In Alex’s office, his staff congratulates themselves—the first week with their new tagging system has helped them increase production and begin to reduce their overdue backlog of orders. Placing quality control before the bottlenecks rather than after eliminated six percent of wasted capacity, which should increase their throughput. Even so, Alex feels like it’s not enough. He asks his staff for more recommendations on how to keep improving their system. That afternoon, Alex decides to add an additional yellow tag to the tagging system to differentiate between the bottlenecks parts that have already been processed by the bottleneck machines and those that haven’t.
Although his staff celebrates their initial success, Alex’s nagging feeling that they must always do more demonstrates the need for continuous improvement on a new system. However, while Alex’s need to always do more is beneficial for his role as a manager, it parallels his need to always push further in his career, which fuels his over-commitment to his work and negligence toward his family.
Bob, who has been missing all afternoon, calls and tells Alex that he has something exciting to show him. Alex finds Bob unloading a large old machine from a truck. Bob explains that this machine, along with two others, are the machines that the NCX-10 replaced, since it could perform all three machines’ functions on its own. However, with these three machines brought back, they can add to the work done by the NCX-10, thus increasing the capacity of one of their bottlenecks.
Although bottlenecks are defined as the resource with the most limited capacity, Bob’s idea of bringing back old machines to help the NCX-10 demonstrates that they are often ways to increase the capacity of bottlenecks. Any such increase will increase the overall productivity and throughput of a system, which means greater profits.