Bottleneck: Slowing Down Business Processes, Tasks & Workflow

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Bottleneck: Slowing Down Business Processes, Tasks & Workflow

Bottleneck are points of congestion in any process that slow or delay the goal being achieved. Where people and tasks rely upon each other to keep the process flowing but are getting limited results.

Bottlenecks are generally one process in a chain of processes, which is causing the process to slow down or fail.

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What are bottlenecks in business?

Think about it in the same way as if a physical bottle where the neck limits how quickly fluid can freely flow through it. Named after the shape of a bottle as its the narrowest point.

In the instance of business, it’s restricting the flow of information, sales, products, and materials so slowing down the process or causing it to fail. All detrimental to both team morale, customer relations, poor quality products or services and most important lost revenue so the bottom line.

Every process has a bottleneck and focusing on continuous improvement can result in improved profitability.

Types of Bottlenecks

There are two main types:

Short-Term Bottlenecks: Temporary problems – Technical problem, the person on holiday, a new member of the team that needs training. Need to collaborate effectively.

Long-term Bottlenecks: Long term or regularly occurring- Substantial impacts on the overall business process.

Eliminating Bottlenecks

In order to remove the problem point, first, you need to identify them.

Eliminating the pain points within a process is key to “lean” and efficient processes.

Identifying and fixing these are vital to increasing performance. There are a number of methodologies and problem-solving tools you can use to try and locate the fail point.

  • Process Mapping: Map the business process
  • The 5 whys: Ask why this problem is occurring.
  • Flow Charts: Easy-to-understand diagrams that show how the workflow or process fit together.

Six Sigma Methodology can also help improve business processes.

Business Constraints History

Theory of constraints (TOC) – Total management philosophy by Israeli business management guru Eliyahu M. Goldratt in his 1984 book titled The Goal. Embracing a scientific approach to bottlenecks by identifying that there are multiple links in every process or task, that can act as a constraint upon the whole process and you need to locate the “weakest link in the chain”. The constraint is referred to as the bottleneck.

Wolfgang Mewes in German with Engpasskonzentrierte Strategie (Bottleneck-focused Strategy) a more advanced theory of bottlenecks.

Frequently asked questions
Looking for more info? Here are some things we're commonly asked
FAQ's about Process Management
  • Why Business Process is Important?

    Business processes are important because they are a step-by-step guide that describes how things are done in the best possible way and makes it easier to focus on improving business processes.

    Read More: Why Business Process is Important

  • What is Business Process Management BPM / BPMS?

    It’s your step-by-step plan for achieving your business goals.

    Business process management is just like a recipe. It includes all the vital ingredients and instructions to take your important business activities from start to finish successfully and on time. But instead of a delicious chocolate cake at the end (unless you’re a bakery owner, of course), your finish line could be a product ordered and shipped to a satisfied customer.

    Read More: No-nonsense guide to Business Process Management – and how it can make your business more awesome

  • Business Process Management Benefits

    Business processes are integral to the growth and success of any company. They set the blueprint or checklist for various activities, allowing employees to carry out small repeatable tasks towards a specific objective. Knowing what business processes are and developing them effectively are different things.

    Read More: Business Process Management Benefits

  • Business Process Design

    Business process design should structure business processes  into three types

    • Operational process

    • Supporting process

    • Management process

    Read More: Business Process Design: Three Main Types

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