Manufacturing Throughput – A Comprehensive Guide on Key Manufacturing Metrics


manufacturing throughput worker

What is Manufacturing Throughput?

Manufacturing throughput in a production set up helps track how long it takes for each of your productions to be completed to help enhance operational efficiency and order fulfillment cycle time. It is the difference between meeting set target quotas and losing customers to the competition. So, if manufacturers fall behind on meeting their manufacturing throughput it could result in delayed deliveries and impact customer expectations and schedules. This could cause customers to find other and more reliable manufacturing suppliers.  

What is Manufacturing Throughput time?

Manufacturing throughput time is the actual amount of time required for a product to pass through a manufacturing process, finally converting from raw materials into finished goods. It includes the time of processing of raw materials into a component or sub-assembly. The time required for the raw material to pass through an entire manufacturing process which covers the complete period from the time it enters the manufacturing until it exits manufacturing. The manufacturing throughput time includes: 


The actual time involved in transforming raw materials into finished goods.


The time spent in inspecting raw materials, work-in-process, and completed goods, including multiple stages of the production process.


The total time required to move actual items in and out of the production facility which also includes workstations within the production area.


The waiting time involved before starting the processing, inspection, and movement activities.

Cycle Time vs Lead Time vs Throughput time

Throughput time is the actual time taken for a product to be manufactured. This is the duration of time required for the production process as well as the other time periods involved in converting raw materials into finished goods.

The manufacturing lead time is the time between the release to the manufacturing floor of a production order, which includes the instruction to produce a certain quantity of material within a specific timeframe and the product’s shipment. Components of manufacturing lead time include materials handling time, the set-up time, per-unit processing time, and queue time between each production stage, which are the three elements of manufacturing throughput time.

Manufacturing cycle time is the time taken to produce one complete unit from the start to the end. Cycle time gives you the idea of how much time it will take to complete the demand, according to the current rate. Calculating the cycle time can give an actual idea of the production rate and help with the data to make changes in the production rate to satisfy the demand.

Effective ways to improve Manufacturing Throughput

One key aspect to keep in mind while discussing Manufacturing Throughput is that there is a difference between throughput and output. Manufacturing output is the total production which includes scrap and rejections. It is considered as a measure of the productive capacity planning of industry, machine, factory, or an individual. Throughput only measures the actual product or service that is successfully delivered and accepted by the customer. Throughput is clearly defined as the rate at which something is processed or produced.

Here are some key techniques that can be used to enhance Manufacturing Throughput. 

  • This is one of the most proven ways to improve throughput in data-driven manufacturing–  carefully analyze the existing operational and production processes for potential bottlenecks.
  • After this is done, manufacturers can work to eliminate that bottleneck to avoid delays, wastage, and losses. 
  • At times, manufacturers may find some solutions to simplify a long stage process queue to make the process more efficient, or even eliminate the process entirely and replace it with a different one.
  • The most optimum solution depends on several factors like spare floor space, cost of replacing equipment, existing process flow and risks involved, etc. 
Eliminate Bottlenecks Using AI-Enabled Technology
  • Manual tasks always have a high risk of human errors with high production and supply chain costs, time involved, and a compromise on quality to a great extent. In many cases, simply having the right tool for the job can have a massive impact on productivity.
  • With the automation of factory processes, manufacturers can easily increase the final throughput and improve the quality of both the product and working conditions.
  • Production consistency, the precision involved and elimination of unpredictable risks are also possible with automation of tasks. 
  • The biggest hurdle in the path of increasing manufacturing throughput is losing critical time over worker safety and accident prevention.  
  • An injured worker on the factory floor can impact the just in time management in manufacturing process and halt essential operational activity. It can also impact fellow workers’ time and capacity.
  • Worker and process safety is also important to avoid – the loss of a skilled and efficient worker, temporary or permanent floor closures for detailed investigations into any incident, accidental insurance claims which could also be faulty, high insurance costs, permanent damage to equipment 
  • Equipment downtime can significantly impact the rate of manufacturing throughput and it is important for manufacturers to choose a solution with real-time downtime visibility, which can help request and receive quick assistance.
  • Predicting machine downtime can help avoid maintenance delays and this time can be used for enhancing manufacturing throughput instead. 

The Role of Artificial Intelligence in Optimizing Manufacturing Throughput

The manufacturing sector is a perfect fit for the application of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Right from the design process on the production floor, to the smart supply chain management and administration, AI is transforming the way manufacturing operations are done. Today, most small to mid-sized manufacturers are improving throughput, energy consumption, and profit per hour with customized AI solutions.

One area where AI finds significant value is creating data-driven industrial operations using the power of AI-lead manufacturing solutions. By eliminating bottleneck operation with supply chain AI, manufacturers can boost throughput and achieve the targets of their operations.

ThroughPut’s AI-driven Supply chain optimization software ELI, helps manufacturers create automated, sustainable, and efficient supply chain operations to achieve unprecedented operational excellence. ELI enables manufacturers to meet and beat their Supply Chain Forecasting Goals by nailing-down bottlenecks & eliminating waste to achieve end-to-end efficiencies.

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