Research Paper: Bottlenecks in Process

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¶ … Bottlenecked Processes

Introduction to Goldratt's Theory of Constraints

Eliyahu M. Goldratt devised the Theory of Constraints (TOC) as an approach to improving organizational function (Phipps, 1999). In principle, it conceives of internal constraints (i.e. physical constraints and policy constraints) and external constraints (i.e. market constraints). In general business organization applications, Goldratt's TOC system provides a conceptual means of identifying obstacles in the realm of organizational physical capacity or resources (internal, physical constraints), obstacles that are attributable to organizational "mindset" issues (i.e. internal, policy constraints), or limitations in the nature of the demand for the products or services of the organization (i.e. external, market constraints). Goldratt's TOC approach also prescribes a methodology for addressing each type of constraint in a manner conducive to mitigating their detrimental effects or to eliminating them altogether wherever possible (Phipps, 1999).

Application of Goldratt's Theory of Constraints to Bottlenecks

Goldratt's TOC method also incorporates his concept of bottlenecks, meaning constraints that are particularly (negatively) influential on the organization (Phipps, 1999; Robbins & Judge, 2009). The basis of that analogy is that constraints should be identified and resolved in the order of their significance to the problems of the organization. Much like freeing a physical bottleneck in a pipe system containing fluid immediately restores the fluid flow, resolving a functional bottleneck within organizations can widely improve the organization. The analogy is not perfect, but Goldratt's fundamental point is that certain constraints within organizations are responsible for disproportionately large organizational problems (Phipps, 1999; Robbins & Judge, 2009).

Identifying and Addressing Bottlenecks in the Morning Schedule Case

In the case of getting out of the house on time for work early in the morning, the primary bottleneck appears to be an internal constraint of mindset. In that regard, the only relevant metric is the economy of time in the morning. Given that the principal objective is to reduce the amount of time necessary to accomplish various pre-work morning tasks, it seems that certain choices (i.e. mindsets) are undermining that goal. Specifically, at least three tasks could be purged of potential delays by a change of mindset with respect to… [END OF PREVIEW]

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