Eliminating Bottlenecks Causing Production and Shipment Delays

2/10/21 12:00 AM

At one point or another, manufacturers will encounter bottlenecks within their production. When your production levels are consistently lower than what you have predicted, or you are unable to meet your shipment dates, you are most likely dealing with a bottleneck. 

Bottlenecks are operations that are constraining the entire production system. They are often caused by the inefficient use of available resources, poor coordination, or misallocation of human resources.

Combatting Production and Shipment Delays Through Eliminating Bottlenecks

It is possible to have multiple bottlenecks within an operation that are reducing the production output and enabling shipment delays. This is problematic for manufacturers as customer satisfaction is a high determinant of whether they will choose your company over another. When you cannot meet a promised shipment date, customer satisfaction decreases and could jeopardize your business’ reputation in the market. 

These bottlenecks could also be affecting anything from throughput, wait time, waste reduction, or even the lack of proper raw materials needed at a particular point in time. Issues arising in any of these factors can lead to a decrease in production efficiency. This is why it is important to locate and attempt to eliminate potential bottlenecks within your operation.

In this blog, we will discuss the three steps that pertain to eliminate bottlenecks to allow your production facility to increase its productivity and meet its shipment dates.

3 Steps to Eliminate Bottlenecks Causing Production and Shipment Delays  

The three steps in combating bottlenecks within production include the following:

1. Locating Bottlenecks

Almost every process has a bottleneck, no matter how small it may be. If your schedule is indicating a delayed planned end but your machine runtimes should allow you to deliver on time, you are likely dealing with one or multiple bottleneck operations.

Bottlenecks can usually be identified by operations that have the most accumulation of work in front of it. Downstream processes must then wait for resources coming from this bottlenecked operation even though they would be able to start it immediately.

A visual scheduling system is helpful for identifying bottlenecks as they can highlight or emphasize areas that have a lot of wait time.

Resource performance can also be analyzed to see whether your resource capacities are being used to their full potential.

2. Increase Capacity Efficiency

In the theory of constraints, the key to optimizing your production is to focus on eliminating bottlenecks. Once a bottleneck is identified, you should focus on increasing capacity at this step to increase the capacity of the entire process.

There are many ways in which capacity can be increased, and visual planning and scheduling softwares that have “what-if” scenario analysis capabilities can help identify which methods should be used.

To increase capacity, it is recommended to optimize the resources you already possess. This means utilizing scheduling rules to minimize the changeover and setup time as well as increasing the number of operators to the bottlenecked operations.

If this is still not enough to sufficiently increase the capacity of the operation, you may need to consider investing in another machine or in additional operators to meet your production quota.

3. Executing New Schedules 

Once the bottleneck is corrected through the production planning scheduling software, you can then execute the new schedule and increase efficiency through consumer order fulfillment, increased delivery time, and most importantly, reduced wait times within the overall production process.

It is possible that your production process has more than one bottleneck. In that case, the additional bottleneck operations should be identified and capacity should be increased at those steps.



Eliminate Bottlenecks with Advanced Planning and Scheduling (APS) Software

While it can be challenging to identify bottlenecks within your production facility and optimize your production schedule, advanced planning and scheduling (APS) systems such as PlanetTogether APS can easily enable manufacturing facilities to do so. These softwares have a multitude of features that will help your company deal with its bottlenecks and ultimately meet its production goals. . 

Analysis features allow you to look at the production performance of all of your resources to identify any machines or workers that are performing under their expected target. What-if scenario analysis also lets you visually observe how changes to the production schedule will impact your predicted finish dates to see if you can fulfill all of your orders on time. 

 

With PlanetTogether, the accuracy of our shipment dates improved by 8% and our production output levels increased by 16%.

GARY BISHOP, DIRECTOR OF MANUFACTURING OPERATIONS, SUMITOMO ELECTRIC LIGHTWAVE

 

In addition, Capacity Planning features will ensure that you know in advance what you are able to produce so that you don’t create an unrealistic production schedule. This will allow you to always meet your shipment dates and satisfy your customers. 

Advanced Planning and Scheduling systems will allow manufacturers to increase their overall production levels, meet their deadlines, fulfill delivery and shipment times, and take their operation to the next level in terms of operational efficiency. These systems have become a must for manufacturers looking to eliminate their production bottlenecks and meet their shipment dates.

PlanetTogether's Advanced Planning and Scheduling Software

Advanced Planning and Scheduling Softwares have become a must for modern-day manufacturing operations as customer demand for increased product assortment, fast delivery, and downward cost pressures become prevalent. These systems help planners save time while providing greater agility in updating ever-changing priorities, production schedules, and inventory plans. APS Systems can be quickly integrated with an ERP/MRP software to fill the gaps where these systems lack planning and scheduling flexibility, accuracy, and efficiency.

With PlanetTogether APS you can:

  • Create optimized schedules that balance production efficiency and delivery performance
  • Maximize throughput on bottleneck resources to increase revenue
  • Synchronize supply with demand to reduce inventories
  • Provide company-wide visibility to resource capacity
  • Enable scenario data-driven decision making

The implementation of an Advanced Planning and Scheduling (APS) Software will take your manufacturing operations to the next level of production efficiency by taking advantage of the operational data you already possess in your ERP system. APS is a step in the right direction of efficiency and lean manufacturing production enhancement. Try out a free trial or demo!

Related What If Scenarios Video

 APS Resources

Topics: Optimize, capacity planning, bottlenecks, bottleneck visibility, APS benefits, Concurrent Planning and Scheduling

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