In addition, cycle time reduction often improves quality. When a cycle time is too close to the takt time, there is little margin for error. If a process is dialed in with very little variation, this is seldom a problem. But most processes have some inconsistency in them, resulting in people falling behind the normal pace on occasion. This leads to them rushing, which, in turn can lead to mistakes. Reducing cycle time is a low cost way to add a bit of a buffer to avoid those sorts of defects.
Standard Work provides the framework to do cycle time reduction. While simply stabilizing a process does not in and of itself reduce cycle time, it provides a foundation upon which to make improvements.
Cycle time reduction is accomplished through a variety of kaizen methods—jidoka (separating people from machines), improving manufacturing fixtures, redesigning parts to make them easier to assembly, improving software, poka yokingprocesses, and whatever else creative employees can think of.
One important point about productivity that you should remember. Simply reducing cycle time will not improve productivity. There has to be an accompanying change in staffing or increase in output for productivity to improve.