Basically, a bottleneck is the slowest step in a process, the machine having trouble keeping pace. To find a bottleneck, go and have a look at where the inventories pile up and from where the machines are starved from upstream supplies, there is your bottleneck. Well, it’s not always that simple.
In part 1 of this series, I introduced management attention as a constraint. This second post goes on with more reasons why management fail to pay the necessary attention to the factor limiting the whole system’s performance. Unaware or wrong about the constraint Management attention might be on the wrong things because manager are unaware … Continue reading Management attention as a constraint – Part 2/2
A system’s constraint, the limiting factor that is an obstacle to getting more Goal units* from the system, can be pretty difficult to identify (hence the success of my post on the topic: How to identify a constraint?!). *”Goal units” can be money, profit, services to citizens, number of patients treated, free meals served, or whatever … Continue reading Management attention as a constraint – Part 1/2
This is part 5 of a series of posts about identifying the constraint of a system and time for wrapping up and a conclusion (of the series, not the topic!). Newcomers to Theory of Constraints understand quite easily the concept of bottleneck but are frequently puzzled when looking for them in a real-life process. Furthermore, … Continue reading How to identify the constraint of a system? Part 5/5 – The valley of despair
Since the publishing of early books on Theory of Constraints, the world grew more complex and the system’s constraint got more and more elusive. Globalization and extended supply chains give a constraint opportunity to settle literally anywhere in the world and extend its nature. It can be a physical transformation process in a supplier’s facility, … Continue reading How to identify the constraint of a system? Part 4/5 – Check beyond production
Inventories and Work In Progress (WIP) can be helpful clues to visually identify the bottleneck or constraint in a process, but they can also be insufficient or even misleading as I explained in part 2 of this series. It is often also necessary to study material and parts routes to really understand where they get … Continue reading How to identify the constraint of a system? Part 3/5 – Check V, A & T
When trying to find the system’s constraint, why not simply asking the middle management? At least when Theory of Constraint was young, our world spinning slower and processes simpler, the foremen usually had a common sense understanding of their bottleneck. They knew what machine to look after, and what part of their process to give more … Continue reading How to identify the constraint of a system? Part 2/5 – Visit Gemba
A very common question once people get familiar with Theory of Constraints and the notion of bottlenecks and constraints is how to find them in a process. Identifying the constraint is key as the constraint, by its nature, it controls the performance of the whole system. The trouble with examples given in textbooks or case … Continue reading How to identify the constraint of a system? Part 1/5 – The usual suspects
I sincerely believe that experimenting with Lean tools was key to spread Lean awareness, ease the principles and tools acceptance and contribute to the Lean popularity. This was particularly okay in the “tools age”, when Lean was understood as a nice and handy toolbox. Yet limited and non sustainable successes were hints that Lean could … Continue reading Doing wrong things much better
In this post I share a post-mortem analysis of a situation we’ve encountered while helping a company to improve its performance. This company was specialized in custom-made machine engineering and asked for help to improve its On-Time Deliveries performance. We proposed to install Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM), an obvious choice given the circumstances. Critical … Continue reading Can CCPM reinforce Parkinson’s law?