The Theory of Constraints

The Theory of Constraints Helps to Identify and Remove Obstacles That Prevent a Business from Achieving Its Goals

The assumption behind the theory of constraints is that in any system, the achievement of goals will be limited by some particular constraint. In any business there are just a few elements that are responsible for its results. These are considered constraints and identifying these, can help an organization to find ways of solving the problems caused by them.

The theory of constraints assumes that there are factors that prevent any business or organization from achieving the goals it has set itself. These are the factors that are considered constraints that prevent the business from achieving what it has set out to do. The objective of the theory of constraints is to identify these factors and end their influence on the way the business runs.

To make an effective use of this theory one needs to examine:
• What is it that needs to be improved?
• What is the improvement that is needed?
• How to make the necessary improvement?

The first need is to identify the constraint that is preventing any organization from achieving its goals. It is obvious that until you know this, you cannot move forward to a solution of the problem. Once the constraint is properly identified it then becomes necessary to find out what is necessary to be done to overcome the constraint. You then need to move to the stage where you identify ways of making the needed improvement, so that the constraint is finally removed. This is where good process manangement systems are invaluable.

Using the theory of constraints, that owes its origin to Goldratt, does require a step by step approach that can allow for successful implementation of any strategy to tackle the defects in an organization. To start with, it is very important to build a consensus among all stakeholders and management personnel. This will ensure that the process has a wider acceptability that will allow for enough resources to be allotted for tackling the problems. Once this consensus has been reached, it is necessary to make a detailed assessment of the situation that has caused this theory to be applied and actually identify the various constraints that are holding up the achievement of goals. The changes that are needed to be made will then need to be decided. All the concerned personnel have to hereafter design and find ways to make the changes. Once this has been broadly approved by the concerned management, the changes have to be implemented.

Making changes to any process of way of working can have no meaning unless a constant assessment is made about whether the changes are taking the business to the desired goals. This assessment can help to decide whether there are still any constraints, some of them which can even be a result of the changes. The process has to be repeated until all constraints are removed and targets achieved. Implementing the theory of constraints does require a lot of commitment from the management, allocation of sufficient resources in terms of personnel, time and money and a constant appraisal of the stages of implementation.