Chris Matts has been digging into the Theory of Constraints.
He asked me if this (i.e. managing bottlenecks using the 5 focusing steps (the animations at the bottom are fantastic)) is all there is to it?
Well, in true MBA style, the answer is yes and no.
Yes, because Constraints always exist.
Let me quote fellow kiwi Kelvyn Youngman:
We can choose to manage the constraints or choose to allow the constraints to manage us. Conversely we can choose to ignore the constraints, but rest assured that the constraints will not choose to ignore us. The constraints will dictate the way that our organization performs. In other words the constraints will impact upon us regardless of whether we know it or not, and we will also impact upon the constraints regardless of whether we know if or not. So it is best to know it, to acknowledge their reality. [source ],
Yes, because once you acknowled that each system has only 1 (or very, very few) constraints then the only sensible way to manage that system is to use the 5 focusing steps.
Yes, because if you don’t manage your system that way then you’re managing badly.
No, because there is more to TOC than the 5 focusing steps:
- There are the thinking processes which are used to unravel tangled, messy problems and find solutions to them.
Take a look at my ongoing – very slow moving – analysis of software development using the TOC thinking processes.
- There are the many TOC applications which have been developed using a combination of the thinking processes, common sense and the 5 focusing steps.
The two best known applications are:
Drum-buffer-rope is TOCs manufacturing methodology used by companies like GM, Intel, Ford, Amazon – which has higher throughput, lower wip, but higher reliability than lean / jit systems;
Critical chain is TOCs radical improvement on traditional critical path project management – it gives faster (much faster) delivery of projects, with much higher reliability.