Welcome to installment number 2 of the Maximizing Thruput Series: The Theory of Constraints Is Not a Theory Anymore.
What is the Theory of Constraints? This theory was put forth by Eli Goldratt in the early 80’s in a book called The Goal. I highly recommend it. It is an easy read and does a good job in explaining the concept. It fundamentally states that each process will have a constraint and that a series of steps can be taken to ensure an ongoing improvement of the process. They are as follows:
- Identify the constraint.
- Exploit the constraint.
- Subordinate everything else to the above decision.
- Elevate the constraint.
- Go back to step #1.
I learned about this book during an interview I had with a prospective employee. I was explaining how we had been analyzing production lines since 1977 and had developed some interesting insights into how production lines can be improved and he said, “That sounds just like The Goal.” He sent me a copy and I found it intriguing that I had been working on a distinctly parallel path to that of Dr. Goldratt’s. Eli’s background came from the defense industry in Israel; therefore, he had not addressed the differences which become apparent in the world of high-speed packaging and the effects of closed coupled systems. Most of my work has been spent in these arenas, an area where there is little or no time to react to any malfunction.
Stay tuned for the next installment: Find it (Existing Line).