How to calculate production rates

Updated February 21, 2018

A production rate is a measure of the typical amount of time it takes for a manufacturing operation to produce its goods. Production rates vary according to a wide range of variables, from the availability of materials to the morale of employees. In an operation where production has multiple phases, some parts of the process can be more efficient than others. By calculating production rates, a manager can develop an understanding of the relative efficiency of his operation, and use this information to increase productivity and control costs.

Track the number of hours your workers spend in production over the course of a day, a week or a month. Decide whether you will include set-up costs, such as preparing machines for use, or unpacking materials. You can perform legitimate, useful calculations by including this extra time or by omitting it; you will simply be calculating different sets of data that are useful in different ways. A measure of time that includes set-up costs, gives a comprehensive picture of the efficiency of your operation, while a measure that omits it gives an accurate, focused statistic about the speed of your assembly line.

Record the number of units that your team produces during the allotted time. Either track the number of units produced by the team as a whole, or track each phase of the operation individually, such as counting how many specific parts are assembled by the workers dedicated to producing them.

Divide the number of units produced by the number of hours it took to produce them. This gives you the production rate. Observe this figure over time and note what changes occur.

Things You'll Need

  • Production records
  • Calculator
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About the Author

Devra Gartenstein is an omnivore who has published several vegan cookbooks. She has owned and run small food businesses for 30 years.