Book Report: The Goal
This paper is a book report on the novel entitled The Goal written by Eliyahu Goldratt and Jeff Cox. The 40-chapter book is actually a business book written in the form of a novel that makes it interesting to read unlike other business textbook. As a novel, the book is entertaining but at the same time, very informative for management or accounting students as well as for the real-life company managers and CEOs who wanted to apply different managerial practices. The paper summarizes the novel and makes analyses in relation to Operations Management.
The novel took place at a fictitious town called Bearington where the Uniware manufacturing plant of the UniCo company is situated. Whatever products the plant manufactures was not mentioned in the novel. The plant is headed by the 38-year old plant manager Alex Rogo who is also the lead character of the novel. Alex is a dedicated and workaholic employee as described in the novel. His dedication to his work posed some family problems: losing time for his wife aside from her not being used to living at his hometown where there is a big difference form the city life his wife is used to.
Mr. Bill Peach is the other character who can be considered as the protagonist who confronted Alex about the overdue order at the beginning of the story. Mr. Peach is the Division Vice President of the company. He gave Alex three months to show an improvement with the production plant or the plant will be shut down.
Jonah plays the role of an “angel in disguise” to Alex life. He was Alex’s college Physics professor. They happened to come across each other at the airport during Alex’s business trip. Jonah was the one who made Alex realized the problems confronting Alex and the plant. Jonah played as a business consultant and adviser as it seems like he knows how to run a manufacturing plant. He made Alex realized the real goal of the company and the things that should be accomplished to be able to achieve that goal.
Other characters in the story are the people who comprise Alex team: Lou, from the accounting department, Bob from the production department, Stacey from inventory control, and Ralph who has a good background in computer and the one who did the schedule for the production and release for bottleneck parts.
Herbie, the slow kid in the hiking who serves as the bottleneck is also worth mentioning.
The story begins with a confrontation between Alex and Mr. Peach over order no. 41427 which was already overdue and is demanded to be shipped that same day. Mr. Peach added that since the plant headed by Alex is neither productive nor profitable, it will be shut down after three months if no improvement is made during that period. He did make the shipment for order no.41427 that day but problems do not end for that.
The biggest challenge to Alex is improving the plant to prevent its closure. The major conflict in the book is that Alex can not identify the cause of the problems in the plant that resulted to bigger problems such as lower productivity leading to delay of delivery and shipments; low profitability or almost non-profitability at all; and high inventory. Alex cannot understand why, despite of being competent and efficient due to the robots used in the plant that is said to increase productivity by 36%, the plant was still unproductive. Another conflict is that his wife cannot understand the situation Alex is up to causing his family and marriage life to fail too.
In a meeting with Mr. Peach, all other plant managers and staff, everybody found out that the division headed by Mr. Peach, which include the Bearington plant, is in trouble and is losing money. Everybody was given goals to achieve for the next three months because the division has one year to improve or it will be sold.
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