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What is a Bottleneck?

 , updated on July 13, 2023
A bottleneck is a limiting factor that prevents a process, system or organization from reaching its full productive potential.


The slowest machine on an assembly line.
A bureaucratic process that takes months to approve new projects.
A process that stops when a single person is sick or on vacation.
A critical team that is overwhelmed with work that could deliver faster with more resources.
An unreliable supplier that delivers critical parts late.
Overview: Bottleneck
Definition (1)
A factor that limits the output of a system, process or organization.
Definition (2)
A constraint that limits overall productivity, efficiency or speed.
Identifying and clearing bottlenecks may boost efficiency.
Related Techniques
Next: Examples of Bottlenecks
More about productivity:
Best In Class
Complexity Cost
Cash Conversion Cycle
Cycle Time
Compliance Rate
Employee Productivity
Contribution Margin
Cost Benefit Analysis
Labor Productivity
Cost To Company
Lead Time
Run Rate
Statistical Analysis
Demand Forecasting
Takt Time
Efficiency Formula
Internal Benchmarking
Lifecycle Cost Analysis
Machine Efficiency
Net Present Value
Productivity Formula
Productivity Rate
Target Costing
Theory Of Constraints
Throughput Accounting
Total Cost Of Ownership
Variance Analysis
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