When a company undergoes any project, constraints always appear. Whether or not the company knew of these constraints ahead of time, something will limit the performance and restriction of a company’s output. A common constraint for companies is a bottlenecking problem, which hurts a company’s ability to meet demand for its product. Often times a manufacturing process is moving smoothly, but there are steps that cannot be started until other steps are completed. Sometimes these steps are holding the process up and can lead to a bottleneck. Many companies have struggled with this problem, including car manufacturer Tesla.
Tesla has often struggled to manage their capacity, it would appear as if Tesla has not properly calculated their required maximum capacity. Tesla’s Model 3 is continuing to experience delays. This is all from the same company that had planned to ship Model S in 2011, but the product was not completed until mid-2012. During that same time frame, Tesla had set sights on shipping out 5,000 cars, but they merely shipped out 3,100.
Six years later, Tesla is still having the same problems with their manufacturing process. This time, they have created a bottleneck due to the lack of production of their bandoliers, “rows of lithium-ion cells glued on either side of a cooling tube” (Ars Technica). This process is extremely complicated and time consuming to do by hand and the worker often make errors. Because of this, Tesla started to automate this process in order to speed up the process and alleviate the bottleneck. Tesla has stated that they have had issues with speeding up the manufacturing process of their batteries. Elon Musk said it is because they are “overconfident” in their ability to make batteries (Business Insider). Because these batteries are such an integral part of the product and they are behind schedule on their production, this battery issue was creating a bottleneck. Once this bottleneck is alleviated they are able to speed up production and continue with the rest of their manufacturing process.
It was previously common knowledge that the current Model 3 was undergoing delays. Prior to last week, customer were not aware that Tesla’s other two products, Model S and Model X were also undergoing delays. Tesla has stated high demand as an issue and a problem with their product line. Tesla stated how they needed to increase production time and efficiency and reduce problems such as bottlenecks in their processes.
The main problem with a bottleneck occurs when a date is promised to the customer. This leads to the customer expecting a product by a certain time and if they are disappointed they may not use your company in the future. Tesla has been given a pass from the customer every time they have made a mistake. This is because their products are revolutionary and the whole world is highly intrigued. However, for a company that is so far ahead of the curve on many things, they are very far behind the curve on some of their process management, which often leads to constraints and problems with their projects.