TOC For Asset Management the 5 focussing steps

As TOC experts we have spent the last 30 years in various environments, Production Supply chain , Project and Multi project organizations.

TOC claims that a system is only as strong as its weakest link ; therefore one of the guiding principals we use in TOC are the 5 focussing steps.

1 Identify the systems constraint

2 Exploit the constraint

3 Subordinate everything else to the above decision

4 Elevate the constraint

5 Back to step 1

Recently we implemented TOC asset management in a capital-intensive environment. For practical implementation supported by ERP software, give us a call . To start lets share the 5 steps for asset management organisations.

Step 0 Define the systems Goal.

The system is in this case an installation, an infrastructure, an asset or a plant.

The goal of asset management is to guarantee that the system is and stays safe, does not hurt the environment and continues to generate output (Production) now and in the future at minimal expense.

Step 1 What is the system constraint?

What limits the “system” to achieve “more” of this goal?

What is the one thing that “if you had more of it” would enable to do much better?

In most cases this is not straight forward  but for asset management  we are lucky: Our thesis is that the systems constraint is ‘skilled resources’ .

Engineers,  skilled collaborators that have the time to (proactively) maintain the installation are the constraint of the maintenance organization.

These profiles are (almost) impossible to find and even if we could find these scarce resources, it takes time for them to be up and running.

Step 2 Exploit the system constraint.

In this context exploiting skilled engineers does not sound right[1]. I suggest in this case we reformulate step 2: Make the best use of our limited resources.

In order to make this more practical, just think about our top engineers booking travel tickets (or more corona proof making photo copies)  or our most skilled team leaders or workers cleaning the floor …

Step 3 Subordinate everything else to the above decision.

This is the less intuitive and most difficult step in the process, other functions have to be coherent with the previous decision.

Improving non constraints will not generate more ‘goal units’.

In subordination think about the following actions:

Do we allow ‘unclear’ or ‘uncomplete’ requests to enter the system, do we check and validate that we always have a ‘full kit’ before involving the ‘specialist’.[2]

Do we allow more work to enter the system than the ‘constraint’ can handle, leading to multi tasking and loss of constraint capacity or do we have an official gating mechanism staggering the release to guarantee flow?

Step 4 Elevate

Once we have sufficient “skilled collaborators” this is not the constraint any longer.

In this case we can assume that “not having all the skilled resources we need” will last for some more years.

If the situation changes we need to think again ….But for now it allows us to do structural work in phases 2 and 3 …

Step 5 Back to 1

The good news is that these 5 steps sound logical to most managers. The bad news is that even applying them ‘from time to time’ does not yield results. In order to be successful we need to go all the way.

To help you with practical implementation supported by ERP software, give us a call .

[1] .  I remember when we speculated  Eli Goldratt was the constraint for the growth of TOC he stated .. step 2 is exploit the constraint not break it.

[2] An interesting exercise is to use process mining to identify loops in the process .