Bottlenecks—the steps in a process that govern the speed of the entire operation—are a common headache in the manufacturing world. Unlike the bottlenecks we experience in our daily lives, such as a broken-down car on the freeway making us late for work, production bottlenecks are not simple annoyances or inconveniences. On the contrary, in a business they can translate into significant opportunity loss if left untreated. Yet, while it’s often easy to identify a bottleneck on the shop floor, figuring out how to manage it is a much more complex undertaking. The root cause of a bottleneck is often buried deep inside a process and only becomes apparent through rigorous investigation and experimentation.
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