Theory of Constraints

Herbie Is Alive and Well

A recent visit to the local Starbucks near Penn Station was a wonderful illustration of Eliyahu M. Goldratt’s theory of constraints – and a great example for how important real process management is. What was intended to be a reward (a medium café latte with an extra shot of espresso – or in Starbucks lingo,…

European Wind Project Embraces Lean

With assistance from Spanish wind-turbine manufacturer Gamesa, nonprofit foundation Tekniker and several other European technology firms, COSMOS seeks increases in turbine quality, as well as lower costs and faster manufacturing times, according to a release from Ibermática. According to the COSMOS consortium, many European turbine assembly operations involve both manual labor and work done by…

Theory of Constraints Helps Set Project Priorities

In another article published by iSixSigma, I proposed that implementing an integrated approach of Lean Six Sigma and theory of constraints (TOC) can lead to greater success for an organization than the use of an independent Lean Six Sigma approach. Since that article was published, I have received multiple queries about how to apply this…


Study Shows How Lean, Six Sigma Improved Brazilian Mining Processes

Continuous Process Improvement (CPI) approaches such as Lean, Six Sigma and TOC have been applied to help organizations to improve their efficiencies and profitability. However, there had not been research to quantify the effects and contributions of each of these approaches, which led to a recent scientific research conducted from 2003 to 2005.

Screening Tools Can Speed Up Six Sigma Projects

Lean Six Sigma has led to improvements for many of the companies that use it; a few companies have even achieved spectacular results. However, not every company is pleased with its progress with Six Sigma. One area that may lead to this disparity of results is the use of screening tools developed by Dorian Shainin….

Applying Theory of Constraints to Manage Bottlenecks

The theory of constraints is an important tool for improving process flows. The implications of the theory are far reaching in terms of understanding bottlenecks to a process and better managing these bottlenecks to create an efficient process flow. The theory of constraints is an important tool for operations managers to manage bottlenecks and improve…


Identify Constraints and Reduce Wait Time in Processes

Because I live in the suburbs, driving downtown to work can be an unnerving experience on the best of days. Even when there are no accidents or stalls, there is a particular stretch of road where the six-lane highway merges into three lanes, creating long traffic jams. Theory of constraints would suggest that there is…

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TOC Tools Help Find the Right Lean Six Sigma Projects

Practitioners sometimes encounter potential sponsors and Champions who seem not to be able to point to the real “pain” in their organization. Inputs are either very general (“boil the ocean”-type projects) or fuzzy, leaving the final project definition to the Black Belt – and risking missing the real issue intended by the Champion. This results…

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Using the Theory of Constraints to Allocate Benefits

Many Six Sigma companies experience challenges in their effort to calculate and allocate benefits from throughput projects. This is a complex process, especially when the throughput capacity profile includes several different processes that behave independently, and where bottlenecks shift from one process to another. Employing the theory of constraints provides an effective solution. At BHP…