Managing Takt Time in the Office For Different Types of Work

takt-time-in-the-office---feature-image

In the previous article, we discussed the concept of Takt Capabilities and how they allow us to move up and down the gears, so to speak, to match the output for each day.

As offices tend to process a variety of work – all of which can have different process times, the dilemma is; how do you manage this?

The answer lies in managing volume and mix, using service families.

I mentioned before that if we process quotes, some may take 15 minutes, yet others may take 2-3 hours to compile. And if we set a blanket takt time to cover everything, it would be meaningless.

Service families allow us to break this mix down, so we can manage this volume and mix.

What’s a Service Family?

A service family contains services that are very similar in both the processes that they go through AND the typical time they take to complete.

We’ll refer to this as the 80/30 rule.

The 80/30 rule states that services can only be part of the same service family if they share roughly 80% of the same process steps AND the total process times are within 30% of each other.

So, understanding your department’s key service families is the first thing we need to do. It allows us to create multiple takt capabilities, therefore creating target drumbeats for each family.

Identifying your service families comes from creating a simple service family matrix like the one below:

service-family-matrix-template
A service family maps each service against the processes they go through. A typical template looks like the above

Remember, the aim here is to see which services naturally fall into which service family.

Let’s explore this a little more.

Let’s suppose we have 3 different types of quotes that are needed at any one time.

When we map out these processes on our service family matrix, we get the following:

Using our 80% rule, firstly – that services must be within 80% of each other to become part of the same family – we can start to see similarities where some services could be grouped together.

Running the 80% rule shows potentially 2 service families (A&B)

Now, let’s suppose we’ve already observed and captured the average timings of each step and for each service. We can now complete our analysis…

Now let’s add the 30% rule – all services must be within 30% of the longest time.

Using the 30% rule, we find that each of the 3 services are their own service family, because none can be grouped by total process time being within 30% of each other

With both of these bits of information, we can assign services to groups that pass this 80/30 rule. In this case, we’ll settle with 3 different service families.

Set the Pace for Each Family

Once we’ve identified our service families, we can now carry on applying takt time so we can set a pace for each service family. This pace is…. you’ve guessed it….Takt time!

We know that applying a blanket takt time wouldn’t work as variation can be too erratic in the office environment. So we return to our good old friend Takt Capability.

For each service family, we now need to analyse the demand over a period of time (as per the process in the previous article).

Here’s an example again, to help..

Our quoting process demand

It’s then a case of identifying takt capabilities for each product family, in accordance to their demand. We need to cover the range of demand by inserting different takt capabilities.

To make it more meaningful, we’ve labelled our families as follows:

  • Standard quotes
  • Moderate quotes
  • Complex quotes

The team identify that standard quotes are the bread and butter. These need to be turned around fast – within 4 hours.

The moderate quotes are turned around within 24 hours.

The larger complex quotes are expected to be delivered within 24 hours by customers.

We can drill our demand profile down further, by identifying daily demand for each family. Here’s how our example looks:

Assign Takt Capability

We now need to set the takt capability, so we can ramp up or slow down where needed, based on daily demand. Here’s our example findings of what our quotes look like

Assign Takt Times

We can now assign Takt Times for each family, based on corresponding takt capabilities. In order to achieve this, we need to establish availability. That is, how long will each service family be worked on each day.

Takt Capability 1 (Covering 80% of Demand):

  • Standard Quotes – we expect this service to be available for around 1.5 hours per day to satisfy demand. Therefore takt time would be 15 minutes (90 minutes available / 6 quotes (maximum))
  • Moderate Quotes – We expect this service to be available for 2 hours per day. The takt time for this family would be 120 minutes (120 minutes availability / 1 per day)
  • Complex Quotes – We expect this service to be available for around 4.5 hours per day. Takt time will be 270 minutes.

Takt Capability 2 (Covering Top 20% Peaks in Demand)

  • Standard Quotes – we expect around 2.5 hours allocated, so takt time would be around 17 minutes
  • Moderate Quotes – We’d expect this to be available for 2.5 hours per day, meaning the takt time would be 75 minutes
  • Complex Quotes – Availability 3 hours per day, meaning takt will be 90 minutes

Takt Capability 3 (Covering bottom 20% Demand)

  • Standard Quotes – we expect around 30 minutes allocated, so takt time would be around 15 minutes
  • Moderate Quotes – If there’s no demand, we don’t expect to process anything!
  • Complex Quotes – Again, if there’s no demand, we don’t expect to process anything

Next Steps

Once you’ve done the following:

  • identified the services that you need to provide
  • created a service family matrix
  • created service families
  • defined takt times for each capability

You’re now in a position to define standard work for each takt capability.

As i’ve previously alluded to, this means, identifying the following:

  • How many people are working on the process for each takt capability
  • Agreeing what work content they complete in tandem
  • Working to continuous flow principles

It’s then about making the work area visual to define what takt capabilities are being worked for each family, every day. This in turn will define how many people are needed and how work gets completed.

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