Issue No. 39 - February/March 2008
Growth without constraint
by Penelope Herbert
In today’s highly competitive environment it’s just not good enough for management at any level to trust to experience, a “gut feeling” or intuition to know what’s right. Good sense needs help from a well-founded, relevant body of knowledge that provides practical answers to help you use what you have more effectively.
Such a body of knowledge is found in Constraint Management.
CM directly addresses the questions “How can we get more out of what we have before purchasing additional resources? And if we need to add resources, where can we get the best values for our dollars?
Managers constantly grapple with these questions. Constraint Management based on the innovative Theory of Constraints provides a commonsense workable solution to these questions by leveraging system constraints. Thousands of organisations around the world are implementing constraint theory successfully in complicated and extensive operational and maintenance environments.
Users include General Motors, Westinghouse, the United States Air Force, Navy and Marines - and recently BHP Billiton in Australia.
TOC has become best known through management bestseller The Goal by Dr Eli Goldratt.
Why focus on the constraint?
Let’s go back to basics and ask ourselves what the ultimate goal of commercial organisations really is. The answer is obviously profit - as much as possible! What we are talking about here is an infinite goal, as opposed to a commercial target which is finite. Since we are talking about something infinite, we can logically conclude there must be a constraint in the system, otherwise we would reach it.
Goldratt, a physics professor, concludes that to improve the performance of system - to bring it closer to its goal - we must focus on the constraint itself. By minimising the constraint we gain the most leverage in improving the performance of our organisatio...