We are continuing our series based on The Goal by Eliyahu M Goldratt.

Let’s apply this to your business. In order to do so, you’ll need to make some calculations. First, write down your annual sales. Second, subtract the Truly Variable Costs (these include raw materials, outsourcing, freight in and out, and sales commissions). The difference between the two is your dollar Throughput.

From throughput subtract all of your fixed costs which we call Operating Expense. The difference is your Net Profit.

For example:

Sales $1,400,000
Truly Variable Costs -$650,000
Throughput =$750,000
Operating Expense -$615,000
Net Profit =$135,000

Let’s further assume that you have lathes and mills in your machine shop. You have identified that milling is your constraint resource. You have only two milling machines operating one shift. You have calculated the available capacity as:

Number of mills 2
Hours per year 2,080
Percent available 70%
Available hours 2,912

The 2,912 hours is how many “Constraint Units” you have available.

The Throughput of $750,000 divided by 2,912 hours is $257.55. That is your “Throughput per Constraint Unit” (T/CU).

What is the meaning of this number? The Throughput per Constraint Unit is the amount of margin needed per operating hour of your limiting resource to cover Operating Expense and achieve your Net Profit. It is the rate at which you make money.
…to be continued.

Here’s to maximizing YOUR profits!
Dr Lisa Lang

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