‘Avoid inertia. Start again.’ Those were Goldratt’s exact words for the final focusing step. Once you’ve made an investment of money, time and effort, the constraint will move. Ideally, you’ll find it where you intended.
All improvement is change, but not all change is an improvement. We can optimise sales, or marketing, or manufacturing, or supply chain, or HR, or IT. Indeed, you can optimise any subsystem of your organisation. But how will it affect your business outcome?
Constraints aren’t your enemy—they’re your friend. If you want the most bang-for-buck for your effort, despite the connotation of the word constraint, it’s precisely at that place you’ll find the leverage you’re looking for.
In a recent workshop, I asked the team to state their goal. The number they gave me—expressed as a volume of safe, reliable tonnes—was a good deal less than the design capacity of the plant. A little surprised, I asked them what was going on.