Lean and Theory of Constraints

David Anderson’s post, Lean vs. TOC – No Conflict [the broken link was removed], 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 [the broken link was removed] 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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