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Strategy is the Ongoing Alignment of Two Basic Meta-Processes

The objective of any organization is to implement an effective and lasting process of ongoing improvement. Unfortunately, after the initial thrust most improvement efforts stagnate. An effective long term strategy ensures that the rate of improvement continues to grow over time. Application of constraints thinking can also be applied to strategy through the two basic meta-process common to most organizations:

Demand Fulfillment

Success in this arena is reflected in internal performance that drives high levels of customer service through reliable product (or service) availability. This requires secure logistical capability and operational excellence, with links of the supply chain, such as operations, distribution, and engineering managed in a way that satisfies the needs of the market.

Demand Creation

If you are going to maintain a logistical infrastucture, you need smoewhere to send its outputs. Demand creation focuses on what is required to grow markets and attract customers. Development of and effective customer acquisition process results in the ability of the orgainization to transform itself from order taker to order maker. This is done by leveraging logistical/operational capabilities through identifying desirable markets and structuring “unrefusable offerings” to those markets.

A strategy for sustainable success involves managing the interactions between these two processes. The idea of the constraint provides a way of aligning today's actions that must be taken at a local level with the long term goals of the (global) organization. Managing the location and nature of the constraint in these processes and our responses to them is key to effective strategy.

The animated gif presentation found below describes how such a constraint-based long-term strategy would be expected to work. By efectively executing the actions described in the yellow boxes, the desired effects in the white boxes reflect the expected results.

(If you are viewing this page on a laptop or on a small monitor, you may wish to set your browser view to "full screen" mode in order to appreciate the animation found below. The long view that it illustrates is further discussed here.)

A system...is anything that takes its integrity and form from the ongoing interactions of its parts...Systems are defined by the fact that their elements have a common purpose and behave in a common way, precisely because they are interrelated toward that purpose. - Peter Senge

Related links:

TOC and Six Sigma - Better together.

Clear Focus Planning - A Leadership Workshop for Building Your Future - A fast and effective process to align your efforts for success.

Unconstrained Thinking - If You Fail to Plan... - You know what you can plan on.

Avoiding Disappointment in Improvement Programs - Don't do programs! Turn your management efforts into a process for aligned, on-going improvement.

Unconstrained Thinking - A Route to Roots - A short piece on getting to root causes and core problems for complex systems (aka organizations)

Small Business Strategy - Think you're too small for strategic planning and structured problem solving? Think again!

Unconstrained Thinking - Strategy for the Masses - It's easier, and can be quicker, than you might think.

Focus on the Big Rocks First

The Strategic Constraint and (local) Department Goals

TQM and Constraints

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