identify the start and end of the cycle, and then measure the time it takes to complete it.

Remember not to get cycle time mixed up with takt time. Cycle time is the maximum speed of a flow or production cycle, while the takt time is the time available on a certain day divided by demand.

When is the term cycle time used?

Cycle time is a pretty broad term. It’s used in manufacturing, but can also be used in services and products to describe a process from start to finish.

For example, you can describe a series of events in an office environment or a cleaning program in a washing machine using the term cycle time.

How are cycle times used?

The term cycle time is most common in industrial settings, to measure and possibly improve the production rate.

The purpose of cycle time is to define a measurable value of a process, to optimize and improve it. By knowing the cycle time you can also take action to adjust over and under capacity.

In logistics, for example when sending a package, the term can refer to the time it takes to send, transport and finally deliver a package.

Frequently asked questions about cycle time

How does cycle time work?

Cycle time measures the time it takes for a process or series of events to be completed – from start to finish.

What’s the difference between takt time and cycle time?

Takt time is the speed of a production or flow, while cycle time is the time it takes to complete a specific process.

Why are cycle times used in industrial settings?

The term cycle time is used to measure the time it takes to manufacture a product. By knowing the cycle time, the production flow can be optimized.