How to Spot Bottlenecks on Your Production Line

If you’re running a factory, then you know that identifying and solving production bottlenecks is essential to keeping your operations running smoothly. A bottleneck can cause all sorts of problems, from decreased production to quality control issues. So how do you spot these bottlenecks? Here are a few key indicators:

Scrap & Rework

One of the most obvious signs that you have a bottleneck on your hands is an increase in scrap and rework. This happens when products are not being produced correctly and have to be fixed or thrown away. Such processes clearly slow down production and can be costly.

Excessive WIP Inventory

If you have too much work-in-progress (WIP) inventory, it could be a sign that your production line is bottlenecked. This happens when there’s a build-up of inventory between operations because the downstream operation can’t keep up with the upstream operation. This results in an increase in WIP, which ties up capital and can lead to quality issues.

Inefficient Changeovers

Another sign of a bottleneck is inefficient changeovers. This occurs when it takes too long to switch from one product to another on the production line. Not only does this slow down production, but it also increases the chance of mistakes being made. Inefficient changeovers are often caused by a lack of standardization or poor planning.

Decreased Production Output

Of course, one of the clearest indicators that there’s a bottleneck is if you see a decrease in your overall production output. If you’re not producing as much as you should be, then something is definitely wrong. Bottlenecks can cause a decrease in production for a number of reasons, including an increase in scrap and rework, inefficient changeovers, and too much WIP inventory.

If you suspect that you have a bottleneck on your production line, then it’s important to take action quickly. The sooner you identify the problem and find a solution, the better. There are a number of ways to solve bottlenecks, so work with your team to find the best solution for your factory.