Monday, January 17, 2011

What is ‘Theory of Constraints’ (TOC) – Professor M.S.Rao

My friend Tom was asking me to come to park for a walk since long time. However, I could not make it due to my hectic schedules, training programs and assignments. When I met him after a long time for a walk, he was excited. We had series of discussions on various topics and finally the ball was set rolling on the concept of Theory of Constraints (TOC). He said that we need to identify the weak links, rectify and move forward in achieving success in life. Then I thought for a while and explained him about TOC and its importance to achieve success in personal, professional and social life.

Life is full of challenges. We face several constraints in order to survive and grow. Most of the constraints are external rather than internal in nature and which is beyond the control of human beings. People often fail due to external constraints rather than internal constraints. Internal constraints are easily manageable while he the external constraints are tough to predict and manage. However, TOC helps handy in managing external key constraints. In this regard, let us know what is all about TOC.

What is TOC?

TOC has been coined by Dr. Eliyahu M. Goldratt, in his book ‘The Goal’. It is also known as Constraint Management. It is closely connected with TQM (total quality management). It is widely used by everyone but people often don’t know that they are using this approach. TOC goes closely with change management as change can be effected through TOC very easily. It emphasizes what is to be changed, how it is to be changed and when it is to be changed to make things better qualitatively. It is a qualitative tool to improve the processes in order to make goods or services better. Currently its importance is being felt in all sectors and industries.

Merits of TOC

TOC can be used in all walks of life where we want to add value by breaking the bottlenecks. It adds value and makes difference in the lives of others. TOC can also be used in problem-solving. It helps us identify the root of the problem and provides suitable remedial measures. Most of the people fail to spot the bottlenecks while resolving their problems or while ensuring their success. However, TOC helps spot where exactly the problem lies and corrects the same.

TOC Process

In his book Theory of Constraints, Goldratt outlines a five-step process to applying the theory:
1. Identify the process' constraints
2. Decide how best to exploit the process constraints
3. Subordinate everything else to the above decisions
4. Evaluate the process constraint
5. Remove the constraint and re-evaluate the process
Succinctly, the process of TOC is all about spotting the system constraints; searching for the weakest links; thinking of means to strengthen them; addressing them effectively and evaluating for takeaways.

Final Word

The concept of TOC is catching up globally due to rapid changing times and technologies. It is a boon for the companies that are struggling to compete and stay ahead of others. Organizationally, leaders have a challenging role to identify the key constraints in processes, systems and work on to strengthen for enhancing organizational effectiveness and excellence. Individually, people can make use of this concept to accomplish their goals and reach success. To conclude, TOC is going to play a crucial role in future.

Professor M.S.Rao
Founder and Chief Consultant,
MSR Leadership Consultants, India
Blog: http://profmsr.blogspot.com
Where Knowledge is Wealth
Email: profmsr7@gmail.com

Dear readers,

I would appreciate your comments about this article.

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