The Goal: Adding a dedicated crew to the bottlenecks

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This conflict can be found on page 189-191 in "The Goal - third revised edition". Bob Donovan has found out that the NCX-10 (one of the bottlenecks) is sitting idle as much as one our a day. It happens because the machine finishes work while the set up crew is busy with other machines. Alex wants to add a dedicated crew to the bottleneck, but Bob Donovan reminds him what that would do to their costs. A similar issue is discussed about the heat treat department.

D: Add dedicated set up crews to the bottlenecks
D': Avoid adding dedicated set up crews to the bottlenecks
B: Eliminate idle time on the bottlenecks
C: Keep direct labor costs on the parts from the bottlenecks at a steady level
A: Contribute positively to the financial statement of the division
Click on the icons on the arrows to see assumptions and injections
In order to Contribute positively to the financial statement of the division I must Eliminate idle time on the bottlenecks and in order to Eliminate idle time on the bottlenecks I must Add dedicated set up crews to the bottlenecks. But, in order to Contribute positively to the financial statement of the division I must also Keep direct labor costs on the parts from the bottlenecks at a steady level and in order to Keep direct labor costs on the parts from the bottlenecks at a steady level I must Avoid adding dedicated set up crews to the bottlenecks. I can't both Add dedicated set up crews to the bottlenecks and Avoid adding dedicated set up crews to the bottlenecks.
RelationAssumption(s)Injection(s)
D-D'1. You cannot both add a crew and not add a crew.
2. Setups cannot be avoided on the bottlenecks.
3. There is are bottlenecks in the plant.
1. If it is possible for the crew to be added at the right times and then removed again, that would be a solution. This is similar to the injection discussed under arrow D-B.
2. If setups can be eliminated on the bottlenecks, there is no need for a set up crew, obviously.
3. If there are no bottlenecks, this is not a conflict. In the event that the company improves or the sales drop down, a dedicated crew will not be necessary.
B-D1. If a set up crew is not dedicated, there will always be idle time.1. Bob Donovan suggests that the set up crew could do other things while the machine is running, but Alex is sure that they will end up letting the bottleneck idle at times, if they are not dedicated. An obvious injection would be to establish an incentive for the employees to keep the bottleneck running. Assuming that such an incentive costs less than the cost of a dedicated crew.
C-D'1. The cost of a dedicated crew is allocated to the parts coming from the bottlenecks.1. If there is any way to avoid allocation of the costs to the parts, and no extra people will be hired, the direct labor costs will not be affected.
A-B1. Time wasted at a bottleneck cannot be recovered1. If it is a real bottleneck, it is a true statement.
A-C1. Overall costs will go up
2. Sales will not increase to offset the costs
1. Since they expect to "steal" workers from non-bottlenecks, the operating expenses will not increase by adding a dedicated team. Thus, the direct labor cost of other parts should go down as the bottleneck parts go up.
2. Because the machine is a bottleneck, avoiding idle time will contribute with more sales. Since there is a likelyhood that there will be no increase in operating expenses, the sales will undoubtedly contribute to the bottom line.