Case | HBS Case Collection | September 2010 (Revised December 2012)

Assembling Smartphones: Takt Time ≠ Cycle Time?

by Willy Shih and Ethan Bernstein


The case was prepared to be used as part of a process review in the first year Technology and Operations Management course at HBS. It offers students an opportunity to discuss the context of a manufacturing process choice, and then examine actual production numbers that resulted from a series of choices. While there isn't a traditional case issue, the discussion should focus on the gap between theoretical process designs and the reality of practical implementations, with the impact of operator variability in pace and the complex intertwining with work scope. The case only meant for one discussion pasture to review the Hayes-Wheelwright product-process matrix, and the impact of variability on line performance. While comparative numbers for the process choices are provided, the hope would be to develop students' intuition around why the numbers change so much.

Keywords: Cognition and Thinking; Research and Development; Design; Six Sigma; Measurement and Metrics; Production;


Shih, Willy, and Ethan Bernstein. "Assembling Smartphones: Takt Time ≠ Cycle Time?" Harvard Business School Case 611-012, September 2010. (Revised December 2012.)