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When trying to achieve the highest possible production environment and peak workplace performance, bottlenecks should be identified, corrected, and prevented whenever possible. By streamlining production processes and executing better engineering all throughout the manufacturing system, companies can correctly manage and correct bottlenecks.

What Exactly are Bottlenecks?

Coined for the narrowest part of a bottle, bottlenecks occur when one process is stopped by the slowing of a particular process, which prevents both activities from completing. Just as a bottleneck in a container prevents substances from continuing to pour out when there is a block in the bottleneck, a bottleneck in business means that backup occurs when certain resources, employee performance, or other processes limit the system. The block in the bottleneck becomes an issue that limits the capacity of the entire production process.

Bottlenecks can exist not only in automated manufacturing, but anywhere separate processes occur that depend upon the work of previous teams or departments before they can move on in their own activity. While it’s certainly possible that an industry or facility may be unaware of a bottleneck, in most cases everyone involved in the process immediately understands where the bottleneck is happening, even if there doesn’t initially seem to be a solution for overcoming it.

Why Bottlenecks are Problematic

Some bottlenecks are short-term issues, meaning that they are caused by a small, temporary problem that can be solved by one solution, one time—For example a worker goes on vacation and no one is able to replicate their position until they return. Other bottlenecks can be long-term, meaning they occur frequently and repeatedly, and often in the same area. Long-term bottlenecks can be especially problematic for businesses.

Bottlenecks in industrial manufacturing and within the workplace are problematic as they can hold up production, waste precious time and resources, delay productivity, cause dissatisfied customers and distributors, and eat into a company’s profit margin. Bottlenecks may also increase the stress of workers, possibly leading to lower quality work and reduced job satisfaction.

How to Overcome Bottlenecks

Identifying the root causes of bottlenecks can be crucial to providing a solution. Backlogged work, stressed employees, and waiting for materials, paperwork, people, or delivery is damaging to a businesses reputation and the overall bottom line.

Some bottlenecks can be understood by questioning just what and where the bottleneck is. Asking “why?” every step of the way can help reveal where the issue, as well as the solution, may lie. Some bottlenecks, such as long-term and repeated issues, may need a more experienced eye in the form of a knowledgeable process engineering firm that can look at a company’s bottleneck issues and offer advice, solutions, and continuing guidance that can help a company get their production back on track.

Eliminating Bottlenecks Means a Better Bottom Line

Correcting bottlenecks can be challenging, but it is possible. Better engineering procedures can help minimize and correct bottlenecks, leading to increased production value and faster processing times. By addressing specific steps within the manufacturing process and identifying any factors that may be contributing to the bottlenecking, companies can improve their profit margin. Reducing and eliminating bottlenecks is a continuous process, but with careful monitoring of the manufacturing process and proper engineering, bottlenecks can be overcome.

Both large and small companies can benefit from better engineering services to eliminate their bottlenecks. Polaris understands the needs of our customers and offers unsurpassed engineering services to help companies check, correct, and prevent bottlenecks within their day-to-day operations. Discover for yourself the de-bottlenecking benefits offered by better engineering.

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