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THEORY OF CONSTRAINTS. ACCT 7320 October 8, 2014. What is the “Theory of Constraints” all about?. Developed by Eliyahu Goldratt in the mid 1980’s with his business novel The Goal . Has a close relationship with other modern techniques (more about this later): Just-in-Time

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theory of constraints


ACCT 7320

October 8, 2014

what is the theory of constraints all about
What is the “Theory of Constraints” all about?
  • Developed by Eliyahu Goldratt in the mid 1980’s with his business novel The Goal.
  • Has a close relationship with other modern techniques (more about this later):
    • Just-in-Time
    • Manufacturing Resource Planning
    • Quality Management, Six-Sigma
    • Activity-Based Management.
goldratt s biography
Goldratt’s Biography
  • Born in Israel in the late 1940’s.
  • Bachelor’s degree in Physics.
  • Masters and Doctorate degrees in Philosophy.
  • Founder of a production scheduling software company.
  • Has helped many companies such as: GM, RCA, Kodak, Westinghouse, Philips, etc.
  • Wrote several books:
    • The Goal.
    • The Race.
    • What is this thing called TOC?
    • Critical Chain.
eliyahu goldratt s the goal
Eliyahu Goldratt’s “The Goal”
  • Brief overview:
    • Midsize company having difficulty shipping products on time.
    • Managed by a plant manager desperate to turn things around.
    • With the help of a Physicist, the plant manager is able to locate the bottleneck and find a solution.
  • Symptoms noted in the book:
    • Obsolete inventory.
    • Low inventory turnover and high amount of inventory in storage.
    • Idle workers or machines.
    • Machine breakdown.
    • A large amount of scrap pieces.
    • A large amount of retooling and rework needed.
what is the theory of constraints all about1
What is the “Theory of Constraints” all about?
  • Looks at the entire supply chain and synchronizes the chain to achieve ultimate performance.
  • Based on two assumptions:
    • Every organization has a set of processes working together to achieve a common goal.
    • Every process has a [single] constraint that limits it from higher performance.
  • Typical constraints: Time, Capacity, Materials, Human Resources, Capital Resources, Financial Resources
implementation of the theory of constraints
Implementation of the Theory of Constraints
  • Step 1: Identify the bottleneck(s)/constraint(s).
    • Look at your production plan as a whole and determine which resource is preventing you from achieving better performance.
    • Look at the cause (old machine, untrained employee, long setup times, machine breakdown).
    • According to Goldratt, an entire plant’s throughput (productivity) is limited to the bottleneck’s productivity.
  • Step 2: Exploit the bottleneck(s).
    • All process efforts should be focused primarily on the constraint to maximize throughput.
implementation of the theory of constraints1
Implementation of the Theory of Constraints
  • Step 3: Subordinate everything else to the bottleneck(s).
    • According to the theory, other activities must be subordinated to the actions taken to fix the bottleneck in hand.
  • Step 4: Elevate the bottleneck(s).
    • At this point, management has to decide whether to purchase additional capacity (new machine, better trained employee)
  • Step 5: Evaluate whether solving the current bottleneck(s) created other bottlenecks. Do not allow inertia.
    • The production plant has to be monitored carefully as to whether other constraints now exist and to monitor the progress of the old constraint.
common terms in theory of constraints
Common Terms in Theory of Constraints
  • Throughput: processing another unit of output
    • Emphasis on Increasing Sales, Productivity, and Market Demand
  • Throughput contribution: Sales-(Materialand any other directly variable Costs).
  • Bottlenecks: limited resource that prevent the supply chain from achieving ultimate performance
benefits of implementing toc
Benefits of implementing TOC
  • Reduction in inventory.
  • More productive machines.
  • Ability to meet shorter lead times.
  • More flexible.
  • Better customer service.
  • Better product mix.
  • Better customer relationship.
shortfalls or criticisms of toc
Shortfalls or Criticisms of TOC
  • Focus on short-term goals as opposed to long-term with ABC.
  • Main emphasis on increasing sales and volume, not quality.
  • May lose overall picture when only looking at specific constraints.
  • Focuses on the push approach as opposed to pull approach of JIT.
lean accounting
Lean Accounting

Frances A. Kennedy & Sally K. Widener, “A control framework: Insights from evidence on lean accounting.” Management Accounting Research 19 (2008) 301–323

  • A practitioner-based movement
  • Not much in accounting textbooks and courses
  • Is it a fad?
  • According to one recent research article*…
    • Lean manufacturing is a complete business system that combines advanced manufacturing techniques including
      • Just-in-time (JIT)
      • Total quality management (TQM
      • Total preventative maintenance (TPM).
    • Lean accounting seeks to
      • Reduce steps in transaction processing
      • Eliminate standard costs in favor of actual costs
      • Discontinue cost allocations
    • Lean control practices re-focus the performance measurement system
      • Emphasize social and behavioral controls.
another article
Another article…

July 2004 article

    • eliminating waste, producing only to meet customer demand.
    • typically require a company to move from a functional division of work to work cells where all of the processes needed to manufacture a product or line occur next to each other in sequence.
    • Accountants have begun to realize many traditional cost accounting practices no longer make sense.
    • A growing number of businesses are implementing lean accounting concepts to better capture the performance of their operations.
  • ADHERENTS PROPOSE A NEW WAY of looking at the numbers.
    • Rather than categorizing costs by department, organize them by value stream, which includes everything done to create value for a customer the company can reasonably associate with a product or product line.
key points about la cont d
Key points about LA, cont’d.
    • Difficulty accurately pricing products and determining profitability when they analyze performance by value stream rather than by individual product.
    • The approach also may emphasize speed and quality almost to the exclusion of cost concerns.
  • SOLUTION MAY BE to supplement the company’s standard financial statements with additional information
    • Report improvements from efficiency
    • Be aware of GAAP requirements