A workflow bottleneck is pretty easy to identify in that it leads to a loss of productivity as the requests for work outweigh the team’s ability to process those orders. This can happen even though every team member is working to full capacity, making it essential to have a strategy for dealing with this type of situation. You can implement the following tips into your strategy to help you alleviate a workflow bottleneck sooner.
Keep Up the Momentum
A break in the momentum of your team’s workflow can exasperate the bottleneck and inhibit your ability to alleviate the situation. It’s better to work consistently to keep up with the demand. If someone in the chain needs a break, be sure you have someone to relieve them. Just 10 minutes of idle time can put your workforce at a significant disadvantage. Every part in the process should be operating to its fullest capacity at all times.
Cross-Train Your Team
Any employee should be able to fill in for any other individual on your team without a reduction in productivity. This is best achieved by training everyone in the organization and rotating them to various positions regularly. As a result of this type of cross-training, you can keep positions filled in the event of an absence. When a bottleneck occurs, you’ll also have fully trained personnel to pitch in and help the team catch up.
While your team is in a hurry to catch up with the workflow demand, committing unnecessary errors will only slow the flow of work product. When your team is experiencing a “crunch time,” it becomes crucial to emphasize quality. Ensuring the work product reaches each station in the best possible condition will keep the workflow moving consistently. The last thing you want to do is go back to correct a problem when you’re already faced with a bottleneck.
A workflow bottleneck usually comes on unexpectedly, making it difficult to take steps to avoid the situation in advance. However, by adopting a strategy for responding to the situation and making sure your team is aware of the policy, you can alleviate this situation more quickly. Following these steps can help you reduce the adverse effects a workflow bottleneck has on your productivity and company culture.