This chapter examines the application of the Theory of Constraints (TOC) to production environments.
We begin by developing the Drum-Buffer-Rope (DBR) system which emerges through the application of the five focusing steps of TOC to production environments. The basic elements of DBR are presented along with a detailed example which shows the entire process.
We then review the Buffer Management (BM) methodology which is a key element in the use of DBR for managing operations. BM provides the control mechanism to DBR as well as valuable input for driving an improvement process.
We then present the TOC methodology for the classification of complex production operations. Based on the flow characteristics of the production process this method results in four major types of production operations – V, A, T and I.
We close the chapter with a discussion of the classification criteria, the key attributes and operational issues of each type of plant and the guidelines for the application of DBR in each production type.
James F. Cox III, Ph.D, CFPIM, CIRM, holds TOCICO certifications in all disciplines. He is a Jonah's Jonah, Professor Emeritus, and was the Robert O. Arnold Professor of Business in the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia. Dr. Cox has written three books on TOC.
John Schleier holds TOCICO certifications in all disciplines. He was President and Chief Operating Officer of the Mortgage Services Division of Alltel, Inc., Executive Vice President of Computer Power, Inc., and Director of Office Systems and Data Delivery for IBM.
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