Bottleneck & Constraint Analysis in Manufacturing

5/15/18 1:03 AM

In supply chain management, bottlenecks can present repetitive obstacles in production for most manufacturing and production facilities and will hinder optimization of output and profitability. 

Constraint and Bottleneck Analysis in Manufacturing
When process input is received at a quicker pace than than process output, it sounds like you may have a bottleneck or even multiple bottlenecks constraining your throughput.

Bottlenecks & Constraints are Defined by:

  • Process step exceeding 100% utilization
  • Capacity dropping below or equaling takt time
  • Capacity dropping below or equaling demand

Locating bottlenecks is a vital troubleshooting practice and can be an ongoing procedure in production facilities and operations. Increasing flow by locating the bottleneck constraints in your production or manufacturing operation is one step in optimizing your overall operational efficiency. Therefore, gaining visibility of bottleneck situations is essential to how quickly your production facility can find and eradicate these pesky hindrances to your output - you can't fix what you do not know is broken; visibility is key. 

Making Bottlenecks & Constraints More Visible

Accessibility of available and correct production data can overcome the difficulty of locating bottlenecks, large or small. When analyzing productivity/output, your production data may show an operation’s amount of output completed per period; this is likely tied to a production forecast and plan that is already prepared for that period. Manufacturing Bottleneck and Constraint Analysis If the amount of output or production is below the amount forecasted in your production plan, then there are obviously inefficiencies (possible bottlenecks) that are preventing the operation from reaching its higher output/throughput potential. Looking thoroughly through the available production data and locating the areas that are not reaching the forecasted productivity should readily identify the facility’s productivity weaknesses such as bottlenecks. 

Bottleneck & Constraint Remediation

Locating bottlenecks can help the facility come to a conclusion, and if the company decides to act on it, there are a series of steps the company can take to overcome the bottlenecks.

  • Reducing capacity calls for capacity planning and further steps, which allows for a company to analyze the supply chain’s performance issues, which could vary from labor to machines. Intelty looking into the equipment, labor, or any other form of production
  • After figuring out what is causing the bottleneck, plant managers may conduct an analysis on the bottlenecks, which then finds out what is truly causing it. Identifying the true catalyst of the bottleneck will allow for further analysis on the bottleneck.
  • As the catalyst is identified, it is declared a long-term or short-term bottleneck. Long-term bottlenecks are often scheduled for maintenance or downtime, while short-term bottlenecks usually fix themselves within a period of time.

Advanced Planning & Scheduling (APS) and Real-Time Bottleneck Targeting

Advanced planning and scheduling software systems (APS) that are integrated with your ERP system are often developed around raising the visibility of bottlenecks. It is because APS uses real-time data pertaining to the flow of production, bottlenecks can be detected and rerouted on the fly. Some APS systems run "what-if" scenarios in terms of bottleneck remediation and production rerouting. A tightly-integrated APS software system can greatly reduce the response and remediation time elapsed in dealing with constraints such as bottlenecks.  

Related What-If Scenario Video

 APS Resources

Topics: Reschedule activity, Gantt, manufacturing, Lean Manufacturing, supply chain, agility, bottlenecks, constraint, theory of constraints, planner, analytics, integration


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