Improving bottleneck capacity using machine utilization

Manufacturing bottlenecks identification using DDSES smart manufacturing system.
Remove bottlenecks using DDSES production control system
In the production industry, the bottleneck is a process in a production line that limits the entire chain of operation. Flow congestion increases cycle time, creates delays and higher production costs. A bottleneck can be a physical problem, such as a shortage of supplies, slow reporting, errors in scheduling or a computer network issue, such as waiting for a report or analysis chart. Fluctuations or inefficiencies in a production line usually indicate a bottleneck issue. Signs of having a bottleneck issue:
  • Long wait times
  • Material piling-up in a one or two areas.
  • High-stress levels in certain stations.
  • Backlogged work
Using our 25 years of experience we have noticed that most companies have a machine utilization rating between 50% – 60%. With some companies even having 40% utilization, our data shows that an 90% OEE rating is what some of the best companies in the world have. A 25% difference in OEE can cause deficits in a company’s profits by up to 40% or 50%. We are able to identify the bottleneck capacity in your business and minimize it in a continuous loop of reducing your largest bottleneck issues. Using our real-time visual throughput counters with an estimated ROI of 1-2 months, we aim to save you time, money, and resources, thus putting you above your competition.

What’s the idea behind a bottleneck?

The idea behind the bottleneck is that liquids can only spill out of a bottle as large as their bottlenecks. The same thing occurs when you have a business. A system is only as efficient as its bottleneck (weakest link). No matter how much you reduce other deficits, they won’t increase your revenue or production throughput until the main bottleneck is fixed. Improving bottleneck capacity is a continuous cycle of improvement that keeps working on your largest “money-wasting” area. Sometime it can be a very easy/cheap area to fix. Bottlenecks come in various ways and forms as well. One possibility of a bottleneck is that incomplete information is passed between employees. It may also be the limited capacity that a car or truck has to transport. In the end, there are many different types of bottlenecks that are crucial to maximizing your profits and reducing costs but they are all crucial to utilizing your resources. Every company has a bottleneck in its system and its crucial to identify and fix this issue.

Why are bottleneck capacities important?

For example, assume that a children’s toy company was manufacturing a toy car. This toy needs wheels, a button that opens the trunk of the car, and the plastic body of the car. The typical process of this car being manufactured is:
  1. The production is complete
  2. The finished product is put into the company’s inventory
  3. The sales team either sells the cars to a distributor or a retail store
If, for instance, there was a bottleneck issue due to a shortage of wheels in the manufacturing facility, then:
  • The production line would be idle
  • Employees would be getting paid without doing work
  • The product wouldn’t get to the customer on time (unhappy customer)
This type of inefficiency could lead to very large costs for your manufacturing facility and could leave the company a reputation of being untrustworthy.  Main causes of bottleneck:
  • Machine failure
  • lack of material
  • Employee cross training or lack of cross training
  • Insufficient equipment.
  • Wrong Man Machine ratios.
  • Low quality material.
  • Inefficient allocation of work.

How do I solve this issue?

The solution is to have a system in place that not only takes care of the metrics of the business (such as OEE), but that also has alerts and indicators that predict a problem before it even happens. With options such as smart manufacturing, Digital Display Systems gives an all-in-one package. With a fully customizable controller that can connect to many sensors, an estimated ROI of 1-3  months, and a very large number of alarms and displays that could be used to alert staff of an issue, we found a cheaper way to increase machine efficiency. Having a low starting price of about $1000, we can specifically tailor a way to improve your bottleneck capacity. Whether you have a specific problem or want to solve future problems for your business, DDS is able to help. With a totally customizable system, we will display these issues on a real-time visual throughput counter and give warnings of these bottlenecks in many different ways. These warnings include a sound warning, a visual warning (color-coded or words), and alerts to the operator. Please check out our articles on reducing manufacturing costs and the benefits of a remote monitoring system for more information.