Maximizing Thruput: Choose Your Constraint


Most people’s approach to increasing production is to “identify ” the constraint. I believe there is a better approach. My approach is to look at the process and decide “where” you want the constraint.

Once you shift your perspective to this method, your approach becomes proactive as opposed to a reactive. In a proactive approach, you are in control of the process. Your decisions are then based on the goal you aim to achieve. It also sets the rules for decision-making.

It doesn’t matter if we are analyzing an existing line or designing a new one when using the approach to “choose” a constraint as opposed to identifying it. Why would you want to “choose” a constraint instead of finding it? The reason is that it invokes a different way of thinking.

Again, Identifying the constraint is a REACTIVE process, whereas, choosing a constraint is a PROACTIVE process.

The best reason I have been able to come up with for choosing a constraint is to pick that resource, machine, or process, which is the most difficult to expand capacity.

Think about it.

If you selected something to be your constraint that was easy to expand capacity, then why not just increase it and get more production. But, if something were extremely expensive or physically impossible to increase its capacity, wouldn’t that be a logical choice to be the constraint?

Once you choose the constraint, by default you also choose the other operations to be non-constraints. We will discover through the analysis process, for the buffers to work correctly, there has to be excess capacity in the non-constraints. In fact, there is no way to avoid it. If it is not the constraint, then it has to have extra capacity. Now, how much should it have? Well, there is a straightforward calculation, that Garvey can provide in a free line analysis, that will guide you in deciding what kind of machines to buy.

In the machinery business, one of the most ambiguous aspects of a machine purchase is the specification of how efficient the machine must be. From the buyer’s standpoint, it has traditionally been to request higher and higher efficiency standards. From the seller’s standpoint, the number of different theories and formulations for calculating efficiency has overwhelmed them. As you will see in the analysis, we will clear up this whole issue and make it logical for the buyer and the seller to do things that are more productive and afford greater thruput for less money.

You will end up with a system that will measure each operator’s performance in a way that finally makes sense. This analysis will significantly enhance your ability to have the people on the floor make decisions that increase output because the measures are consistent with the goal.

For more information, contact a Garvey sales engineer today.

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