Bottleneck Analysis

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Bottleneck Analysis, Without Knowing It
“Almost every organization today faces the challenge of resource shortages. There doesn’t seem to be any shortage of good ideas for projects, but there is significant pressure to complete projects to get products into the marketplace as quickly as possible. As a result, most organizations find themselves working on a large number of projects concurrently and trying to manage their limited resources across all the projects in their portfolio.” This excerpt is taken from the opening paragraph of Chapter 6 titled Effective Resource Management – Debunking the Myths in the Managing Multiple Projects textbook. When going through the reading, this text caught my eye significantly. It’s very true just in its simplicity of statements, and taking each sentence in account offers great information. Every organization does face challenges with resource shortages. There are always good ideas; however, there is a lot of pressure to complete projects to get products into the marketplace. The faster you can get the products into the marketplace, the better. When this happens, especially in a diversified environment, an organization tends to spread itself very thinly across multiple areas to try to meet the demand of more products to eventually produce more profitability. There are generally three ways in which organizations deal with multiproject environments. The first solution is to hire additional personnel to meet the resource demands of the different projects. This is the “myth” of “we can hire our way out of the problem.” I used to work for a pool company. Although this company didn’t produce anything necessarily, we still had multiple projects and were spread too thinly. Basically, we were a service company that serviced pools and spas, and sometime the general plumbing problems for commercial properties. Anders Pool Company in North Alabama is known for their great skill in solving problems related to pools and spas, but also for their courteous workers, great response time, and knowledgeable technicians. Anders began to grow “too big for their britches.” We had a great clientele that included a hand full of residential pools and spas, a healthy chemical delivery service to a handful of commercial clients, and our “bread and butter” healthy amount of commercial properties where we serviced both pools and spas. Each technician within Anders was very well taught in all things “pool” and really knew their stuff. Each technician was schooled in courtesy, and all the things you would want someone going to someone’s house to represent your company well. Well, as Anders Pool was growing, they began to hire more people to take care of the needs of the company. When the new employees were chosen, it was essential to hire people with similar backgrounds and experience, so that they could fit right in and continue in the service without hiccups. However, as we found out pretty briefly, class and respect, can’t be hired. The person either hasn’t or doesn’t, and by trying to “Hire the problem away,” we lost some clients due to rudeness, lack of knowledge, and tardiness. Needless to say, the new hires were let go, the problem grew worse, and we were back to square one. The second solution is to use portfolio management to identify the most important projects, and then work only on those, also known as “We can portfolio our way out of the problem.” After the initial hiring boom at Anders didn’t work out, we found ourselves behind again on our work orders, thanks to the new hires not doing an adequate job, and the rest of us trying to pick up the slack. It was out of question for our workmanship to slip or to cut corners to complete all of the tasks, so we used the second solution referred to as portfolio management. We aligned our biggest jobs (highest paying) down to our smallest jobs (lowest paying) and decided a priority system. The highest paying jobs took precedence; however, there were a few...
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