The Goal, by Eliyahu Goldratt is a novel focused on the challenges and improvement of operational efficiency. The book is about Alex Rogo, a thirty something year old, probably has an undergraduate degree in engineering and an MBA. He is married with 2 children, working as an executive for UniCo for the past 15 years. He began his career as project engineer, now works as a plant manager of manufacturing factory in Bearington, his home town. His boss is Bill Peach, division manager at the VP level.
UNICO produces machined assemblies furnished to plants in the UniWare division as components of end-items, or are sold directly as spare parts assemblies to larger end-user customers. They employ well trained and competent staff with experienced managers who possess increasingly broadened responsibilities as the company has grown. Their customers expect quality products, delivered on time and reasonably priced. Upper management has been efficient at overall cost reduction in operations and provide detailed financial performance reporting, multi level production functional cost budgets produced and managed with precision. They have seen savings in production time and increases in station production rate due to automation throughout the plant, all while being able to meet the demands of a unionized workforce to maintain equality in its labor relations. Alex’s plant, on the other hand, had orders nearly two-months behind scheduled delivery date and more than $20 million in warehoused inventory. Deliverable items were being expedited through the factory, increasing overtime and special handling in numerous areas. Sales were declining, material costs increasing; efficiency metrics were showing alarming decreases across the board. The division was facing a cash shortage, and was not going to be able to pay bills or meet payroll. Alex is given a 3 month ultimatum to turn the plant around otherwise unprofitable plants would be shut down and sold.