Bottleneck (production)

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In production and project management, a bottleneck is one process in a chain of processes, such that its limited capacity reduces the capacity of the whole chain.

An example is the lack of smelter and refinery supply which cause bottlenecks upstream.

Another example is in a surface-mount technology board assembly line with several pieces of equipment aligned. Usually the common sense is driven to set up and shift the bottleneck element towards the end of the process, inducing the better and faster machines to always keep the PCB supply flowing up, never allowing the slower ones to fully stop, a fact that would be heeded as a deleterious and significant overall drawback on the process.

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