I'm a regular follower on quite a few LinkedIn sites, but the TLS site owned and operated by Philip Marris is my favorite one of all. The discussions on this site are always lively and thought-provoking. Yesterday one of the group members asked the question as to whether the other readers believed that implementing TOC from the bottom up was actually possible. So today, I want to give you my thoughts on this question.
Obviously, the most effective way to implement any initiative is to first, have the support and backing of leadership in any organization. Having said this, I always start at the top, but if I see reluctance on the part of leadership, I don't stop with them. For those of you who have read my posts or even Epiphanized, you know that my approach is actually a bottom-up one, meaning that the most progress is gained by actively listening to the true subject matter experts....the people building the product or delivering the service. But again, I really do want the involvement from leadership, primarily to dismantle any barriers that the SME's run into.
I have found that the most effective way to jump start an improvement initiative, is to start with the SME's, build momentum and then have the SME's present what they've done to leadership. One of the shazam moments for leadership always seems to be one of surprise that the SME's knew, all along just what to do to positively impact the bottom line, if leadership would have only listened with positive ears to what they had to say. I have found this to be very effective in gaining the support and involvement of leadership.
One of the most important barriers to overcome is the "death grip" that traditional cost accounting has on most companies. One of the most devastating impacts on an improvement initiative is for the cost accountants to move in, take a look at the improvements made and then begin the infuse their cost-cutting methods. Manpower efficiency and/or equipment utilization are two of the most devastating performance metrics that exist today. So get rid of them, except in the constraint. If you don't, then my advice is to never begin your improvement initiative.