A bottleneck refers to a point of constriction or reduction in capacity that can limit productivity, efficiency, or speed. It is often used to describe a specific aspect of a process that is slower than the other elements that rely on it. The term is derived from the shape of a bottle, which narrows at the neck, and is used to illustrate how a bottleneck can restrict the flow of something.
There are many potential examples of bottlenecks, which can occur in a variety of different contexts and situations. Some examples of bottlenecks might include:
- A production line in a manufacturing facility where one particular machine is slower than the rest, causing a bottleneck in the overall production process.
- A computer network where the connection between two nodes is slower than the rest of the network, causing a bottleneck in data transfer.
- A transportation system where a particular road or bridge is heavily congested, causing delays and bottlenecks for other vehicles trying to use the same route.
- A project management process where one team member is overwhelmed with work, causing a bottleneck in the overall progress of the project.
- A supply chain where a particular supplier is unable to keep up with demand, causing a bottleneck in the availability of raw materials or components.