During a process cycle, a certain path (process path) is followed through the process. Individual process cycles can be different within the same process, for example, if the process contains an OR decision. Each process cycle, but also each activity, has a cycle time. Different process variants arise due to different cycle options.
What influences the process cycle and cycle time?
The course of a process can be influenced by various factors. These factors include all process-relevant times (processing time, idle time, transport time, waiting time), but also decisions within the process.
The processing time usually varies with each execution and can only be made absolute through full automation. Therefore, there are usually tolerance limits within which the processing time may fall, for example in assembly line production. If the processing time in such a scenario exceeds the tolerance range, the waiting time for the subsequent goods and services increases, as well as between this and the next processing step. There is a “jam” before the affected process step and an empty run after this, where the system waits for the next product to be processed.
In addition, there are other factors, such as the scarcity of resources or the utilization of employees / machines. These often also have a detrimental effect on the aforementioned times. For example, delayed delivery of raw materials increases the waiting time between two process steps. If, on the other hand, the delivery of your own product is delayed, the transport time for this product and the waiting time for the subsequent process step are extended.
As already indicated, decisions also change the process flow. One decision results in two or more different process sequences. They can contain a different number of activities or further decisions, which in turn influence the cycle time.
For instance, depending on the workload, it takes longer to prepare food than to order it. Thus, the lower process cycle would be slower than the upper one, although both process variants run through a total of four process steps. The situation becomes more difficult with parallel processes, since both process paths must be run through in any case. As a result, the activity must wait for the completion of one of the parallel process steps after the parallelism.