1. What are the methods described in The Goal for identifying a bottleneck? The bottleneck is defined as the resource such that the capacity is equal to, or less than the demand placed on it. To identify the bottleneck for this particular case, those processes were analyzed after which there is usually a shortage of material 2. After bottlenecks have been identified, what are the concrete factory floor-level actions described in the book for improving overall system performance?
After identifying the bottlenecks, the actions described in the book were as follows: * Have the bottlenecks always run at full capacity * Let the speed of the bottleneck decide the speed of the process. * Do not waste any bottleneck resource * Bottleneck capacity should equal demand 3. Relate the notions of statistical fluctuations and dependent events mentioned in the book to concepts covered during the course. Also explain and relate to course concepts the statement made by Jonah that a factory “balanced with demand” will soon experience bankruptcy.
Statistical fluctuation is the same thing as variance in arrival times and variance in service time. Basically, small ups and down that average out, but the fluctuation causes an increase in the total time needed to process. Jonah’s phrase “balanced with demand” can be considered similar to when capacity utilization, p, reaches close to 1. That is, with a balance in demand is too great a constrain on resources, and quickly dries up all cash flow. 4. Several times in the book, lot sizes are reduced in order to decrease cycle time.
What are the limits to this strategy? Decreasing the lot sizes increased some of the costs, e. g, labor, set up costs, costs to run the machines etc. However, the benefits of an increased cycle time were far more than the added costs. However, there is always a certain threshold beyond which the increased costs are higher than the profits earned by decreasing cycle time. 5. When designing an operational process from scratch, which process step(s) should be the bottleneck(s)? The tep that is the limiting resource, whether due to limited machinery or high expense, should be the bottleneck. It doesn’t have to be either at the beginning or the end of the process, but it should dictate the demand. The process should be organized in such a way that the bottleneck is being used to full capacity. 6. What are the high-level management messages in this book that you consider to be of value? Some of the high level management messages in the book that I really consider of value are continuous improvement and team building.
Alex does not use the knowledge that Jonah has provided to figure out a plan and give his team orders. Instead, he involves them in answering Jonah’s questions and in making the best possible plans for the factory. Alex and his team are also very aware that just because they make one thing better and improve their bottom line, they cannot coast. They are constantly making improvements on the factory floor, reducing their order times, looking for larger orders to fill etc. 7. Leaving writing style and other delivery issues aside (e. g. romance novel format), what substantial critiques of this book would you make pertaining to its function as a “textbook” on the management of business operations? I actually really like the use of this book as a textbook. Often times students are assigned cases and asked for their feedback, what changed they would make to improve things. But we never get to see the actual result of such changes. We never have to deal with the inadvertent side effects of our suggestions either. But the book shows us how each change results in its own set of problems, and how things need to be improved over the long term