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Goldratt, E. M. and J. Cox. 1986. The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement. New York: North River Press.Summary by Chris Hourigan University of South Florida, Spring 2001|
The Goal is a very compelling novel. Novel, HUH!! Who ever heard of a novel about a production plant? Well, Eli has made the production managers have quite an epiphany. In one book he might have changed the whole world of cost accounting. Eli approached the production world with a common sense view. Using just one goal, making money, he referenced every activity to it. Eli said, "I view science as nothing more than an understanding of the way the world is and why it is that way." You see, Eli is a physicist, and in being one, has to understand why things work the way they do. His common sense approach is illustrated beautifully in this novel. He has looked at cost accounting from the outside and has developed a whole new system because of it. Everyone from accountants to production managers to CEO’s should read this book. Because of its fundamentals, it should be part of the curriculum of every accounting program. This novel has and continues to help the industry to make strides toward continuous improvement. Chapter One |
The first chapter gets the reader acquainted with Mr. Alex Rogo and his apparent problems with his production plant. This is shown through a confrontation between Mr. Rogo and his boss Mr. Peach, the Division Vice President. The dispute is over an overdue order #41427. Through their conversation it’s learned that Mr. Peach will not settle for anything less than the order being shipped today, and since the plant is neither productive nor profitable, Alex has three months to show an improvement or the plant will be shut down! Chapter Two|
This chapter gives insight to Alex’s home life. Since moving back to his hometown six months ago, it seems adjustment isn’t going well for his family. It’s great for Alex, but it’s a big change from the city life that his wife is used to. You also experience Mr. Rogo’s background through his reflections back on his travels to eventually find himself back where he started. "He’s now 38 years old and a crummy plant manager". By the way, the order #41427 does get shipped, but not very efficiently. All hands in the plant are working on one order with forbidden overtime to boot. Chapter Three|
Mr. Peach calls a meeting at headquarters for all plant managers and his staff. At the meeting everybody finds out how bad things are and are given goals to achieve for the next quarter. Through the grapevine Mr. Rogo finds out perhaps why Mr. Peach has been acting so erratic lately, the Division has one year to improve or it’s going to be sold, along with Mr. Peach. Chapter Four|
While at this meeting, Alex thinks back on a recent business trip where he ran into an old physics professor, Jonah, at the airport. Jonah puzzles Alex with how well he knows how Alex’s plant is doing. Jonah has no knowledge of where Alex is employed. Johan predicts the problems of high inventories and not meeting shipping dates. He also states that there is only one goal for all companies, and anything that brings you closer to achieving it is productive and all other things are not productive. (See What is this thing called Theory of Constraints for more on Alex's encounter with Jonah.) Chapter Five|
Alex decides to leave the meeting at the break. He has no particular place he would like to go; he just knows this meeting isn’t for him, not today. He needs to understand what the "goal" is. After a pizza and a six pack of beer it hits him, money. The "goal" is to make money and anything that brings us closer to it is productive and anything...