Bottlenecks in a Process

Bottlenecks in a Process
Bottleneck is defined as “slowing down or impeding by creating an obstruction” (bottleneck, definition, 2010). The review of measuring tools and metrics can clearly identify areas for improvement. Customer complaints can positively and negatively affect customer allegiance scores and bonus metrics. After collecting data for the month of May the obvious bottleneck in the customer complaint process was identified as the inability to receive product back from the customer in a timely manner.
Providing customers with quality products in a timely manner is always of concern when running a business. The inability to supply customers the product they need when they need it results in complaints. At Thermo Fisher Scientific, the customer complaint process should take no longer than 30 days. This 30-day period consists of the time between when a complaint is logged until the customer receives a satisfactory response from the quality assurance and customer service departments.
During the month of May, customer complaints were tracked to ensure a 30-day turnaround. Over 60% of the complaints remained open after the 30-day allotment time. The reason: lack of returned product from the customer. Without product returns from the customer the quality control department cannot state that a complaint is confirmed or not confirmed. This oftentimes leaves the customer with no response. This bottleneck is two fold. One: the customer does not return product in a timely manner. Two: Thermo Fisher does not have a formal procedure for complaint closure.
Goldratt applies a theory of constraints to situations like this. This theory consists of five process that can be applied to every day situations such as the one defined here. Goldratts Theory of Constraints (2009) tells us that, “the five processes are as follows:
• Gain agreement on the problem
• Gain agreement on the direction for a solution
• Gain agreement that the solution will solve the problem...