Tom Foster of interviewed me about Goldratt’s Theory of Constraints. Here is the third installment:

— Start interview
TF: You talk about bottlenecks in systems. Conventional wisdom says bottlenecks are bad and that it is management’s job to get rid of them.

Dr. Lisa: Bottlenecks are what determine how much money you can make. I don’t think of them as bad. They just are. And by definition you will always have one. The question is, where is it? But, unless you have unlimited profits, you have a bottleneck, somewhere.

If you think bottlenecks or constraints are bad (like we were taught), then you will strive to get rid of them. But, as soon as you get rid of one bottleneck, another pops up, somewhere else. Essentially, we are taught to chase them around. Find them and get rid of them. It’s like being trapped in that arcade game – Whack-A-Mole.

If, by definition, you always have a weakest link or bottleneck, instead of chasing it around, my recommendation is to strategically place it. You decide where you want this control point to be. By doing that, you can get very good leveraging it and knowing how to control and grow your business with this control point.

So bottlenecks are not bad. Management’s job is to control them so that we can meet our commitments and grow. And more importantly to LEVERAGE them so that profits can be maximized.
—End interview

…to be continued.

Here’s to maximizing YOUR profits!
By Dr Lisa Lang
© Science of Business, Inc

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