Cycle Time Calculator

By Julia Żuławińska
Last updated: Oct 26, 2020

The cycle time calculator tells you how fast, on average, it takes someone to produce one item.

Whether you work at a big factory, fast-food restaurant, or you make jewelry as a side job, this calculator can help you assess your productivity. After you find the cycle time, we recommend going to the related takt time calculator.

In the text, you will find out:

  • What is cycle time definition?
  • What's the cycle time formula?
  • How to calculate cycle time?
  • Takt time vs. cycle time - what's the difference?

Cycle time definition 🕒

What is cycle time?

💡 Cycle time is the average time it takes someone to produce one item.

To calculate cycle time, you need to divide total manufacturing time by the number of units produced in that time. So, the cycle time formula is:

Cycle time = Net production time / Produced units

Why should you calculate cycle time? Let's say you want to sell handmade jewelry. After working for 2 hours every day, for six days, you've made ten pieces of jewelry.

Cycle time = 2h * 6 / 10 = 72 minutes / one piece of jewelry

On average, you spent 72 minutes on one piece of jewelry. Now, you can price the jewelry accordingly to the time it took you to make it and the materials' cost.

Remember - cycle time includes only the manufacturing time. It doesn't count designing, preparing supplies, or shipping. These are a part of a broader term - lead time. Go to our lead time calculator to learn more.

How to calculate cycle time with our calculator?

Cycle time isn't only valuable to small home-businesses. You can find it beneficial as a manager in a clothing store, restaurant, pastry shop, or even a hardware store. That's why we prepared two methods to calculate cycle time.

While using our cycle time calculator, first you have to choose the calculation type:

  1. Simple - if you want to know the cycle time during a specific period.
    • With a timer, measure how much time you spent on actual work. Do not include any breaks. The number on your timer is your Net production time.
    • Count the number of items you produced over the chosen period. Input it in the produced units field.
  2. Weekly - if you want to know the cycle time you had during a week.
    • Determine how many days a week you worked. How many hours per day?
    • Measure how much time (on average) in a day you spent on breaks: lunch break, getting a coffee, socializing with co-workers.
    • Count how many items you produced over the week.

The result is the average time you spent on each item.

Takt time vs. cycle time

You can't talk about cycle time without mentioning another term - takt time. Takt time is the time you need to produce one item to meet the demand. Very similar to the cycle time formula, the takt time formula is:

Takt time = Net production time / Consumer demand

A perfect balance is when cycle time and takt time are equal. That's when the demand is equal to what you're able to produce at the same time. So, if takt time is much shorter than cycle time, you can ask yourself a series of questions:

  • Should I take fewer orders?
  • Can I increase the price?
  • Am I able to spend more time working? Can I make it my full-time job?
  • Can I hire another employee?
  • Is there a way to change the working conditions to be more productive?

You might be in a more complicated situation if takt time is longer than cycle time. To turn things around, you can consider:

  • Working on your marketing strategy;
  • Changing the form of sale; or
  • Closing down.

The solution you choose depends on the type and capabilities of a company.

Now you know how to calculate cycle time and its applications! Check out our other time and productivity calculators!

Julia Żuławińska
Calculation type
Available production time
Cycle time
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