Illumiti is a leading niche SAP systems integration and management consulting company. We work closely with our customers to realize their vision by leveraging technology, people and leading business practices. We have developed a reputation for delivering successful customer projects faster, smarter and leaner.
Recently we wrote about getting the best value out of your SAP implementation by focusing on what matters most. This isn’t the only framework that we apply to that thinking - we also have Certified TOC Consultants who can help you focus on these key challenges within your business.
What is TOC? This is short for Theory of Constraints, a relatively new management model, usually applied to running and improving an organization. While this may sound like a complex scientific term, at its core it is actually deceptively simple. If you have ever heard the common saying “a chain is no stronger than its weakest link” then you have already grasped the basic idea behind TOC. In a nutshell, your business could be vulnerable if the weakest part is not identified. This weak part can cause a domino effect that may eventually lead to a breakdown of your core processes if it is not found and fixed early enough.
TOC, first developed by Israeli physicist Dr. Eliyahu M. Goldratt, is now being taught in hundreds of business schools and used in thousands of corporations. According to Dr. Goldratt’s philosophy, any manageable system fails to achieve some of its goals because of a very small number of limitations (constraints). The TOC process seeks to identify these constraints, and then restructure the rest of the organization around them.
So what is holding back your business? What can you change to make things run smoother and more efficiently, and achieve greater success? Those constraints that are specific to your business are what you need to identify and address.
TOC looks at what you need to optimize within the entire throughput of the business -- not at locally optimizing each business function. Local optimization is tempting, because it is easier, but what really makes sense for the business is removing the constraints on the overall flow. That is where you will see the biggest impact on your business.
So, for example, just because you have an opportunity to improve customer service by implementing something in the CRM environment, if that’s not what your particular constraint is, you don’t have to make it optimal – you can leave it sub-optimal and optimize that piece that is actually putting limitations on your business.
Perhaps your constraint is around product delivery. If you focus on addressing this issue, your overall business performance will improve significantly, rather than focusing on something that will not improve your overall business throughput.
As a principle, we try to keep everything we can in a standard form and stick to best practices whenever possible. An exception to this is when it’s a core process of your business, and you need to do something custom in order to differentiate. In this case, there is a clear reason to deviate. The problem is, a lot of companies want to do things a certain way simply because that’s the way they’ve always done them. If you don’t have a clear reason for deviating, it dilutes your management’s attention, it dilutes the capability to address the core in the best way possible, and it just costs a lot more in time, energy, money, maintenance and overall cost of ownership.
We believe that one key to keeping costs reasonable in your implementation is to ensure that you use those pre-packaged best practices wisely, wherever you can, and to have the discipline on the project manager and project sponsor side to be able to encourage and enforce that. By offering pre-packaging of certain intellectual property, we can help you make your implementations shorter and more effective.
About Dror Orbach
Dror is an international high-tech executive with more than 30 years of experience in management consulting, software development, IT architecture, marketing and product management. Dror is the Chief Operating Officer for Illumiti (www.illumiti.com) a systems integration and management consulting company with offices in Canada, the U.S. and Switzerland, serving customers globally. Illumiti is an SAP gold channel partner and SAP's Business All-in-One Partner of the Year, Canada for both 2010 and 2011.