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Improve flow in production with the Theory of Constraints Drum-Buffer-Rope Production Management solution!

Delivering on time, in full and in specification in today’s competitive environment is no longer a long term business objective…it’s a ‘MUST have’ in order to compete.  If your competitors can deliver products faster then you risk the chance of losing business.

Managing production is vital and your capacity to produce will be based on the capacity of your constraint – your slowest step!  In order to maintain flow your production planning and execution system should be linked to your slowest step – it sets the drum beat for your entire production operations and Lean Six Sigma improvement actions must be focused there.

Managing production is not an easy task….any schedule or production plan must be productive, reliable, robust and realistic:

  • Productive in that it must relate to the market demand while contributing to and be measurable against the organisation’s goal.
  • Reliable and robust in that it must reflect the capability of the resources available and stand up to the inevitable disturbances or disruptions (variation) that it will hit it.
  • Realistic in that it is capable of being done with the resources available including material supply.

The Theory of Constraints (TOC) Drum Buffer Rope (DBR) logistical system is a finite scheduling mechanism that balances the flow of the production system. DBR controls the flow of materials through the plant in order to produce products in accordance with market demand with a minimum of manufacturing lead time (MLT), inventory and operating expense.

Due date performance has improved from 78 % to 98%. The only late orders have been due to suppliers being caught out with our increased demand. – Kevin Flint, General Manager, Oasis Engineering Tauranga

DBR is based on the Theory of Constraints logistics approach and five powerful focusing steps:

  1. Identify the system constraint(s) – what is limiting our rate of goal achievement?
  2. Decide how to exploit the system constraint(s) – how do we get more out of what we’ve already got?
  3. Subordinate everything else to the above decisions – the constraint dictates priority, all actions are aligned to treat it like gold!
  4. Elevate the system constraint(s) – If all resources are supporting the constraint and we can’t get more out of it then add more capacity.
  5. If, in the previous steps, a constraint has been removed, go back to step one, but no not allow inertia to cause another constraint – stay focused on improvement and identifying the next constraint.

The definitions of DRUM, BUFFER and ROPE are:

  • DRUM – A schedule for the constraint.Free Flow Partners Bay of Plenty | The Goal Production Management Solution
  • BUFFER – A protection against Murphy. This is the time provided for parts to reach the protected area. The protected areas are the Drum, the due-dates and the assemblies of constraint parts with non-constraint parts.
  • ROPE – A schedule for releasing raw materials to the floor. The Rope is derived according to the Drum and Buffers; its mission is to ensure the proper subordination of the non-constraints.

 Our Implementation Approach:

•  Identification of the core problem/s through robust analysis, e.g. business process mapping, and collection of accurate and appropriate data.
•  In-depth training in TOC Production planning and execution principles.
•  Formulation and implementation of measures aimed at increasing Throughput.
•  Coaching/Mentoring and on-going support to forestall/overcome any obstacles that may hinder implementation.
•  Retained support to ensure that the Process Of On-Going Improvement (POOGI) can be sustained.

Where is your organisations production constraint?

What is limiting the current systems ability to generate more throughput through the shop floor?