Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Toilet Paper Roll--Does It Change Itself? (A Theory of Constraints Lesson)

The answer is no, not yet, at least that I have seen. So we need a process ...

I have a process for making sure that we are never without toilet paper in any bathroom. Yes, it is a process. Toilet paper rolls do not just magically appear under the sink.

I use a 2 bin system.

Whenever the last roll is taken from the cabinet underneath the sink, leaving just the roll on the holder – that is the signal to retrieve 2 more rolls from storage and put them in the cabinet.

And, here’s the really complicated part. When you remove the last rolls from storage, this is the indication to put “toilet paper” on the shopping list. And the shopping list, of course, is in its standard location with pen for easy, quick additions. (So don’t move it or take the pen.)

Now this process is simple and elegant BUT despite that, it still does not work 100% of the time.

So what does a Theory of Constraints expert do when a process is not working? We collect the reasons why. We then use the biggest occurrence of why’s to improve the process.

The most frequently occurring why I’ve collected so far is “I’m too busy to go replenish toilet paper at the time I pull the last from under the sink.”

So to continue down the process improvement path we have to figure out how to deal with this biggest disruption to our toilet paper supply. 

What are your ideas?

This is an example of a Theory of Constraints POOGI process, a Process of On-Going Improvement. And it is a critical part of any system. We use it in the Velocity Scheduling System (our scheduling program for custom job shops).

How can you apply this to one of YOUR processes?

Share your comments, feedback and suggestions by leaving a comment on this post.  Really -- I want to hear from you!

Wishing you success,
Dr Lisa
President, Science of Business

P.S. FOR CUSTOM JOB SHOPS ONLY: The next Velocity Scheduling System Coaching Program for custom job shop scheduling and machine shop scheduling starts on Monday June 6.

P.P.S. Ready to increase sales? Need a Mafia Offer? The ON-LINE Mafia Offer Boot Camp is open for registration!

2011 Copyright, Science of Business.  All rights reserved.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Your “To-Do” List May BE the Problem! A Theory of Constraints Lesson

You know that song by Sugarland called All I Want To Do? There’s a line in it that goes something like “I got better things to do than my to do list anyway …”

Every time I hear that I just think – then you’re not doing your “to do” list correctly!

I know, I know – I’m weird. But, I think it’s true for a lot of people.

The traditional way of making a “to do” list is to brain storm all the things we need to do. But that is NOT how we do it in Theory of Constraints (TOC).

To make sure that you don’t have better things to do than your “to do” list, don’t use the brain storming method. Instead, understand what you’re trying to achieve and ask “What’s keeping me from that?”

List each obstacle to your goal, the result you’re after or to completing your project (depending on your situation). What it takes to overcome each of those obstacles is what you want on your “to do” list. That way you are only doing what needs to be done to get the result and aren’t getting side tracked by doing (or procrastinating doing) what really isn’t necessary to get the result.

In this way you will end up with a list of things “to do” that, when completed, should be getting you closer to your goal or whatever it was that you’re trying to achieve.

Too often when we brain storm, we put “to dos” that really are NOT needed to get the result we are after. This just delays the result.

Can you think of a time you brain stormed a “to do” item that really didn’t need to be done? Let me know by leaving a comment on this post.

Wishing you success.,

Dr Lisa
President, Science of Business

P.S. For those of you keeping score at home this is part of the Theory of Constraints Thinking Processes and it's how we build a Prerequisite Tree (PrT).