Time to market (TTM), quite simply, is the amount of time between the conception of a product to its availability. The TTM concept is a measurable, important feature of the development process – especially for companies that use strategies such as Six Sigma. Being able to measure the process provides insight in how the production process is moving and uncovers areas where improvements can be made.

Measuring Time to Market

Each industry has its own method of measuring TTM, and within the industry there are options and methods that can further complicate the measurement. Determining where and how the TTM will begin to be measured is the first step to calculating the process. Equally as important is determining where the process ends. Is the market the act of a consumer purchasing the product or the product being shipped to market? Establishing the benchmarks of beginning and end will help to make the TTM measurement meaningful and relevant to a company.

Improving Time to Market

There are several methods of improving the TTM measurement in a company.

The primary method is by adding speed.  Decreasing the amount of time spent in production can help improve a TTM time.

Another method of improving the TTM measurement is by establishing a schedule that is more predictable.  For example, it may be more prudent to allow people to wait slightly longer while ensuring that the product is safer and complete.

Minimize the amount of resources needed. Using TTM effectively is not a tool for cutting expenses, although that may be a result of the process. Rather, it is a way to hone the skills that a company has, which will result in a faster TTM.

Aligning the TTM goals with the overall goals of the company will result in a more useful measurement that will provide the company with insight into their processes. By establishing the framework for the time to market, and then working to ensure that the company meets those goals, the efficiency of the process can be maximized.