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Formalizing the Decision Process - Defining the goal, the measurements, and how to continuously improve the whole system - the Theory of Constraints.
The Architecture of an Information System - Dealing with information as it relates to the real world; quantifying Murphy, the time-buffer concept, directing process improvements, measuring local performance.
Scheduling - how to implement a real process of ongoing improvement requiring interplay between the system and the manager, resolving all conflicts, considering capacity and protection.
Posted April 28, 2001
If you have already read Eliyahu Goldratt's classic manufacturing fable, THE GOAL, you will find this book to be a five star book for explaining his Theory of Constraints. You will not rate it higher than five stars because it is very tedious reading. On the other hand, if you have not yet read THE GOAL, you will probably not be able to finish this book because it is so technical and devoid of interesting detail. You will probably rate it a one or two star book. I averaged these two ratings to arrive at a three star rating. So my advice is: Read THE GOAL first, then read this book. You can read my review of THE GOAL to see if that book is for you. THE GOAL is one of the best business books of all time, and I do hope you will read it. Five aspects of this book will be most helpful to you. First, there is an exercise to identify the constraints in a manufacturing process, and then decide what to produce. Mr. Goldratt says that only 1 person in 100 is able to do this assignment correctly in his workshops. This is a superb way to test if you understand the principles of the Theory of Constraints. If you don't correctly solve the problem, go back over the material until the exercise is crystal clear to you. The next section in the book reviews the exercise for you, so be sure to do the exercise on your own before you read the discussion. Second, the book has an example in it of a large company that was misled by its cost accounting data to outsource much of its production and drop many of its products. The result was a disaster for the company, its executives, and shareholders. This example will emotionally stay with you, and remind you to use the Theory of Constraints the next time your cost accounting data are about to be applieed in this usually harmful way. Third, the definitions of the Theory of Constraints are simply and beautifully spelled out here. You will see your operations as a system rather than as arbitrarily divided subsections. When you optimize the subsections, you destroy the effectiveness of the system. If you like systems thinking from this experience, I suggest that you also read THE FIFTH DISCIPLINE and THE FIFTH DISCIPLINE FIELD GUIDE. Fourth, the book is superb in reminding you that what you measure and reward is what you get. So you will have to change these measurements and rewards in order to overcome organizational inertia to do the wrong things. Here is the often-repeated admonition from the book: 'TELL ME HOW YOU MEASURE ME, AND I WILL TELL YOU HOW I WILL BEHAVE.' Five, this book clearly defines what you need to have in the way of data and how to use these data in order to practice system optimization according to the Theory of Constraints. Many people will need help with these topics after reading either THE GOAL or the first two parts of this book. Although dry, it is essential material. Be sure you stick with this section until you understand it. I suggest reading the third part out loud to another person, and discussing it with that person as you go. That approach will make this section of the book easier to use. After you have finished reading this boWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 12, 2012
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