The Goal: a Process of Ongoing Improvement

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The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement
When reading the first lines of "The Goal", I wondered if it would capture my attention. After all, how can a book which discusses the intricacies of a processing plant benefit me and add to my understanding of being an effective leader? It turns out that the book lured me and brought me into a world of understanding and optimism in regards to leadership in general, whether it's taking control of my professional or personal life. Question 1: What is the theory of constraints?

Response: The Theory of Constraints focuses on making organizational decisions in situations in which constraints exist. The authors illustrate the Theory of Constraints (TOC) in production management. They use the story of "The Goal" to focus on solving problems such as bottlenecks, scheduling, and inventory reduction. To more accurately put it, a constraint is anything in an organization that limits it from moving toward or achieving its goal (p.43). Of course, this assumes that an appropriate goal has been defined. In order to better utilize the TOC, it is important to identify what type of constraints there are. The two basic types are physical constraints and non-physical constraints. A physical constraint is something like the physical capacity of a machine. A non-physical constraint might be something like demand for a product, a corporate procedure, or an individual's paradigm for looking at the world (pg. 46).

Question 2: How should the theory of constraints be implemented? Response: When implementing the TOC, it is important to first identify the system's constraints. This is done by prioritizing tasks in order to focus on the overall goal. Next, one should decide how to exploit the system's constraints. A manager should first learn how to manage the constraints within the system before he manages the other resources that are not constraints. In order to do this, a manager must organize them so that they...
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