What Is a Manufacturing Bottleneck and How Can You Avoid It?
From food packaging to car parts, manufacturers are responsible for making all the items we use on a daily basis. Unfortunately, manufacturing bottlenecks can also be a daily occurrence – but what exactly are they and how can you avoid them on your factory floor?
In this blog post, we’ll explain how you can master the art of bottleneck management and optimise your manufacturing process. Whether you’re a small-scale manufacturer or an international operation, everyone can follow these top tips to streamline their production. Keep reading to find out more.
What is a Manufacturing Bottleneck?
A bottleneck is any stage in a process that causes work to slow down. Picture the long, thin neck of a bottle – it’s designed to stop the liquid from gushing out in one go. This is great when you’re pouring your favourite wine, but bottlenecks on the factory floor can cause serious problems to your productivity.
These congestion points could have a range of causes. Perhaps you have an unreliable machine that breaks down occasionally, or you have no way of monitoring your inventory until it’s too late (meaning you have to wait around for new deliveries). It could even be a new worker who hasn’t got to grips with the technology yet.
Whatever the cause, manufacturing bottlenecks can cost you time, money, and morale. But the good news is there are ways to avoid them. Find out how below.
How Can You Avoid a Manufacturing Bottleneck?
Rearrange Your Space
When was the last time you rearranged your factory floor? If the answer is ‘never’, now could be the time to start. From the orientation of your equipment to the shelves in your store cupboard, everything should be positioned for maximum ease of use.
The general rule is that the flow of your factory should reflect the stages of the manufacturing process. Take some time to reevaluate how you’re using the space in your manufacturing plant. If it could be used more efficiently, make the change – though bear in mind any large changes could cause a bottleneck of their own, as your workers start to adjust.
Monitor Your Inventory
Waiting for resources can be a real problem, even bringing your whole manufacturing process to a standstill. To avoid this issue, invest in some reliable inventory management software – an automated program that can help you keep track of your supply chain.
Smart software can help you visualise stock levels (without having to rummage through your shelves), contact your suppliers, and notify you whenever you start to run low on essential items.
Subcontract Your Work
If bottlenecks are occuring during a particular stage of the manufacturing process, it could be a sign that you don’t have enough personnel to do the job as quickly as you need.
If this is the case, you could consider subcontracting some of your work to a third party. This will enable you to focus more attention on the remaining parts of the process, relieving pressure from any congested stages.
Are you battling bottlenecks in your manufacturing firm? Follow our top tips to smash those congestion points, optimise your supply chain, and keep things running smoothly.