TaktTime – Developing Software
In 2009 myITdepartment were approached by a client of ours in the medical device business to assist them to vet a software application they were considering. The client wanted this application for just one part of its functionality known as Takt time. In its most basic form Takt time measures the average time between the start of production of one unit and the start of production of the next unit.
In our client’s case they wanted to measure and report on how long a unit spent on each phase of a four-step production line with the aim of identifying the optimal number of production staff for each step on the line. As mentioned above they were considering an off-the-shelf application that could deliver this (but they had no use for the other modules in this software). We suggested that we could write a piece of software to provide exactly what was required. What we delivered in phase one was:
- A .net based application (run in a web browser) with a MS-SQL back-end
- Four fixed barcode scanners at each of the four points on the line to scan the unit as it passed by and log this information to the SQL database. From this data we could calculate the time taken for each step for each individual unit.
- A large screen (on the production floor) to display the actual vs. target for the given day / week / month
- Training for the production manager & production supervisors on how to use the system
One unexpected benefit from displaying the information to production staff was it acted a goal setting / motivation tool. This was very obvious in the hour leading up to break times because if the interim targets for production were achieved the break time could start early and therefore last longer!
Management were quickly able to adjust the target levels / number of production staff per shift which delivered obvious benefits to the organisation. Over the following years we modified the application to suit other production lines in the same client and in 2012 were approached by another medical device company to provide the system for them. Their initial requirement was quite simple in that they needed a pass/fail check at the end of a production line. We delivered this by adding a push button device (green for pass / red for fail) at the end of the line and again displaying all this information in real time to large screen. This led to a 10% decrease in fails which the company estimate saved them circa €100k in costs in one year – a substantial ROI on the €14k (including the hardware) that the system cost them.
Between 2012 and 2015 we continued to add new lines in both clients and modified the system to suit each different production line environment. Based on the above we believe we have a viable product that is servicing a niche market and would like to explore ways to expand its install base within Ireland with a view to looking at export markets in due course.