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Theory of Constraint - Introduction

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Theory of Constraint - Introduction

Today, more than ever, change is essential to satisfying expectations. Customers

expect higher product and service quality than the price they're

willing to pay to acquire those products and services. More than ever,

employees expect security in their jobs. Shareholders expect that today's

investments will yield a higher rate of return over a shorter timeframe. Yet,

"to make ends meet," management is constantly pressured to keep costs

under control.

In light of today's competitive pressures and a rapidly changing environment,

to not change is to give way to one's competitors. Hence, we should understand

that to improve means to change. We know that to improve means we


• Provide products and services that solve customers' problems

• Release products and services consistent with market demand

• Reduce variability in our processes

• Have measurements that indicate success relative to achieving our


• Reward people for their contribution to change

Rather than reacting to external change, or being subjected to random internal

change, many organizations have concluded that a process of on-going

improvement is an absolute necessity. For an organization to have a process

of on-going improvement, certain basic questions need to be answered faster

and more effectively. Those fundamental questions are:

• "What To Change?"

• "What To Change To?"

• "How To Cause The Change?"

Healthcare Analogy-

The Theory of Constraints (TOC) applies the cause-and-effect thinking

processes used in the hard sciences to understand and improve all systems,

but particularly, organizations. The process a clinician applies to treating a

patient is an excellent analogy for explaining how TOC recommends going

about solving a systems problem. If we were to describe the overall process

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