Overcoming Bottlenecks to Keep Up with Demand
Few things are more frustrating than struggling to keep up with increased customer demand and administrative workload. Whether it’s delays on your production line or in your business administration processes, bottlenecks have a ripple effect that bring everything to a halt. Here are some tips on how to pinpoint problem areas and increase capacity in your business:
Examine Your Process
The first step is to identify the point of congestion and underlying causes. Talk to your staff and get their input on where they see regular bottlenecks happening.
Take a holistic view of your entire workflow, from the time an order comes in to when the product or service is delivered. Identify what works and what doesn’t work. Look for patterns: are there certain steps that tend to take longer than they should? Hand-offs between one area or individual to another are a good place to spot inefficiencies. Do some parts of the process get delayed while waiting on another phase to finish up? Are there consistent mistakes? Does a specific task typically have to be done twice because something is always missed the first time?
Old, outdated equipment that is prone to breaking down can clearly slow things down. If certain machinery is causing constant backups due to old age and overuse, it may be time to invest in something newer and faster. The boost in productivity will likely outweigh the cost.
Extra hands on deck can help ease short-term bottlenecks, especially in manually intensive areas. Consider bringing on temporary or part-time workers during your busiest times. Or look for opportunities to outsource tasks.
Automate Where Possible
Tedious manual processes can often be automated to streamline workflow. Can you implement technology like order processing software, inventory systems, production scheduling tools, etc? The more you can automate, the faster and more efficient your throughput will be.
Make sure your schedule is realistic. If delays consistently begin at a certain point in your process, build in more time for that stage. Taking more time upfront keeps your schedule predictable and running as expected.
By thoroughly evaluating your processes, bottlenecks can be identified and resolved. With some adjustments like these, your business can handle increased demand without constant delays and backlogs.
If you would like to learn more about how this might apply to your business, let’s talk: