Theory of Constraints: Concepts and Principles

The Theory of Constraints: Concepts and Principles Workshop Series is comprised of six 4-hour workshops that can be tailored to any organization’s specific needs. Below is a brief description of each of the six modules. For more information on planning a Theory of Constraints: Concepts and Principles Workshop Series, please contact APICS Baltimore’s Vice President of Education, Todd Sabin .

Constraints Management Overview

This workshop introduces participants to the basics of constraints management: the business system and various types of transformation processes (production, projects, and supply chain); the goal of business system; definitions of CM terms; and the types of constraints. Theory of constraints performance measurements and simple drum-buffer-rope concepts are introduced through Socratic exercises and games.

Critical Chain Project Management

This workshop introduces participants to the basics of managing a single project using constraints management. The four-step process of scheduling a project using critical chain scheduling is illustrated and compared to traditional project management. Several major problems existing in project environments are presented, and solutions are illustrated using games and exercises. The concepts of strategic buffering, project decision support systems, and multi-project scheduling using critical chains are introduced.

Performance Measures

This workshop introduces participants to the problems using traditional performance measurements. Cost-world measurements of managerial accounting versus the throughput-world measurements of theory of constraints are illustrated through the use of the evaporating cloud technique of TOC thinking processes. A case study on production batch sizing is used to illustrate the focus of cost-world thinking versus the focus of throughput-world thinking. The relationships of drum-buffer-rope scheduling and buffer management to each step of the five-focusing steps are introduced.

Production Management

This workshop introduces participants to the production paradigm of constraints management. Simple games comparing balanced capacity and constraints-based capacity production environments are used to illustrate the impact of statistical fluctuation and dependent events on line throughput. The control points in a production environment are described, and how to plan and control these points using the drum-buffer-rope scheduling methodology is illustrated. VAT analysis and buffer management are described.

Supply Chain Management

This workshop introduces participants to the basics of managing a supply chain using constraints management. Topics include the process of identifying the constraints (internal and external) of supply chain, chain performance and flow concepts, the core problems and basic solutions for different links in a supply chain, and the dilemma of supply chains—holding too much inventory versus too little inventory.

Thinking Processes

This workshop introduces participants to the theory of constraints thinking processes. These powerful logic tools provide skills to answer the three basic questions facing a manager today—what to change, what to change to, and how to create the change without creating resistance. An in-depth discussion of the use of the evaporating cloud technique is presented. This tool is used to solve problems by uncovering and challenging assumptions related to the way we view the problem.

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