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CIRAS - TOC - TOC Workshops

What is the Goal?

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An Introduction to TOC

What is the goal of your organization?

What measurements do you use?

Resource Utilization?   Net Profit?   ROI?   Cash Flow?  Labor Efficiency?

Are these the right measurements to enable your workers to make day-to-day operating decisions that are in the best "global" interest of the organization?

This highly interactive workshop has one objective:

  • To challenge the way you think when you make the decisions that drive your company!

Participants have the opportunity to make decisions in several simulated manufacturing environments and compare the results from a "local" perspective to those made from the "global" perspective. The fundamental principles of TOC are explained and demonstrated through these simple but effective hands on simulations. TOC in production is covered in some detail. Participants are also introduced to how TOC is applied in the following areas:

    * Distribution     * Project Management     * Marketing.

A brief history:
Since March 1996, this workshop has been conducted 35 times: 20 for the public and 15 as a dedicated in-house offering. There have been 757 participants from over 100 Iowa companies.

What do past participants say to those who don’t know if this workshop is worth their time?

  • "Definitely go. Very high value for the $ and time invested in relation to potential gain toward ‘the goal’."

  • "Yes, they need to go. Makes you think more in depth into problems."

  • "It’s well worth it and a great learning experience."

  • "What Tim went over will make major positive change through the company."

Meet the Instructor: Mike Willett has been studying TOC for 10 years and has helped several manufacturers implement TOC in their production systems. He worked 8 years for medium sized contract manufacturers, and has consulted with manufacturers for 20 years. Mike has a Masters degree in Industrial Supervision & Management. Contact him at 319-433-1286 or <> and visit our Constraint Management/TOC web site

The principles taught in this workshop are based on the books by Eli Goldratt, all available through North River Press: The Goal (1984), The Race (1986), What is this thing called Theory of Constraints? (1990), It's Not Luck (1994), and Critical Chain (1997).

What is the Goal?

An Introduction to the Theory of Constraints
a CIRAS workshop

Outline for 1 day workshop

Purpose: To challenge the way you think!

  1. Current Reality
    1. Three questions...
      1. What is the goal of your company?
      2. What measurements do you use to tell if you are getting there?
      3. What formulas are used?
    2. Applying your current way of thinking to a fictitious company: Block Mfg., Inc. example
      1. Decide which of two orders to fill.
      2. Explain on what basis you made your decision
      3. Calculate your profit for the week.

    "Would you be interested in a way to double your profit?"

  2. Introduction to the Theory of Constraints (TOC)
    1. View the video "The Goal" by Eli Goldratt (50 minutes)
    2. Discuss key points: Throughput, Inventory, Operating Expense; 5 Step Process Of On Going Improvement
    3. Revisit the Block Mfg., Inc. from a throughput perspective—and double your profits!
    4. Chain analogy


  3. Concept reinforcement (Group activities where 6 volunteers participate up front while others record the data)
    1. Studying simple systems
      1. Two "blue block" exercises illustrating dependent events coupled with statistical variation. These show how a "balanced" line will produce output with "relatively high" variation and will always be less than the capacity of the individual steps in the process. Thus it makes sense to consider TOC.
    2. Illustrating "Conventional Rules" vs. "Global Rules" (from "The Race" by Goldratt)
      1. Three more "blue block" exercises
    3. Managing a simple system
      1. One "blue block" exercise where the class is challenged to find the constraint
    4. Managing Inventory; Drum-Buffer Rope (DBR); and Constraint Management
      1. Definitions
      2. Illustrate DBR with the blue blocks


  4. Application tools
    1. Goldratt’s 5 Step process for continuous improvement
      1. Review
    2. Thinking Process (From "It’s Not Luck" by Goldratt)
      1. Brief introduction