It has been years since I first learned the Theories Of Constraints philosophy. Like DECADES ago. And like Total Quality Management and other “flavor of the month” advice that seemed to come our way in manufacturing, you just went along for the ride. Basically, you were being paid to listen and not DO your job. A lot of it felt like “fluff” during those years. This felt different. We were given the book The Goal and it stuck with me as did the brainstorming sessions that our company held.
I have long left the manufacturing world and tho I am still a “marketing geek” now what we are doing seems (to me) is harder to grasp. In manufacturing, you can see stuff being made. You can SEE it. You can SEE when it is made well. You can SEE when it is made not so well. When it “rolls off the line” you can SEE a finished product.
During my manufacturing tenure, it was first clothing, socks, boys sweaters, belts and accessories and then medical equipment. In every case REWORK killed us. Costs money. Costs of wasted time, costs of frustrated customers and our sales force; then cash flow, revenue suffered. To me, “back in the day” seemed that it was much more a black and white world – you could SEE results. Engineers and production folks were ACCOUNTABLE for failures because EVERYONE saw them. Finger pointing existed, but it wasn’t as easy to blame the “wrong guy” and get away with it.
- Enter technology.
- Enter communication and technology.
- Talk about the big black hole of the Blame Game!
TANGIBLE products that look good, don’t break, perform to a customers expectations or when you really WIN – you exceed them! Lots of what is done is hidden in lines of code or done in a way that people don’t see the flaws until it has long passed and it is in the customer’s hands. Then, it is always something “on your end.” Your computer, your browser, your email and now your phone. We’ve all heard it.
The next couple of posts will discuss this. Perhaps if folks read these posts you may see yourself, your family or your coworkers in the words? This thinking can be applied to work, home life as well as what you are tying to accomplish for yourself. In marketing research we often say, “WHAT is the PROBLEM?” Sometimes it is very easy to come up with the SYMPTOMS, but what is the real PROBLEM – Eli Goldratt would say, if we cannot determine the PROBLEM there is no way in knowing what the “Root Cause Fix” may be.
You may not be in the manufacturing field now or maybe you never have been in manufacturing but it does remain that no matter the industry or situation, fixing a bunch of symptoms may be just that. The PROBLEM still remains. That is the hardest part.