Visualising bottle necks in a company process as the first step for process optimisation

How much time is a crucial process for your company taking? Can we identify bottle-necks in the process? are these happening regularly or only in certain months of the year? Can a pattern be found? If so, how can the task be optimised? These are the question a business may ask to their employees when there is an-evident “bottle neck” in one of the main processes.

There is nothing like a stacked bar plot visualisation that goes back three years to see if there is an obvious pattern before even thinking about a new strategy for process optimisation.

Check out this plot I did to analyse a service requests and their completion time from February 2018 to November 2020. On the X axis every tick belongs to a category that can’t be disclosed publicly.

Process completion times bar plot

As you can see, there seems to be a drastic shift from 2018 to 2019 in which the process taking more than 5 days is happening more frequently. In a business when there may be urgent cases this is not a desirable behaviour.

Some questions you can ask the team include:

  • Did something particular happened in the final months of 2018 that made the process more efficient? (High percentage of 2 hours category for process completion) ?
  • Has there been a change in the process in which the delay is increasing ?

Visualising patterns seems to be a great initial step to start thinking about implementing a new process.