Haystack Syndrome: Sifting Information out of the Data Ocean

Haystack Syndrome: Sifting Information out of the Data Ocean

by Eliyahu M. Goldratt


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A must for every manager concerned with meeting the challenges of the 21st century. You'll see the differences between data and information in a new light, and understand precisely how misunderstanding those differences can affect the quality of your decision-making process. Starting with the structure of an organization, The Haystack Syndrome ends with a detailed description of the logic that must underpin the information system for any organization to maximize effectiveness.

Part One:
Formalizing the Decision Process - Defining the goal, the measurements, and how to continuously improve the whole system - the Theory of Constraints.

Part Two:
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.

Part Three:
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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780884271840
Publisher: North River Press Publishing Corporation, The
Publication date: 06/28/2006
Pages: 262
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 8.70(h) x 0.70(d)

Table of Contents

Part One: Formalizing the Decision Process
Chapter 1: Data,information and the decision process -- how they relate ..... 3
Chapter 2: What a company tries to achieve ..... 8
Chapter 3: Getting a hold on measurements ..... 14
Chapter 4: Defining Throughput ..... 19
Chapter 5: Removing the overlap between Inventory and Operating Expense ..... 23
Chapter 6: Measurements, Bottom Line, and Cost Accounting ..... 31
Chapter 7: Exposing the foundation of cost accounting ..... 36
Chapter 8: Cost accounting was the traditional measurement ..... 41
Chapter 9: The new measurements' scale of importance ..... 47
Chapter 10: The resulting paradigm shift ..... 52
Chapter 11: Formulating the Throughput World's decision process ..... 58
Chapter 12: What is the missing link? -- building a decisive experiment ..... 64
Chapter 13: Demonstrating the difference between the Cost World and the Throughput World ..... 72
Chapter 14: Clarifying the confusion between data and information -- some fundamental definitions ..... 79
Chapter 15: Demonstrating the impact of the new decision process on some tactical issues ..... 86
Chapter 16: Demonstrating inertia as a cause for policy constraints ..... 93

Part Two: The Architecture of an Information System
Chapter 17: Peering into the inherent structure of an information system -- first attempt ..... 103
Chapter 18: Introducing the need to quantify "protection" ..... 109
Chapter 19: Required data can be achieved only through scheduling and quantification of Murphy ..... 116
Chapter 20: Introducing the time buffer concept ..... 121
Chapter 21: Buffers and buffer-origins ..... 127
Chapter 22: First step in quantifying Murphy ..... 132
Chapter 23: Directing the efforts to improve local processes ..... 138
Chapter 24: Local performance measurements ..... 144
Chapter 25: An Information System must be composed of Scheduling, Control and What-If modules ..... 156

Part Three: Scheduling
Chapter 26: Speeding up the process ..... 163
Chapter 27: Cleaning up some more inertia -- rearranging the data structure ..... 169
Chapter 28: Establishing the criteria for an acceptable schedule ..... 179
Chapter 29: Identifying the first constraints ..... 186
Chapter 30: How to work with very inaccurate data ..... 194
Chapter 31: Pinpointing the conflicts between the identified constraints ..... 200
Chapter 32: Starting to remove conflicts -- the system/user interplay ..... 208
Chapter 33: Resolving all remaining conflicts ..... 214
Chapter 34: Manual subordination: the drum-buffer-rope method ..... 222
Chapter 35: Subordinating while considering non-constraints' capacity -- the conceptual approach ..... 229
Chapter 36: Dynamic time buffers and protective capacity ..... 235
Chapter 37: Some residual issues ..... 241
Chapter 38: The details of the subordination procedure ..... 247
Chapter 39: Identifying the next constraint, and looping back ..... 252
Chapter 40: Partial summary of benefits ..... 260

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Haystack Syndrome: Sifting Information out of the Data Ocean 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
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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 bo