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How to Find (and Eradicate) Bottlenecks in Manufacturing

Are production bottlenecks creating cashflow problems and eroding your reputation?

Are you tired of seeing your assembly line come to a screeching halt? Or, maybe you have struggled to meet demand because of frustrating stock shortages or slowdowns in your operations. If you’re a manufacturer, such bottlenecks can be a significant headache, affecting your customer satisfaction, and bottom line. 

Fortunately, you can take various measures to identify and stamp out these bottlenecks for good. Below, we guide you through the best way to find bottlenecks in your manufacturing process. We also tell you how to manage them and why you should use manufacturing resource planning (MRP) software

What Are Manufacturing Bottlenecks?

A bottleneck is a chokepoint at any point in your production process that slows down or stops progress and prevents material from moving through the chain efficiently. The bottleneck interrupts the production flow, resulting in a slower overall production rate and a decrease in the overall efficiency of your manufacturing process.

How to Identify Bottlenecks in Manufacturing

Determining the source of your bottleneck requires careful observation and analysis. Follow these tips to identify the bottlenecks:

Ask the staff: Your team has intimate knowledge of their processes, so they are the best people to ask when trying to identify and solve a bottleneck. Ask them which parts of the process take longer than usual or what problems have arisen in the past that have caused delays.

Queue length analysis: By examining the queue length (the number of work-in-progress items) in your production process, you can identify areas holding up progress. Does a specific part of the process have too many work-in-progress items queued up? That could indicate a bottleneck in the given area.

Consider the utilisation rate: In production, the workstation with the highest utilisation rate is likely to be the bottleneck. Too much work is concentrated in one area, slowing overall production. Observing this rate will help you identify which processes are taking up too much time and resources and causing a slowdown in your production line.

Process flow and wait time analysis: Analyze how long it takes for a product to move from one stage of the process to another. If you identify a process that takes significantly longer than usual, it indicates a bottleneck in that area.

How to Eradicate Bottlenecks in Manufacturing

The approach you use to eradicate your manufacturing bottlenecks will depend on the type of bottleneck you need to address. For instance, if machine breakdowns are an issue, you can invest in more reliable machinery and schedule regular maintenance checks.

Other measures that can help include:

Redesigning the flow: Analyze your existing processes and look for ways to optimise, such as reorganising equipment, reducing paperwork, changing the order of operations, or introducing parallel paths.

Improving communication: You should ensure that everyone involved in the production process is updated about everything. You can also set up a real-time communication system to improve collaboration and increase efficiency during manufacturing.

Invest in MRP software: Manufacturing resource planning (MRP) software allows you to monitor production, manage inventory levels, and control costs precisely. You can also use MRP to schedule production, track labour costs, and optimise delivery times. This can help you identify system-wide bottlenecks more quickly and take the necessary steps to address them.

Start Leveraging MRP Software to Eradicate Manufacturing Bottlenecks

Bottlenecks in manufacturing can cause productivity issues and lead to delays, lost profits, customer dissatisfaction, and more. Fortunately, a business process mapping service, such as the one Flowlens offers, can help you locate potential problems and proactively eradicate them.

Flowlens will give you better control of your stock, customers, and suppliers, helping you eliminate problems that can affect your lead time and sales. Start your free MRP system trial today.


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