Warehouse workload planning can be nightmarish, especially when multiple-line orders with any number of variations in product combination and order size are collated. Planning such operations can be complex because of the many factors that influence the time it takes to pick and pack an order, and capturing and measuring that time.
There is a simple way to calculate daily productivity targets and measure performance required to achieve it: Takt Time.
What is Takt Time?
Takt Time, derived from the German for ‘rhythm’ or ‘drum beat’, addresses the relationship between time available and customer demand to calculate the target time interval to which each unit of work needs to be completed:
This calculation returns the minute by minute target for the day’s work, against which manning levels can be set and productivity can be measured. Productivity should be measured at regular intervals throughout the day to prevent any underperformance escalating to an irrecoverable level. If, at any point during the day, the productivity rate drops below the Takt Time corrective action will be required to recover the deficit.
Over time, routine use of Takt Time calculations and productivity measures builds reliable data records from which average Cycle Times for order picking and collation can be determined and, once a reliable Cycle Time is known, manning levels are easier to set:
Why is Takt Time important?
A small amount of time invested in calculating Takt Times and measuring and recording actual productivity will enable you to:
- Assess shift performance against plan at any point during the day
- Identify underperformance in advance of order failure
- Correct underperformance before the customer is affected
- Reduce unplanned overtime or temporary labour
- Reliably plan shift manning levels
- Communicate capacity constraints to prevent over-commitment of resources