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Planning Vs. Execution - Part 2 of 5

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PRESENTING THE CONFLICT

 

The theory of constraints (TOC) has a way of present­ing a problem, describing it as a conflict between two contradictory actions, each of them truly required for the same objective.

 

On the one hand, you wish to plan carefully and in detail all the actions required for effective synchroniza­tion. In our complex systems, we absolutely need that kind of synchronization to achieve the optimum per­formance of the organization as a whole.

On the other hand, our organizations are impacted by a high level of uncertainty. Some call that "Murphy." The immediate result of Murphy's activity is that we can­not strictly follow the planning. So, in order to deal with the uncertain nature of our environment, we need to override the schedule.

The life of most people in operations can be described by that conflict—we should plan and, at the same time, we should override the plan.

Nowadays we have APS (advanced production and scheduling) systems and powerful computers, meaning we can now replan in no time. That means that when­ever Murphy affects us, we can replace the old planning, which does not take into consideration the specific Murphy activity and generate a new optimal plan that does take into account the disrupting event.

In this way APS eliminates the distinction between planning and execution.

 

But this new technological capability generates haz­ards of its own. We can now present a somewhat differ­ent conflict that characterizes the decision-maker at the execution stage.

 

Again, the conflict is stated in the D and D' boxes. On the one hand, you wish to keep to the original sched­ule as closely as possible in order to preserve the under­lying objectives (like the due dates and expense level) thus keeping the system safe and stable and, most im­portantly, maintaining predictable performance. Is it important to have predictable performance? Certainly, you need it when you make any commitment to your customers. You wish to be certain you can meet the com­mitments once you made them. You don't want to be forced to change your commitments whenever Murphy is around. It is bad for the lasting reputation and suc­cess of your business.

 

Just to illustrate the point, annual budgeting is a spe­cial type of planning. Would you like to change the an­nual budget every time an unexpected event occurs?

On the other hand, in order to truly perform best, you must update the planning. Well, as this happens quite often, and considering the complex synchronization that is required, substantial changes are expected. The new planning is better equipped to extract the most from the system. And we like that to support the ultimate objec­tive, stated in box A, to drive the organization to success.

Continued

Part 1  Part 2   Part 3  Part 4  Part 5


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