Got Bottlenecks? There's a Map For That?

“Bottlenecks” aren’t just on the highway! When lots of people or equipment move through a space, it can become congested and lead to delays. Sometimes, the design or layout of an area can also cause delays.

One way to find potential bottlenecks in your area is to create a spaghetti diagram. Spaghetti diagrams are visual representations of how people and equipment move in a space, and are commonly drawn on a floor plan of the area so that it is easier to see where the layout of the space doesn’t match its workflow. Each trip made by a person or piece of equipment is represented as a line tracing their path on the floorpan, resulting in a series of lines that resemble cooked spaghetti (hence the name). Any spots where there are lots of lines in the same location, or where different lines cross each other, indicate potential bottlenecks.

Spaghetti diagrams can also show if people or equipment must travel long distances in order to get their work done – the longer the line on the diagram, the longer the travel distance and time! Once you have a completed spaghetti diagram, you can minimize bottlenecks by changing either the design of the area, or the workflow of the people and things moving through it. You can also rearrange areas to place any equipment or supplies closer to where the work is being done, in order to shorten those long spaghetti lines.

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