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Bottlenecks are points in a system where the flow of work is slowed down due to a constraint or limitation.
Bottlenecks can have a significant impact on the efficiency and productivity of a system or organization.
Bottlenecks can consist of any factor that limits the overall output or efficiency of a system. Here are some examples:
Limited resources: A system may have a bottleneck if it doesn't have enough resources, such as personnel, raw materials, or equipment, to keep up with demand.
Inefficient processes: If a system's processes are slow or inefficient, they can create bottlenecks that impede the flow of work.
Communication breakdowns: If communication is unclear or delayed, it can create bottlenecks that slow down decision-making and project completion.
Overworked individuals or teams: If individuals or teams are overloaded with work, they may not be able to complete tasks in a timely manner, which can create bottlenecks in the system.
Underskilled individuals or teams: If team members lack the necessary skills or knowledge to perform their roles effectively, they may take longer to complete tasks or make errors that slow down the overall process. This can also lead to quality control issues or rework, which further slows down the system. Providing training and support to upskill team members can help address these bottlenecks and improve overall productivity.
Dependencies: If a system has dependencies, such as one task that needs to be completed before another can start, bottlenecks can occur if the first task takes longer than expected.
Goldratt, E. M., & Cox, J. (2012). The goal: A process of ongoing improvement. Routledge.
Kim, G. W., & Cho, B. (2017). Identifying bottlenecks in organizational processes: A case study of a public organization. Public Organization Review, 17(2), 259-274. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11115-016-0355-5
Nagurney, A. (2018). Bottleneck analysis in transportation networks. Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review, 119, 84-104. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tre.2018.09.005