The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement
The novel centers on the life of Alex Rogo who has recently been transferred to a major plant of Unico Manufacturing. The author uses real life situations to come up with a fictional book. The book makes an attempt to show the right way to manage any organization, be it a clothing store, design shop or a factory plant. A manager should identify what needs changing, what it should change to and then execute the change. The book points out that a manager should never let the business run him, rather he should constantly review and criticize business processes and remove bottlenecks hindering the business.
The plant has been performing poorly and lead to massive losses. Rogo has three months to start turning in a profit or else the plant will be closed. Rogo gathers a team of departmental heads, who together brainstorm on daily operation procedures, in some cases abandoning company regulations to try whether different methods can work.
The author constantly uses two terms in the novel: bottleneck to refer to problems blocking the production line, and brainstorming referring to the way that Alex had to think on all the factors affecting the organization and coming up with solutions. In one instance, a robot had a larger production capacity than its actual production. This was because of products being machinery ready, which was slowing product completion time. The team rectifies the problem in one working day, but the rectification caused breakdowns in other areas. The author carefully guides the reader in identifying the many scenarios that affect a work quota.
The book points the role that bottlenecks play in business operations. The book also shows how their identification reduces their influence and yields a powerful measurement and control tool for material flow. Together with his team, Alex identifies the bottlenecks in operations and begins to implement the necessary changes to help speed up operations. To react to the fact that the plant was using outdated equipment, the team brings an old machine to increase the capacity of their existing machinery; the existing machinery was one of the bottlenecks. The second constraint was the heat treat processes, which was causing massive delays that led to multiple heating of some products.
Alex contacts a former friend and together they identify the pertinent definitions necessary for the success of any plant. Throughout rate specifies that a system generate money through sales. The measurement criterion identifies the market value of a product. Inventory refers to all the money used in purchasing sale items. Operational expenses refer to all the money and resources employed in turning inventory into sales.
A major theme in the fictional book is that a business should be returning a profit by always operating as efficiently as possible, and not by making as much as possible. Such a move calls for drastic changes that sometimes may hurt a few individuals. When the team discovers that the plant is operating at 80% of full-scale capacity, Rogo instructs the sales manager to give the idle employees 20% more work.
The author teaches many ways of identifying problems and their possible solutions in any corporate office could employ to realize full-scale operability. The author highlights that management reports and researches are good only on paper but on actual performance. The author insinuates that staying within company guidelines and instructions only inhibits their thinking. Processes should be changing constantly. The focus of the book is on identifying operations bottlenecks and streamlining workflow around them. The author clearly communicates management skills and practices in a fictional book. The book serves as a guide for the theory of constraints, despite being a fictitious book.
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