Designing the right intervention

Shawn Callahan writes Intervention design - an example of the power of focus.  The Theory of Constraints spends a lot of time helping people focus on the right thing.

Emery management wanted employees to put as many packages as possible into larger containers to cut freight costs. The company conducted a performance audit and found that, although managers thought they were using larger containers 90 percent of the time it was feasible, only 45 percent of the eligible packages were actually being put into larger containers. So the company announced a new program that provided rewards such as praise—not financial rewards—for improvement. On the first day, the proportion of packages placed in the larger containers increased to 95 percent in about 70 percent of the company’s offices. The speed of this overwhelming improvement suggests that a change in performance derived not just from the rewards that were offered, but also from the information provided that the current performance level was poor and this action—consolidating shipments—was important to the company. [Bold is mine]

Once people knew what was valuable to the company, they knew how to arrange their work to achieve those goals.  This is "operations management" at its very heart.

The first step in any Theory of Constraints project is to identify the constraint for the organization.  The constraint is the thing that, if improved, would automatically create more money for the company.  It's the weakest link in the chain.  There is a lot of power in simply identifying that one thing in the organization that needs to be changed / improved.

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