Haystack Syndrome 2

Tuesday, September 4th, 2007

In The Haystack Syndrome, which I was just discussing, Goldratt jokes about an enthusiastic process engineer who races to his boss to explain that he has a new way — for just a few thousand dollars — to produce a part not in 20 minutes, but in 21.

This “disprovement” certainly won’t earn him accolades; by the measurements used at the plant, he has reduced efficiency by five percent.

But what he has really done is “elevate the constraint” on the system. He has found a way to offload some of the work on the bottleneck, Resource B, to the “less efficient” Resource C, which has excess capacity, because it’s not the bottleneck:

Under the new system, a part that used to take 15 minutes at Resource B and 5 minutes at Resource C now takes 14 minutes at Resource B and 7 minutes at Resource C — one more minute, but one less minute where it counts.

A plant that has been producing 100 of Product P and 30 of Product Q can now produce the same 100 of Product P — that’s all the market demands — and 55 of Product Q.

Not bad for reducing effiency.

Leave a Reply