Theory of constraints
“A chain is no stronger than its weakest link”
Any improvement made anywhere besides the bottleneck is an illusion.
Any improvement made after the bottleneck is useless because it will always remain starved waiting for work from the bottleneck.
Any improvement made before the bottleneck merely results in more ‘work’ piling up at the bottleneck.
- Identify the system’s constraint(s) (that which prevents the organisation from obtaining more of the goal in a unit of time)
- Decide how to exploit the system’s constraint(s) (how to get the most out of the constraint)
- Subordinate everything else to the above decision (align the whole system or organization to support the decision made above)
- Elevate the system’s constraint(s) (make other major changes needed to increase the constraint’s capacity)
- Warning! If in the previous steps a constraint has been broken, go back to step 1, but do not allow inertia to cause a system’s constraint.