You have a process for identifying and managing bottlenecks
Bottleneck processes are important because if time is lost on them it is very difficult to recover the lost production. High volume, low variety factories tend to have fixed bottlenecks whereas in low volume, high variety production facilities the bottlenecks move depending on the product mix
Key Issues
·         Bottlenecks are the major constraint on operational performance and limit the overall output of the factory
·         Bottlenecks can be identified by the accumulation of inventory ahead of them.
·         Managers should systematically identify bottlenecks and remove them by investing in ways to increase capacity. This will create a new bottleneck, which should be addressed in a similar manner.
·         Risk assessments should be undertaken for all potential bottlenecks and contingency plans developed to protect customer deliveries
·         Once identified bottlenecks should never be kept waiting. They should be given priority in terms of:
o     Production planning so that you produce to full capacity
o     Supply of materials and components
o     People to operate equipment or assembly/test components
o     Continuous improvement projects; changeover time reduction, quality improvement, the elimination of waste, 5 “S” etc
o     Planned maintenance and servicing of equipment
o     The repair and supply of tooling, fixtures and consumable items
o     Investment in new equipment or alternative processes
·         All members of the work team should be trained and capable of operating the bottleneck process
·         If your bottleneck process remains static, calculating the throughput for this process provides an accurate measure of overall factory capacity
Factors for Success      
Factors to  Avoid
1.     Your managers understand how bottlenecks can impact business performance
2.     Bottlenecks are identified and given top priority
3.     Opportunities to remove bottlenecks are considered when investing money
1.     Managers not appreciating the impact of bottleneck processes on production
2.     People not giving bottlenecks the necessary priority and improvement focus
Who does this apply to?
Senior managers, team leaders/supervisors, improvement teams
Realisable Benefits
Increased output from the factory, improved on time delivery performance


Logistics co-ordinationLogistics co-ordination

Logistics co-ordination

Uninterrupted material flowUninterrupted material flow

Uninterrupted material flow

Responding to changes in volumes and product mixResponding to changes in volumes and product mix

Responding to changes in volumes and product mix

Make versus buyMake versus buy

Make versus buy

The supplier approval processThe supplier approval process

The supplier approval process

Monitoring supplier performanceMonitoring supplier performance

Monitoring supplier performance

Sharing information with suppliersSharing information with suppliers

Sharing information with suppliers

Managing inventory throughout the supply chainManaging inventory throughout the supply chain

Managing inventory throughout the supply chain

Improving the delivery performance of suppliersImproving the delivery performance of suppliers

Improving the delivery performance of suppliers

Material flow and the factoryMaterial flow and the factory

Material flow and the factory

Production scheduling processProduction scheduling process

Production scheduling process

Calculating production capacityCalculating production capacity

Calculating production capacity

Visual managementVisual management

Visual management

Health and safetyHealth and safety

Health and safety





Ensuring equipment is availableEnsuring equipment is available

Ensuring equipment is available





Consistent manufacturingConsistent manufacturing

Consistent manufacturing