What’s the Difference Between a Manufacturing Bottleneck and a Constraint?

Bottlenecks and constraints are two terms that are often used interchangeably in Demand-Driven Manufacturing as well as in discussions on Lean Manufacturing and flow. It’s easy to use one term when you actually mean the other. However, since these two limiters on throughput need to be addressed differently, it’s important to understand the distinction. What is a Manufacturing Bottleneck? A bottleneck represents a temporary overload on a resource. The cause

Increase Throughput by Replacing Manufacturing Productivity and Efficiency Metrics with These Two KPIs

Manufacturing productivity is a useful metric for measuring the health of manufacturing at a national or global level because it tells us something about whether our factories, in general, are working or sitting idle. But at the level of the individual factory, productivity as a performance metric can be problematic. Before we travel too far down that path, however, perhaps we should start by defining what we mean by manufacturing

The Best Time to Kick Off a Continuous Improvement Initiative

Prosperity is perhaps one of the greatest obstacles to continuous improvement in manufacturing. When things are going well, we don’t feel the need to make improvements quite as keenly. For example, instead of focusing on removing waste in our factories to become more cost competitive, we might opt to add capacity so we can keep up with demand. There really is no better time to make improvements than when things

IT/OT Convergence in the Factory of the Future

Since the advent of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), experts and enthusiasts have been talking about the coming together of IT (information technology) and OT (operational technologies). Some call it an integration, while others call it a convergence. I call it a good thing. In this post, I’ll talk a bit about the convergence/integration of IT and OT, why it matters, and what it will look like in the

Kaizen vs. Kaikaku

Kaizen vs. Kaikaku: 2 Approaches to Lean Manufacturing That Can Transform Your Factory   The Lean Manufacturing world is littered with new terminology, and given the discipline’s origins, it’s not surprising that some of these words and phrases are Japanese. Being “fluent” with these words to the point that you can bring them up in casual conversations with coworkers is half the fun. Even better, these words have the power

Why Data-Driven Manufacturing is Not Enough

Occasionally, someone will mix up DDM (Demand-Driven Manufacturing) with another DDM acronym in our industry: Data-Driven Manufacturing. There are similarities. For example, executing demand-driven principles relies heavily on data and shop floor visibility. However, it doesn’t stop there. In this post, we’ll take a look at Data-Driven Manufacturing and why it’s useful but not enough to help you reach your goals.   Data: It Is What It Is One of