Theory of Constraints

Theory of Constraints

Theory of Constraints by Goldratt

Theory of Constraints was developed by Eli Goldratt in the 1980s.  He is the author of the book, “The Goal.”  Dr. Goldratt believed that if you attack and continually reduce the bottlenecks in the manufacturing process, that it can become more productive and eventually transform into a more efficient Flow type process. His theory was to attack the nonproductive time associated to that bottleneck and then move on to the next bottleneck.

It is hard to see an association between the theory of constraints (TOC) and Flow Manufacturing or the Toyota Production System.  DFT, Flow Manufacturing, TPS and Lean, all reference the fact that you need to design a Flow process as the 1st step and then focus on the elimination of waste and non-value-added activities as a 2nd step on the path to process perfection.

Although there is nothing wrong with eliminating unnecessary steps and wasteful activities, I think time has proven that you are not going to evolve from scheduling and batch manufacturing into a Flow and pull production process. That transformation is revolutionary, not evolutionary. The process perfection steps that follow the revolutionary transformation to Flow and pull production are revolutionary as a corporation moves from 20 to 30 to 40 inventory turns with PPM in-process quality, and beyond. Unfortunately, either by misinformation, lack of training, or lack of leadership, companies follow the philosophical path with the best of intention and end up with the worst results.  

Scheduling/Batch Production Will Never Compete against a demand pull process

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