I’m a big fan of Eliyahu M. Goldratt, especially his Theory of Constraints (TOC) and his work on bottleneck management. Goldratt revolutionized the manufacturing world with a critical insight into the overall operation of the plant floor. Before Goldratt, local efficiency was the key metric used to measure performance on the shop floor.
Imagine that a factory had 10 workstations, each with a specific job in the manufacturing process. At one time, management believed that if each machine was running close to 100 percent of the time then the factory would be as efficient as possible. However, Goldratt figured out that the factory as a whole could only run as fast as its slowest machine. By running machines at disparate production rates to full capacity, the manufacturer was, in fact, just creating work in process (WIP) and jamming up the factory shop floor.