• Donald Davis

🍶 Bottlenecks: Decision Restrictions That Can Halt Progress

Bottlenecks are a problem in many industries and can limit the effectiveness of a company. One of my favorite things about working with new companies is the efficiency and reduced bureaucracy. As companies grow though, even in the best of companies, startups seem to let bottlenecks come in.

The first step to solving this problem is identifying what these bottlenecks are, which ones you have, how they’re affecting your company’s success (or lack thereof), and how you can start eliminating them.

What is a bottleneck and how do they affect your company’s success?

A bottleneck is an impediment that slows or blocks the progress of something. This is typically a physical constraint on the flow of traffic, goods, or information. Bottlenecks are often seen in small companies in making decisions or in cash flow by delaying payments to employees or suppliers. These types of bottlenecks limit the effectiveness of any company by limiting its production capability.

How they affect your company’s success can be seen in increased timelines or missing out entirely on opportunities to do business because your company acts too slow.

The bottlenecks will limit your company’s growth and create a negative impact if left unaddressed or if not properly addressed. It’s important to identify what these bottlenecks are so that they can be addressed.

Identifying the bottlenecks in your company

The first step to solving this problem is identifying what these bottlenecks are, which ones you have, how they’re affecting your company’s success (or lack thereof), and how you can start eliminating them.

I always recommend starting at the exit points of the company. When you look at where items are leaving that is where bottlenecks will be most evident.

Key areas to review:

  1. Steps from making your product until it ships

  2. Days from invoice to payment

  3. Days from approval until execution complete of a project or key decision

  4. Key processes that are important to the company success (i.e. purchasing, legal, financial)

In any of the above items you may start to see collections of departments or layers of management that must be involved in every decision. These layers are bottlenecks.

There can also be a bottleneck of one. If one individual needs to have all decisions ran through them this is an indicator that this person might be a bottleneck.

How to start eliminating bottlenecks

The first step to eliminating bottlenecks is to take your list of areas of focus from above then start asking why there are delays. Delays that are narrowed down to any resources that are constrained are your bottlenecks.

Be realistic about your capacity constraints, and work closely with management on prioritization guidelines that will allow everyone in the company to work more effectively.

The second big item to eliminate bottlenecks is that you need to empower your people. When hiring organizations are challenged to raise the bar, find experts and interview for key capabilities. Then when the resource arrives on the first day they are stripped of all expertise and are told that they have no decision capability. If you are going to pay for people who are experts in their area then you need to empower them to be able to make a difference.

Beyond prioritization and empowerment you need to have clear methods that help to continuously review processes for the recurrence of bottlenecks.

Takeaway: Don’t stop at one size fits all solutions. Investigate every opportunity to challenge teams or individuals that are putting in processes that can become bottlenecks.

Conclusion

Bottlenecks are a problem in many industries and can limit the effectiveness of a company. One of my favorite things about working with new companies is the efficiency and reduced bureaucracy. As companies grow though, even in the best of companies, they seem to let bottlenecks come in. If you have any questions or want help identifying these bottlenecks, please don’t hesitate to contact us at our website! We’re more than happy to work with your team on solutions that will drive profits for your business by eliminating these bottlenecks.

#decisions #slow #biotech #biotechnology #startup #microbiology #leadership

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