Shifting Production Bottlenecks: Causes, Cures, and Conundrums
Lawrence, Stephen R.
Buss, Arnold H.
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We examine the phenomenon of shifting production bottlenecks fr m an analytic perspective. We quantify the propensity of a work center to be a bottleneck, defined as maximal queue length, using a simple Jackson production network model. Compa 'son of the analytic model against an empirical simulation-based model shows that the two are in good agreement. A scalar measure of bottleneck shiftiness is proposed and used to investigate several policies for mitigating shiftiness. Simulation experiments show that several commonly observed managerial policies for coping with shifting bottlenecks actually increase shiftiness. but that shiftiness declines when the capacity of non bottleneck resources is increased.