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Project 1 Essay

1641 words - 7 pages

The Goal by Eliyahu M. Goldratt and Jeff Cox is a best-selling business novel first published in 1984. The story of The Goal follows Alex Rogo, a plant manager of the fictional corporation UniCo. As performance at his plant deteriorates, so does his marriage. Alex learns to better manage his life using the Theory of Constraints and the Socratic Method. Goldratt uses storytelling and simple examples to teach the reader about the Theory of Constraints and operations management.
The Theory of Constraints was first introduced by Eliyahu M. Goldratt in his 1984 novel The Goal. The theory is a management philosophy that is taught to the main character, Alex to help his manufacturing plant achieve its goal: “To make more money now as well as in the future” (Goldratt and Cox 59). The theory is based on the idea that the ability of an organization to achieve its goal is governed by at least one limiting factor. The ability of a manager to work around or improve these limiting factors will ultimately decide whether the organization will achieve its goal. The Theory of Constraints utilizes three main tools. First, a five step problem solving method used to maintain a process of ongoing improvement. Second, a system of three thinking processes that is essential to effective management. Lastly, application of the Theory of Constraints is not complete without the implementation of throughput accounting. Each of these elements will be examined in the following paragraphs.
The cornerstone of Goldratt’s Theory of Constraints is that one or more limiting factors, also known as constraints, limit the throughput of a system and therefore the rate of goal achievement. The first step in the theory’s five step process improvement system is to “IDENTIFY the system’s constraint(s)” (307). This step implies that there may be more than one constraint or factor limiting the performance of a system. In The Goal, the constraints in Alex’s factory are known as bottlenecks; bottlenecks are described as resources in the plant in which market demand exceeds capacity. Goldratt explains that because bottleneck resources have the least capacity, they determine the throughput of the entire plant. Alex’s mentor, Jonah explains “If you lose one [hour on the bottleneck resource], or even half of it, you have lost it forever. You cannot recover it someplace else in the system. Your throughput for the entire plant will be lower by whatever amount the bottleneck produces in that time” (153). In Goldratt’s example of a manufacturing plant, equipment capacity is the first constraint Alex faces. However in other types of organizations, market demand or availability of labor could be potential constraints on the system. The second step of the process is to “Decide how to EXPLOIT the system’s constraint(s)” (307). This step encourages the project team to better understand the constraint in relation to the whole system in order to get the most out of the constraint. In The Goal, Alex and...

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