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What is Manufacturing Cycle Time?

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Manufacturing Cycle Time
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Manufacturing cycle time is crucial for the business. A business with accurate cycle time will successfully complete the manufacturing process on time. If your business doesn’t track or measure the duration it takes to produce a product then how will you deliver the product to the customers within the time limit? This scenario will impact the bottom line of the business. To prevent slow production, a clear understanding of the manufacturing processes is essential. In this blog, we will learn more about manufacturing cycle time and its importance for the business.

What is Cycle Time in Manufacturing?

Manufacturing Cycle time is crucial for the company. Cycle time is used mainly to measure the performance of the production process. It measures the duration it takes to finish making a batch of products. The time frame begins with the raw materials and ends with the making of the finished product.

Hence, the manufacturing cycle time is calculated to find out the total time required to manufacture a finished product. Additionally, the productivity of the labourers and the efficiency of the production cycle are also measured. In simpler words, manufacturing cycle time is the duration in which the raw materials are made into finished products. It encompasses loading, machining, assembly, inspection, moving materials and waiting.

Cycle time also involves different elements such as machine set-up duration, machine running time, materials handling time, and quality control time. If a company accurately measures the manufacturing cycle time, then it can complete the production process within the predicted time frame. Plus, this prediction can identify anomalies and find ways to improve that particular area.

Apart from that, the cycle time in manufacturing measures the overall productivity of the production process. The entire process must be closely monitored to achieve efficiency. If you want a different perspective on the production line, divide the net production by the total number of items.

Also Read : What is Inventory Cycle Count?

How to Calculate Manufacturing Cycle Time?

Let us discuss the cycle time formula below:

→Manufacturing Cycle Time Formula

Your business can rely on numerous ways to calculate the cycle time formula. The formula can be used inside the manufacturing plant for multiple purposes. The duration of the overall manufacturing process without any support services is considered under manufacturing cycle time.

In the effective cycle time, the production process includes load and unload time, application change over time per piece and process time. The manufacturing cycle time is calculated as the sum of added time(productive time) and non-value added time(non-productive hours).

∗ Manufacturing Cycle Time = Process time + Material movement time + Inspection time + Idle waiting time

∗ Value-added hours = Process time + Inspection time

∗ Non-value added hours = Movement time + Queue time constitute

→Process Time

The process time is the duration in which the raw materials are turned into a finished product. Further, processed time can be minimized by closely analyzing the entire production process. Here are some characteristics of the process time.

If the processing time is shorter, the manufacturing process is considered to be more efficient and cost-effective.

It is crucial to analyze all the tasks of the production process and measure the time each task takes to complete. Categorize the task which is dependent on other tasks. After meticulous examination, you will get a clear picture of the manufacturing process and the duration it takes to finish each task.

Consider using a production management system if you want to track the production time accurately. Technologies such as ERP software can be implemented to track the timing of each task accurately. In addition, it can give accurate and detailed reports on the performance of the production cycle.

After thoroughly analyzing the processing time, manufacturers can focus on tasks that require improvement. They can make changes to achieve efficiency in the best possible way.

→Move Time

Move time can impact the efficiency and the success of manufacturing operations. It means the amount of time a machine or process takes from one process to the next. If the processing time is shorter it is more cost-effective for the business. Consider a few essential points to consider for the move time.

Move time should be carefully analyzed at each stage as it will help in removing potential bottlenecks. Plus, it will help identify the tasks that require improvement.

Move time also helps in finding out the employees who need additional training. Further, to reduce the move time, proper planning is essential. Each step has to be planned ahead and the machines have to be configured in advance. The need to set up the machine is to maintain efficiency and eliminate downtime. Ensure that the tools and materials are easily available. Plus, make sure to record all the processes. Automation is the key to the stages as mentioned earlier. You will achieve an error-free process.

In addition, ensure proper interaction between the employees and the machines. All the staff must know the production schedule, stages and the entire process. So if there are any issues they can be sorted instantly and efficiently.

→Inspection Time

In this stage the product, the time it takes to check if the product is free of all the defects. It is a part of the production process. It is done to reduce the costs of rework and wastage, as a result, customers will be happy with the product which is a win-win situation.

In addition, inspection ensures that the manufactured product stays compliant with industrial standards. Further, visual inspections and functional tests are the two types of inspections conducted for the manufacturing process. In visual inspections, the products are inspected closely to identify defects or any irregularities. The latter means that the product meets the prescribed specifications.

