Your Guide To Improving Business Profit Through Drum Buffer Rope

Every business is constantly on the quest to improve themselves. Whether it is productivity or profitability, every business on the lookout for ways to increase both and reduce costs at the same time. To do this they reach out to different planning and scheduling solutions of which the Drum Buffer Rope system is one.

The basics of Drum Buffer Rope:
DBR is a part of the Theory of Constraints developed by Eliyahu Goldratt. It works on the central philosophy that every system contains one or multiple processes that dictate the overall output of the system. This constraint is known as the drum as it set the beat or pace of production. This constraint is the centre of any production plan that uses Drum Buffer Rope. Every strategy that is undertaken focuses on how to exploit the constraint and how to subordinate the remaining processes to it, which is known as the rope.  To ensure that the exploited drum is never starved of resources and thus works at a maximum capacity nonstop, buffers are put into place.

The DrumBuffer Rope system process in a nutshell:
  • The process begins by identifying the drum, which is most likely the most overworked or heavily loaded resource in the factory.
  • We then move on to creating a detailed schedule which focuses on maximising the output from the drum. In order to allow for process variations and stability, we add in time buffers. The buffer also prevents the drum from getting starved of resources. Adding the buffer leads to reduced lead times, lower inventories and frees up cash that was tied up in said inventories. Non-constraint processes also benefit as they are also given the opportunity to catch up in case of disruptions. Buffers are usually of two kinds, production and shipping though in case of Simplified Drum Buffer Rope there is only one buffer.
  • Next, we set about subordinating or synchronising all non-constraint process to the drum. This means releasing material at a pace acceptable to the drum and shipping finished goods at the rate of drum production.
  • We then move on to elevating the drum. For example, if the drum in a factory is the packing machine, then elevating the drum could mean upgrading the machine or adding a new one.
  • Once the drum is elevated we switch to finding or creating a new drum. This is how the process goes ahead and the overall production improves.

Some benefits of the Drum Buffer Rope system are:
    Lower WIP and finished inventories
    More cash in hand
    Lower production lead times
    Flexible scheduling
    Better adherence to delivery schedules
Even distribution of work which ensures that no process or machinery is allowed to stay idle at any time.


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