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Bottleneck Control

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Bottleneck Control is the simplest way to convert the bottleneck principle into a manufacturing control method: Every time a bottleneck workstation completes an order, a Bottleneck Control releases an order for production. Bottleneck Control sub-divides the production into a WIP controlled section up until and including the bottleneck workstation and a not WIP controlled section after the bottleneck workstation. In the following we will discuss this based on the example of a production line.


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  1. 1.

    This applies under two conditions: (1) There is always one order available that can be released for production. (2) Immediately after the completion of an order on the bottleneck workstation, the bottleneck cards are available for releasing a new order.

  2. 2.

    A number of variations of the method are recommended for extending the bottleneck control to multiple bottlenecks; please refer to the comments in Sect. 19.1.2 regarding this.

  3. 3.

    In order to align the language of TOC with that used throughout this book and thus facilitate the discussion, we will be using the terms bottleneck and constraint interchangeably in the following discussion.

  4. 4.

    Windt expands the bottleneck concept to the remaining logistic objectives and demonstrates that different workstations can form the bottleneck depending on the objective [Wind-01].

  5. 5.

    Schragenheim and Ronen recommend three times the average throughput time from the order release up to the arrival on the bottleneck [Schr-90*]. The suggestion from Spencer and Cox seems more appropriate as a starting value, however, since it prevents the vicious cycle of manufacturing control in that extending the planned throughput times causes extended actual throughput times.


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© 2013 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg

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Lödding, H. (2013). Bottleneck Control. In: Handbook of Manufacturing Control. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.

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  • Print ISBN: 978-3-642-24457-5

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-642-24458-2

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