Although supply chain issues are multifaceted and complex, they can put enormous pressure on manufacturers. 

Original equipment manufacturers can help to minimize supply chain woes by regularly using metrology equipment such as coordinate measuring machines (CMMs). With repeated software updates, consistent calibration and regular maintenance, CMMS can be used daily for decades — keeping production lines running at capacity.

With quality measures like these squared away, OEMs should have fewer bottlenecks within their production lines. Yet, they bottlenecks can still occur. Here are ways to suss out bottlenecks within your production line.

Start by examining your production process to pinpoint the lengthiest operations, and then figure out why some processes are taking so long. 

Prioritize visibility. Use task cards on a Kanban board to see where work is piling up or where a problem may be afoot. Or, try a visual production software to see all of your operations on one screen. This can help you locate the bottleneck and better see how operational lags lead to issues downstream.

Then, on a Kanban board or by using software, separate production lines and activities. This makes it easier to see how much work is waiting in a production line leading up to a certain activity. If you are seeing work pile up at a greater pace than the production activity, then you can find your bottleneck.

Lastly, measure your cycle time at every juncture. This ultimately provides data that can help you understand what your cycle time should be and where it’s lagging. Some use this information to create a heat map diagram to see the stages where work is slowest. If workflow stages are piling up, those may also be bottlenecks.