Assembling Smartphones: Takt Time Cycle Time?

Posted: 18 Feb 2012

See all articles by Ethan Bernstein

Ethan Bernstein

Harvard Business School - Organizational Behavior

Date Written: September 27, 2010


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.

Learning Objective: For use in the process review day for the Technology & Operations Management course.

Suggested Citation

Bernstein, Ethan S, Assembling Smartphones: Takt Time Cycle Time? (September 27, 2010). Harvard Business School Technology & Operations Mgt. Unit Case No. 611-012, Available at SSRN:

Ethan S Bernstein (Contact Author)

Harvard Business School - Organizational Behavior ( email )

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Boston, MA 02163
United States
6174964626 (Phone)


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