Category Archives: Bottleneck

Posts related to bottleneck detection and management (Capacity constraint, theory of constraint, etc)

Can you tell your Bottleneck from your Inventory?

HourglassOn the shop floor it is common wisdom to find the bottleneck based on the inventory. If the buffer is full, the bottleneck is downstream. If the buffer is empty, the bottleneck is upstream. Is this true? My student Carolin Romeser and I spent quite some time verifying this, and found some interesting results. In general it is true, but … the devil is in the details. Continue reading Can you tell your Bottleneck from your Inventory?

A Critical Look at Goldrath’s Drum-Buffer-Rope Method

Drum Buffer RopeEliyahu Goldratt developed different methods on how to manage production systems. These methods are nowadays known as the Theory of Constraints, or TOC for short. One key method described is called Drum-Buffer-Rope, or DBM for short. Similar to Kanban or CONWIP, it aims to constrain the work in progress (WIP) in the system. There is much discussion on which method is better than the other, although the result often depends heavily on with which method the respective author earns its living.  In this post I will present how Drum-Buffer-Rope works, and discuss its advantages and shortcomings. Continue reading A Critical Look at Goldrath’s Drum-Buffer-Rope Method

Bottleneck Management Part 3 – Bottleneck Decoupling and Capacity Improvement

Nine empty green wine bottlesBottleneck detection and management are important in managing or increasing your production capacity. In the first post of this series I talked about fundamentals and improving utilization. The second post looked at the impact of planning on the overall production capacity.  This final post in the series will look at the effect of decoupling and the actual process capacity improvement. Continue reading Bottleneck Management Part 3 – Bottleneck Decoupling and Capacity Improvement

Bottleneck Management Part 2 – Improve Bottleneck Planning

Eight empty green wine bottlesBottleneck detection and management are important when managing or increasing your production capacity. In the first post of this series, I talked about fundamentals and improving utilization. This second post looks at the impact of planning on the overall production capacity. A third post looks at Bottleneck Decoupling and Capacity Improvement. Continue reading Bottleneck Management Part 2 – Improve Bottleneck Planning

Bottleneck Management Part 1 – Introduction and Utilization

Seven empty green wine bottlesIn the past I’ve written a few posts with some nifty methods on how to find the bottleneck (The Bottleneck Walk – Practical Bottleneck and The Active Period Method), and some warnings of which methods don’t work. In this post I would like to go into more detail on what to do once you find the bottleneck! Due to the length of this topic, I have split it into multiple posts. This first post gives an introduction and goes into more detail about increasing utilization. The next post talks about planning. A third post looks at Bottleneck Decoupling and Capacity Improvement. Continue reading Bottleneck Management Part 1 – Introduction and Utilization

Determining the Size of Your FiFo Lane – The FiFo Formula

FiFo Lanes
How long should it be?

FiFo lanes are an important tool to establish a pull system. They are often combined with kanban. However, while there is a lot of information on how to calculate the number of kanban (the Kanban Formula), there is very little information available on how large a FiFo should be. In my last post I talked about why we need FiFo lanes. In this post I want to discuss how large a FiFo should be.  Continue reading Determining the Size of Your FiFo Lane – The FiFo Formula

The Bottleneck Walk – Practical Bottleneck Detection Part 2

Six empty green wine bottlesThe bottleneck walk is far and wide my most favorite method to detect bottlenecks on the shop floor (not only because it was developed by me, but also because it is really good!). You can detect shifting bottlenecks, using no math whatsoever and no time measurements, simply by walking along the production line and observing the line. It’s almost too easy to believe, but it works like a charm! Due to the length of this topic, I have broken the article into two posts. The first post “The Bottleneck Walk – Practical Bottleneck Detection Part 1” details how to find the current temporary bottleneck. This second post details how to determine the big picture regarding the bottlenecks. See below for a complete list of posts on this series on bottlenecks.  Continue reading The Bottleneck Walk – Practical Bottleneck Detection Part 2

The Bottleneck Walk – Practical Bottleneck Detection Part 1

Five empty green wine bottlesThe bottleneck walk is far and wide my most favorite method to detect bottlenecks on the shop floor (not only because it was developed by me, but also because it is really good!). You can detect shifting bottlenecks, using no math whatsoever and no time measurements, simply by walking along the production line and observing the line. It’s almost too easy to believe, but it works like a charm! Due to the length of this topic, I have broken the article into two posts. This first post details how to find the current temporary bottleneck. The second post details how to determine the big picture regarding the bottlenecks. See below for a complete list of posts on this series on bottlenecks.  Continue reading The Bottleneck Walk – Practical Bottleneck Detection Part 1