Manufacturing Estimating Cycle Time

Estimating labor is a critical job to accurately cost a part. Cycle time includes both handling time and run time.

One of the most difficult aspects of estimating is figuring out what the cycle time may be for a process.   There are many factors which affect the cycle time which are not fixed including skill level of the person running the machine, reliability of the machine, maintenance of the machine, inspection of the parts being run, the quality of the material and others.   In future discussions we will go over these different aspects of estimating but right now we are discussing at the high level, what is cycle time?

Cycle time is defined as the handling time + run time.

Handling time is the time spent as the operator loads and unloads the part being manufactured from the machine.

Run time is the time the operator spends at the machine running the part or the time the machine is running by itself, i.e. a cnc machine.    Some operations require the operator to be present during the running of the part and others do not.

The basic formula for estimating an operations cost is

Cycle Time Per Piece

(Handling Time + Run Time)

Total Estimating Operation Time

Setup Time + Cycle Time


(Staging Time + Setup Time + Transit Time + Tear Down Time) + (Handling Time * Run Time) * Quantity To Be Produced

Estimating your cycle times is a critical area for any manufacturer to be profitable.    Cost estimating MIE Solutions provides software to help you do this calculations as efficiently as possible through their MRP/ERP systems quoting package.

Author: MIE Solutions

David Ferguson has over 20 years of experience in the manufacturing and fabrication industry. David Ferguson has been to over 100 manufacturing companies helping and guiding them to be more efficient and cost effective. As a child in Junior High School David Ferguson found a passion for the early computer systems, which would drive much of his future work. David Ferguson created and sold his first computer program, Arrow Data Systems, which was an early CAD/CAM system for the Apple 2e Computer. In the late 1980's after seeing his father (a sheet metal manufacturer) come home many nights estimating, David Ferguson saw an opportunity to optimize his effort through computer technology. Shortly thereafter the FabriTRAK Production Control package was developed. The Quote It! estimating package was developed out of the FabriTRAK system to become one of the leading sheet metal estimating packages in the world. David Ferguson has always had a passion for developing software to make the manufacturing process simpler, faster and more efficient. Prior to founding MIE Solutions David Ferguson worked with his father at Alco Sheet Metal, METALSOFT Inc. and was a consultant at Toyota Motors Sales. David Ferguson has his Masters in Computer Science and Mathematics from California State University, Long Beach.

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