Pace determines our activities. It creates harmony and a systematic approach. Our hearts beat at a certain rhythm, the daily rhythm keeps repeating the same pattern and music also has a specific rhythm. Our lives would be turned upside down if the morning was immediately followed by night. A musical performance would change if one of the musicians in an orchestra played the wrong song.
Idle time in construction
Idle time refers to the time during a construction project when no progress is being made at the site. In other words, the site stands idle. Plans may need to be specified or the required materials or workers may be missing. Perhaps a certain phase is not progressing and hence the following phases have to wait.
Takt time is an old invention that is already being utilised in construction and within production facilities. Takt time can be seen as a unit of time during which a product or a part thereof must be completed in order to keep to the agreed schedule. In takt time production, an entity is divided into smaller sections.
Let’s take bathroom fixtures as an example. An apartment building has ten bathrooms on three floors and four hours have been reserved for each apartment. The worker will start from the first floor apartments and then move on to the next floor. The next phase of work can begin in the area once the worker has left the apartment. Other work can also be done in the apartment at the same time, for example in the kitchen.
Car factories offer another excellent example. Cars are built on an assembly line where the manufacturing process has been carefully planned and organised. The completion of an automobile, in other words the turnaround time, can be kept within the required schedule. Possible issues with quality can be quickly detected and solved before the product is completed.
Towards a common goal
When things are done at a certain rhythm, it requires a systematic approach, processes, tools and a common goal. Takt time cannot just be achieved through a joint decision. Everyone involved in the project must understand that we all affect the final outcome through our work.
The orchestra has to play in sync for everything to fall into place. If the notes are missing from a bar, it is difficult for a musician to know which chords they are expected to play. Work done in a hurry will not ensure a high-quality product. Different sections must be scheduled correctly to ensure the required outcome.
Takt time improves product quality because the manufacturing process is divided into parts and possible quality defects can be detected in between sections and not only once there is a finished product.
Flow efficiency before process efficiency
In the construction industry, takt time is a multidimensional concept that clarifies work processes. The accuracy of plans from the perspective of both a customer and a worker, the status of the previous phase and the availability of materials have a major impact on how well the required rhythm can be kept. Everyone involved in the project must be committed to the approach and common goal in order to achieve the takt time.
Production with a rhythm will show its advantages when it is seen as the entire organisation’s approach. In a production organisation, projects integrate into the built machinery – they flow through it.