Chapter 11

Detecting and Tackling Bottlenecks

In This Chapter

arrow Finding the weak points in your process

arrow Picking pull instead of push production

arrow Rethinking the layout of your organisation

In this chapter we focus on those points in the process flow where demand exceeds capacity – bottlenecks. In Lean Six Sigma, some people call bottlenecks constraints. Whichever term you use, the effect is the same: the bottleneck, or constraint, sets the pace for your process and determines the speed and volume of your output. Put simply, either you manage the bottlenecks or they manage you.

Applying the Theory of Constraints

You need a framework to help you manage your constraints. This section looks at how to identify the bottlenecks in your process, prioritise them for action, and reduce or eliminate their effect using Eli Goldratt’s five- step approach.

Identifying the weakest link

Think of your organisation as a chain like the one in Figure 11-1 – a series of functions or divisions that are dependent on each other, even if the people within the organisation don’t recognise and accept that fact. For example, you don’t ship parts until they’re packaged, and you don’t package parts until they’re ...

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