Lean and Theory of Constraints

David Anderson’s post, Lean vs. TOC – No Conflict, is an excellent addition to the previous post here: Lean Thinking and Management.

I demonstrated these ideas recently by taking an updated version of my XIT Sustained Engineering paper from the TOCICO in Barcelona to the Lean Design and Development conference and recasting all the exploitation and subordination steps as waste reduction instead.

David refers to a post, looking for a conflict, that is definitely worth reading:

This is the dilemma: “Optimize everything” conflicts with “Only optimize the bottleneck”. I like both approaches and have used them both successfully. How is it possible that two of my favourite techniques disagree?

I like the way the post looks at this question. I must admit, my personally view is that the conflict is not as stark as it may appear. I tend to believe the theory of constraints view is helpful but can be misleading since often the interdependencies within the system mean that it is not true that “optimizing non-bottlenecks will introduce waste” (that may be true but is not necessarily true – that is how I see it anyway).

These are good ideas to be discussing.


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