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Takahashi's Scheduler Case Book: Chapter 2

The Baffling Case of the Mistaken Bottleneck

A had received a call from Company B, a factory that builds specialist vehicles. Unlike general motorcars that have high production and relatively stable demand, the demand for specialist vehicles changes frequently and they require a lot of customization for options and special parts. Because of this, it's difficult to make use of a KANBAN system so instead they decided to implement a production scheduler instead.

This time, the production scheduler had already been installed and it was my first time to visit them since they had got it up and running. Current operations were running smoothly so I asked them about what improvements they had been able to see with the production scheduling of their specialist vehicles since they had started using it. And once again I was surprised to see that an unexpected benefit had been gained.

After using the production scheduler for only a little while they had discovered that the process, which everyone had suspected of being the bottleneck in the production, was in fact not the bottleneck at all. Instead, they had been able to identify the bottleneck as being a completely different process. Before the implementation of the production scheduler the company had already planned to purchase new manufacturing equipment for the mistaken bottleneck, at the cost of 4% of the annual turnover, to replace the current machinery. By being able to correctly visualise the true state of their factory they had now been able to hugely improve the effectiveness of their factory investment and as a result of this they were able to get a return on the money they had spent on the implementation of the production scheduler in just one year.

I'm always happy to hear about cases like this where a company has been able to justify the implementation of a production scheduler with such obvious cost improvements in their manufacturing. However, it also acts as an important reminder that we should be aware that the bottlenecks that every factory experiences may not always be where everyone thinks they are.

Case Closed. . .

Learn more about Production Scheduling at Production Scheduling System Asprova

Written by Kuniyoshi Takahashi: Production Scheduling Case Book

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