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
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
Maximizing the exploitation of critical Capacity Constraint Resources (CCRs), so called bottlenecks, is crucial for maximizing revenue. Changeovers usually have a significant impact on productive capacity, reducing it with every new change made on those resources that already have too few of it. Yet changeovers are a necessary evil, and the trend is going for … Continue reading What data for changeover monitoring and improvement?
In a for-profit organization making money is the goal and the limitation to making more money is called a constraint. Conversely, a constraint is a limiting factor to get more out of the system. There is only one constraint which is the most limiting factor restricting the Throughput. Throughput is the rate at which the … Continue reading If making money is your goal, throughput is your obsession
Theory of Constraints provides the five focusing steps, an iterative improvement process which aims to focus efforts on the sole system constraint (often a bottleneck). These five steps are: Identify the constraint (bottleneck) Exploit the constraint; improve capacity utilization Subordinate all non-constraint resources to the constraint Increase the capacity of constraint if relevant Repeat step … Continue reading Your next bottleneck is elsewhere (and in the future)
In Theory of Constraints lingo, there is a subtle difference between a constraint and a bottleneck. A bottleneck (resource) is a resource with capacity less or equal to demand while a constraint is a limiting factor to organization’s performance, an obstacle to the organization achieving its goal. A constraint can be called bottleneck but a … Continue reading Constraint vs. bottleneck