Operations management experts agree that to run a manufacturing production effort effectively you must understand how the products are designed and built to spot bottlenecks and flow issues. What sometimes we fail to see is that the metrics used to track and claim success are incorrect. If we focus on one dimension of the production system to optimize profit we will spark a chain of events that will have dire consequences on inventory and throughput. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction; as a process manager it is your job to find the most critical link in the chain to figure out how to exploit.
In a sense, The Goal is not just about critical chain thinking, it is a reflection exercise into root cause analysis and hypothesis testing. In its 300+ pages, the author will simplify lessons learned and concepts so that the reader can easily spot and apply critical chain techniques to everyday situations. Asking yourself if a task could be performed better and more efficiently will lead to genuine insights about the problem at hand. Once you spot the deficiencies in your plans or logic it will be easier to collect the data necessary to make amends or reroute efforts towards a clearer execution path. However, the bias generated by the day to day stressors and inaccurate metrics can skew the discovery process.
Be aware that to really solve a problem and innovate a solution you must open yourself to trying things that will contradict the status quo. Don’t wait until the environment has deteriorated so much people aren’t willing to cooperate and absorb the new information; part of being able to turn things around is to create the right cultural mindset for employees to buy into the plan. Effective management goes beyond the numbers and outputs, beyond the reports and delivery schedules. It requires leadership that can inspire ownership and accountability in the teams responsible for turning raw materials into proverbial gold.
For those of you interested in learning more about the subject, there is an audio book format that is extremely recommended because of its high production values. Sit back, relax, and take notes. Your personal and professional development will thank you.