What is Manufacturing Cycle Time?

A simple production efficiency calculation can yield big efficiency and revenue results.

In simple terms, manufacturing cycle time is an important manufacturing metric that measures the total time it takes to produce a product or complete a task, from start to finish. Cycle times can be measured for individual machines, people, multi-step processes or for the entire production operation. This time-based metric includes processing time, setup time, queue time, and move time. Manufacturers use manufacturing cycle time to assess efficiency and productivity.

While some manufacturers elect to use paper methods or spreadsheets to collect and calculate cycle times, these activities can be automated through the use of Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES). 

How to calculate cycle time

The mathematics for calculating the value is rather simple, if the production performance data is easily available. In general, the manufacturing cycle time formula is: manufacturing cycle time = (processing time + setup time + queue time + move time) / (good pieces per hour x utilization).

To offer a little more detail on the formula’s components, processing time is the time it takes to make the product. Setup time is the time it takes to get the machine ready to make the product. Queue time is the time spent waiting for the machine to be available. Move time is the time spent moving the product from one station to the next.

How is cycle time used?

Manufacturers use manufacturing cycle time as a key metric for measuring efficiency and productivity on the shop floor. Tracking cycle times and working to reduce them, manufacturers can maximize output and minimize costs by identifying underperforming operations that have the greatest impact on total operational throughput.

There are several ways firms can make adjustments to their operations when changes are needed. Some strategies that manufacturers may use to improve manufacturing cycle time include automating processes, streamlining workflows, using specialized machines or equipment, and employing more skilled workers who have a high level of efficiency and expertise.

Ultimately, manufacturing cycle time represents an important factor in the success or failure of a manufacturing business. By understanding how manufacturing cycle time is calculated, manufacturers can better assess their performance and work to improve it over time.

If your firm is looking to get more out of their current shop floor processes, calculating and managing cycle times with a Manufacturing Execution System (MES) like MV2 can track labor, machine and performance and help locate issues. Contact us today to learn more about MV2 and how it can find more throughput from your operations.

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