Flow Chart

Bottlenecks in a Process

Grozdanka Andonova

University of Phoenix


November 2010

Diane Rector


      One of the processes that I performed daily is preparing lunch for my boy in the morning.   Usually I spend 20 min for that process.   The process has 4 stages that are relatively independent, except 1st and 2nd stages, but cannot be performed simultaneously. The stage 1 sliced bun and add meat, cheese, and vegetables and stage 2 wrap the sandwich are consecutive. After that the ready sandwich has to stay in buffering for the time of the 3rd stage – cut and zip the fruits - is running on. The wrapped sandwich, zipped fruits, and packed items moved to the 4th stage bag the lunch. The running time is a process measure.

      Analyzing the process shows that 3rd stage is a process bottleneck “the activity in a process that limits the overall capacity of the process” (Chase, Jacobs, and Aquilano, (2006), p. 166).

      The process was under 10 days monitoring period. During that period, different tests to shorten the run time and eliminate the bottleneck of the process were conducted.

      One of the possible ways to abolish the buffering is to cut and wrap the fruits from the previous night and add them in the morning as packed items.

7 minutes 3 minutes 6 minutes

      Preparing the fruits previous night defiantly impacts on the process. For example, by eliminating the stage 3, the buffering time in the process was eliminated and the whole run process become short with 4 minutes that is the time for completing the 3rd stage. The running time for the process in this way is 16 minute. Another impact concerns the quality of the products. Unfortunately, the quality of the fruits becomes worse and inappropriate. Because the quality of the lunch is the most important measure, the process cannot be shortened in this way.

      The shortening of process’s length is an important factor for achieving greater efficiency....