How to Calculate Cycle Time.

Cycle time is the time between commencement and completion of a process, therefore, in a customer call centre, the cycle time for a customer phone call may be the time difference between answering the call and call completion.  In a manufacturing company, involved in large capital products, the cycle time may similarly be the time from raw material receipt through to the time the item of production finishes final inspection.

The formula for cycle time = 1/Throughput rate. Where: Throughput rate  = (Units Produced or Tasks completed)/ Time


Cycle Time calculation in a Continuous Process.

In the vast majority of instances, there will be numerous products or services being processed at any one time, therefore the cycle time calculation needs to be modified as follows:

Cycle time  = Average time between completion of units.

Example: Consider a manufacturing facility, which is producing 100 units of product per 40 hour week. The average throughput rate is 1 unit per 0.4 hours, which is one unit every 24 minutes. Therefore the cycle time is 24 minutes on average.


Cycle Time calculation for Batch Processing.

Consider a pharmaceutical company producing product in batch format. Each batch may consist of 10,000 units of product. The cycle time is normally calculated as per the continuous process previous, however, the batch is considered the unit of measure, so that the cycle time is given as a batch cycle time.

Example. In a pharmaceutical company, 100 batches of product, of batch size 1000 units are produced in a 40 hours week. The cycle time here is normally given as 24 minutes to produce a single batch of 1000 units.


Cycle Time calculation in a Service Process.

The service industry covers a broad range of process types, such as meal preparation and provision in restaurants, maintenance and repair of electrical and mechanical equipment, many government bodies, the financial industry etc.. Measuring and continually reducing cycle time is critical to continued success.

Example: Consider a restaurant serving 20 meals per hour. On average one meal is served every 3 minutes.  If the cycle time can be reduced, then it may allow a higher throughput of customers (if that is the focus of the restaurant).

Example: Consider a bank, where customers go into the bank to complete financial transactions. If on average one bank counter employee can complete the transaction requests of 10 customers per hour, then on average the cycle time of each customer is 6 minutes. Can this be reduced by having the customer complete forms in advance of getting to the desk, or by simplifying processes so that the cycle time per customer is reduced?

Reducing the cycle time should increase customer satisfaction, plus improve operating efficiency for the bank.


Cycle Time & Process Performance.

Cycle Time of a key measure for building an understanding of process performance and for driving process efficiency. It is directly linked to quality & reliability improvement as cycle time can only be reduced where there is consistent achievement of high quality and reliable process uptimes.


Information & training presentation on how to improve process performance and drive down process Cycle Time >>>

Baldridge Performance Excellence Program.
European Foundation for Quality Management.