Quality is also a crucial part of the inspection. On the whole, quality ensures that the product is compliant with all the standards, plus, it ensures that it is free of any defects or irregularities.

→Queue Time

In this stage, the amount of time spent waiting for the tasks to begin is calculated. Calculating the queue time will help reduce labour costs and will reduce the time of the production process. Some of the factors influencing the queue time in manufacturing include the size of the production run, the complexity of the product and the production process, the lead time of materials and components, and the availability of resources.

If the production process queue time is long, then it will lead to bottlenecks and delays shipping of the product. It will result in increased costs and decreased customer satisfaction. Queue time can be reduced by implementing planned strategies, automation, and reducing the number of steps in the manufacturing process. Lean manufacturing methods can also be helpful.

Cycle time can be determined by multiplying the number of pieces and then dividing it by the run time.

∗ Cycle Time = Total Parts Produced / Run Time 

Also Read : What are the types of Manufacturing Processes? 

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⇒Example of Manufacturing Cycle Time

Manufacturing cycle time refers to the total duration required to produce one unit of a product from start to finish. Let us look at an example of an assembly line for smartphones:

1. Component Preparation (10 minutes): Raw materials like microchips, screens, and batteries are gathered and prepared for assembly.

2. Assembly (30 minutes): Workers assemble the components into a functional smartphone.

3. Testing (15 minutes): Each phone undergoes quality checks to ensure all features work correctly.

4. Packaging (5 minutes): The finished phone is packaged with accessories and user manuals.

5. Inspection (10 minutes): A final quality check is performed on the packaged product.

6. Shipping (30 minutes): The packaged phones are loaded onto trucks for distribution.

In this example, the total manufacturing cycle time is 100 minutes for one smartphone.

Why Track Manufacturing Cycle Time?

Businesses know the benefits of tracking the manufacturing cycle as it will help fulfil all the primary goals of the business such as productivity, efficiency and quality. The cycle time formula will help businesses of all sizes to identify inefficiencies, and faults in operations and get access to the daily operations and get rid of loopholes.

→Increase in Revenue

Cycle time helps the business identify the major expenses. Hence, it helps the business to reduce the wastage. By analyzing and using the right resources, the excess waste of time can be avoided. Depending on the manufacturing cycle, companies can employ the resources for the process.

→Enhances Production Rates

Analyzing the cycle time helps the company to eliminate wastage, maintain good relations with labourers and consistently enhance productivity and production rates.

→Achieve Competitive Advantage

Keeping track of the cycle time helps the business to stay ahead of the competition. It provides real-time information on all the manufacturing functions which helps in determining the delivery time ranges. This enables them to reduce the production time which will help in gaining a competitive advantage.

→Customer Satisfaction

Delivering the product at the right time develops trust and a healthy relationship with the customers. It will encourage more returning customers. Cycle time will help in the accurate prediction of the production lifecycles.

→Insights on Business Spending

Tracking the manufacturing cycle time will help the business to have better control over its operations. Business owners, manufacturers, and production managers can gain insights from tracking the cycle time and make better decisions for the business.

Things to Keep in Time When Monitoring Cycle Time

You need to consider a few factors before tracking the manufacturing cycle time.

> Supply chain problems: Supply chain disruption is an ongoing issue. Sometimes there will be logistics challenges which will delay the delivery and will negatively impact the cycle time. In advance be ready for any change that happens in the supply chain system.

> Communication challenges: Every team involved in the manufacturing process must communicate well about all the functions. Suppose that the shop floor team does not have the proper tools to communicate efficiently. The incapability to collaborate affects the cycle time.

> Lacking the right tools: Suppose the machine breaks down, what are the alternatives you have set up for your business? How will you manage an unplanned downtime? There has to be an alternative solution to stop this issue from impacting the cycle time negatively.

Your business must plan to address all these unexpected challenges.


In conclusion, manufacturing cycle time plays a critical role in assessing the efficiency and productivity of a production process. It encompasses the entire duration required to transform raw materials into a finished product. By meticulously analyzing each stage of production, companies can identify bottlenecks, streamline operations, and ultimately enhance their overall output. Shortening cycle times can lead to increased throughput, improved customer satisfaction, and reduced costs.

Moreover, a swift and efficient manufacturing cycle time enables businesses to respond promptly to market demands and stay competitive in today’s fast-paced industries. Therefore, managing and optimizing cycle time remains a crucial aspect of modern manufacturing, driving success and innovation.

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