Theory of Constraints (TOC)

theory of coinstraints TOC

What is it?

TOC is a thinking process designed to help organizations focus their effort during a continuous improvement process.

The focusing methodology follows these simple 5 steps: –

  • Establish the systems (organisation wide) performance limiting factor / constraint
  • Exploit the potential of the constraint
  • Subordinate the non constraints requirements to that of the constraint
  • Elevate the constraint
  • Find the new constraint

What are performance limiting factors?

Performance limiting factors can generally be grouped into 3 major categories.

  • Policy constraints
    • Management rules and regulations
  • Behavioral constraints
    • “We have always done it this way”
    • Attitudes
  • Physical constraints
    • Equipment bottlenecks

What are the Best Practices we need to improve?

5S, Pull Systems, Standard Work, Leading and Managing Change, Teamwork, Visual Measures, Problem Solving, Fail Safe Devices (Poka-Yoke), Process Layout etc.

Recommended Exercise

Establish which are the constraints in your business. With physical constraints evidence of this is often shown by the build up of work-in-progress behind a particular process.

Then observe how effectively the constraint is being currently utilized: –

  • Is it working all the time?
  • When working is it working efficiently?
  • Are the best methods for doing the work clearly spelt out and are all the operators consistently following the best method?