Critical Review of "It's Not Luck"

Topics: Strategic management, Management, Strategic planning Pages: 14 (3306 words) Published: October 22, 2007
Write a critical review of the book "It's not Luck" by EM Goldratt from an operations strategy perspective. The emphasis of your review should be on principles of good operations strategy and should NOT just be a summary of the book.

Table of Contents

2.Introduction to Business Strategy and its Operations Strategy3 3.Levels of Strategy4
4.Executive Summary of It's Not Luck6
5.Principles of Operations Strategy7


The content of this assignment constitutes my understanding and interpretation of the book "It's Not Luck" authored by Dr. Eliyahu M. Goldratt. I have endeavoured to provide a critical review of the book and its application to the business environment. Throughout this assignment I refer to myself as "the student", whenever I offer my own opinion, presumptions and thoughts regarding the book. I am still very much a student in the art of the Theory of Constraints (TOC).

In a nutshell, the underlying concept the author presents to the readers is TOC which is a management philosophy that prescribes that most modern organisations operate on a systems philosophy. And the goal is to make more money, both now as well as in the future. TOC consists of two fundamental applications: 1) The Five Focusing steps and their application to operations; 2) The Thinking Processes (TP) and their application to project management and human behaviour. TOC considers a system as a chain, with the underlying premise that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. This weakest link is most often the constraint of the system.

In this assignment I have opted to outline my understanding of a business strategy first, following with the operations strategy. Following this is a discussion on some principles of operations strategy. I have applied these very same concepts in my critical review of "It's Not Luck".

2.Introduction to Business Strategy and its Operations Strategy

The managerial process of crafting and executing strategy relates to a strategic vision as a road map in developing and strengthening an organisation. An organisations strategy consists of several sub-strategies that include marketing strategy, operations strategy, product strategy, and financial strategy. The strategic vision describes the destination and provides a rationale for going there. The vision refers to future business scope ("where we are going"). The mission refers to present business scope and purpose ("who we are, what we do, and why we are here"). The values guide the conduct of its business, pursuit of its strategic vision, behaviour of company personnel, etc. A well communicated vision is a most valuable tool for buy-in. Executive ability to paint a convincing and inspiring picture of a company's journey and destination is an important element of effective strategic leadership. The objectives of a vision are to determine performance targets namely desired results and outcomes that measure performance and progress.

Strategic intent relentlessly pursues an ambitious strategic objective and concentrates its full resources and competitive actions on achieving that objective. Every manager has a strategy-making-executing role. A company's strategic plan is an ongoing process.

An organisations operations strategy "consists of a sequence of decisions that, over time, enables a business unit to achieve a desired operations structure, infrastructure, and set of specific capabilities in support of the competitive priorities". This ultimately leads to the goal of a business namely to make more money now as well as in the future.

The operations part of a business is what the company "does". It is how the business delivers its "product" to its customers. It is the core of a company's business (whatever that is). Manufacturing companies make products, stockholders purchase, store and distribute materials, whilst retailers procure stock and supply the public...

References: Cox, J.F. III, Spencer. M.S. (1998). The Constraints Management Handbook. Boca Ratopn, Florida: CRC Press LLC.
Dettmer, H.W
Goldratt, E.M., Cox, J. (2004). The Goal: A process of ongoing improvement. 3rd Revised Edition. Goldratt Group.
Goldratt, E.M., (1994), It 's Not Luck. New York: North River Press.
Hill, T. (2000a). Manufacturing Strategy: Text and Cases, 2nd Edition. Hampshire: Palgrave.
Hill, T. (2000b). Operations Management: Strategic Content and Managerial Analysis, 2nd Edition. Hampshire: Palgrave.
McMullen, T.B. Jr. (1995). The Goal -- It"s Not luck -- Stand Alone Story: Yes. [Online] Available from: [Accessed: 2007-09-01].
Moore, R., Scheinkopf, L. (1998). Theory of Constraints and Lean Manufacturing: Friends or Foes? Chesapeake Consulting, Inc. [Online] Available from: [Accessed: 2007-09-01].
Pearce, J.A. II, Robinson, R.B. Jr. (2003). Strategic Management: Formulation, Implementation, and Control. 8th Edition. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill/Irwin.
Pretorius, P.J. (2006). Study Unit 1.2 Class Notes Rev 4. Pretoria: University of Pretoria.
PTA 106. (2006). Assignment 3b: Practical operations strategy development. Pretoria: University of Pretoria.
Russel, R.S., Taylor, W.T. III. (1998). Production and Operations Management, Focusing on Quality and Competitiveness, 2nd Edition. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Skinner, W., (1974). The focused factory, Harvard Business Review, May-June, pp. 113-21.
Schroeder, R.G. (1987). Operations Management: Decision Making in the Operations Function. 2nd Edition. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill/Irwin.
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