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Scheduling the Bottlenecks

Are you faced with an arrears situation and a growing order book?

Do you find that your teams work on the wrong production orders just when it causes you the most problems?

I witness these kinds of problems a lot and I thought I would share with you how I start to go about solving the problem. The starting point is often to find the bottlenecks in the process. This solution isn’t about line balancing and introducing kanbans, this is about getting results today. After getting some immediate results I agree that you need to think bigger about the whole production system.

Getting a grip of the schedule running through your bottlenecks and ‘micro managing’ the situation immediately before the bottleneck is vital. Sucking in the right work at the right time to keep your bottlenecks primed and working is essential to try and keep on top of your overall schedules.

If you have read the book ‘The Goal’ then you will be familiar with the Theory of Constraints approach. This blog post is about a practical initial application of that theory. There are too many people getting caught up about the one right way to design your production system that sometimes we all get caught up in not delivering right here right now.

If you are getting behind then please take the time to understand what parts of your process need special care and attention. A short term spell of micro managing specific work centres / cells in order to buy you time to create a proper fix is well worth it.


Giles Johnston
Author, Consultant and Chartered Engineer

P.S. If you are looking for some ideas on how to overhaul your business processes then check out my book on 'Business Process Re-Engineering', available at Amazon for the Kindle device / app.