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TOC Fundamentals

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What is TOC?

An organizations is a complex web of people, equipment, methods, materials and measures. Add to this detail complexity the dynamic complexity of the changes introduced by customers, suppliers, workforce, and regulations, among other elements, and you have a picture of the challenges faced by today’s management team.

Traditionally, management has divided the organization into smaller, more manageable pieces with the objective to maximize the performance of each part. After all, global improvement is the sum of local improvements. Right?

Wrong! TOC holds that changes to most of the variables in an organization usually have only small impacts on global performance – that is, on the bottom line. There are few variables—perhaps only one—for which a significant change in local performance will effect a significant change in global performance. Such a variable is called a constraint. Therefore, if you wish to achieve more of your goal, you must identify your constraint, focus on it, and follow through. That is the essence of TOC! 

For more in depth details about the fundamentals of TOC explore the following:
Layers of Resistance
Overview Slide show
Process Improvement
Supply Chain
TOC, Lean and 6 Sigma
What is the goal?

"It is quite obvious that when the weak links – the constraints – are the ones that determine the end result, they become the main tools of management. The previous tool – product cost – can now be safely discarded."


- Eli Goldratt, Theory of Constraints, (North River Press, 1990)