A Guide to Implementing the Theory of Constraints (TOC)





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PowerPoint Presentations

There are currently 7 PowerPoint presentations available online to anyone, the remainder are for client use only.

Public Files

Client-Only Files

1 Values, Beliefs, & Industrialization

1 Excel Production Dice Simulator

2 Logical Types, Clouds, & Fantasies

2 Distinguishing Know-How & Know-Why

3 Reformulated Lieutenant’s Cloud

3 Two-day Fundamental Systems Course

4 A Suite of Systemic Clouds


5 Drum Buffer Rope & Systemic Production

6 Throughput Accounting/Systemic Accounting

7 Thinking Processes For Strategy




   Excel Balanced Line Dice Simulator


The first two public presentations deal with fundamental issues of modern organizations (industrial or service).  The third is a reformulation of the lieutenant’s cloud, it builds upon knowledge in the second presentation and offers additional hints at constructing systemic clouds.  The fourth is a short collection of common needs that are found over a wide range of systemic clouds.  The fifth presentation is about the fundamentals of systemic production.  The sixth follows on from production.  Now that we can produce things with excellent DIFOT, we ought to make sure we are also making money as well.  The seventh presentation was found in draw where it had languished for some time and deserves a wider audience.

Each presentation is explained in more detail below and the link takes you to a starting page from where you can download the presentation.

There is a fundamental paradox that underlies the Theory of Constraints.  It is not the dilemma of global vs local; but rather the underlying drivers of that dilemma.  It has to do with our own psychology, and our own experience.  To understand this paradox is to understand how to implement Theory of Constraints.  After all, a paradox can only exist because the logic of what to do is different from what we expect.  This paradox has not been articulated before.  It is presented here in the form of a self-pacing PowerPoint presentation.  It draws upon the neurological levels model of Robert Dilts and Gregory Bateson, with a liberal helping from a past Christmas edition of the Economist.  You can download this presentation from here; Values, Beliefs, & Industrialization.

Once you have viewed the first PowerPoint, I hope that you will better understand why common sense isn’t apparently so common.  However, there is more that can be built into this understanding.  Here is a follow-up PowerPoint; Logical Types, Clouds, and Fantasies.  Here I seek to show that it is an error of logical typing that causes the fundamental paradox that we observed above.  This draws upon the work of Gregory Bateson on logical levels, Elliott Jaques on hierarchy, and Jerry Harvey on negative fantasies.  There is a very nice commonality between each of these approaches.

The lieutenant’s cloud is an approach that seeks to identify and break misalignments between responsibility and authority.  Oftentimes subordinates are given responsibility but not always the requisite authority to carry out their roles.  When we fail to address this misalignment we create the conditions necessary for continual fire-fighting, hence the other name of this cloud – the fire fighting cloud.  The lieutenants cloud/fire fighting cloud is, however, simply another variant of a system cloud.

The lieutenants cloud/fire fighting cloud is a system cloud upside-down.  In order to see and understand its systemic applicability, we need a Reformulated Lieutenant’s Cloud that is essentially downside-up.  All the knowledge that is necessary to understand this is presented in the earlier two PowerPoints.  I think that there is a great deal of utility in understanding the Reformulated Lieutenant’s Cloud.  Paradoxically, if you find that you are continually using it, then systemic solutions are evading you.

A short and sweet presentation follows in A Suite of Systemic Clouds.  There are a number of common pairs of needs (or B-C’s in the jargon) that are useful in understanding what flavor of systemic cloud you are dealing with.

A systemic cloud is, as I see it, a kind of lock that sits between where we are now and where we want to be in the future, all we need is the key.  We can open the lock on a case-by-case basis by examining the erroneous assumptions in the cloud or we can open it once-and-for-all by supplying a key.  Here is one of the keys; Drum Buffer Rope & Systemic Production.  This is a big file, about 7 Mb, due to my use of a base diagram with a large number of elements in it.  I hope that it is worth your patience in downloading.

If we are going to use a systemic approach such as drum-buffer-rope, or critical chain, or replenishment and distribution, then we ought also to use a systemic approach to management accounting.  Anything less is fraught with danger.  Throughput Accounting – Systemic Accounting introduces the key elements of this approach and shows how any process can be improved just by looking afresh at the management accounting using this approach.

Found languishing in a drawer, this presentation ought to be somewhere where more people can see it.  It is a graphical summary of Bill Dettmer’s approach to strategy formulation as put forward in his book Strategic Navigation.  Take a look, even if your interest isn’t strategy, it will show you the interrelationships that exist between the various Thinking Process tools.  Thinking Processes For Strategy


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