E.M. Goldratt The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement Captured by Plamen T. 5 ABOUT THE AUTHOR Dr. Eli Goldratt's book, The Goal has been a best. 1-Page Book Summary of The Goal. Productivity is defined as bringing you closer to your goal. The Goal is a novel about a manufacturing plant manager's quest to Since any organization has one goal, improvements must directly.

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The Goal Summary by Eliyahu M. Goldratt explains how you can fully Although this is a book of fiction, it has a simple narrative, which pulls. Editorial Reviews. Review. "A survey of the reading habits of managers found that though they download books by the likes of Tom Peters for display purposes, the. PDF | On Dec 15, , Philip G. Moscoso and others published What Is Your Goal? As he wrote in his book, “If you're like nearly everybody.

Likewise, activities that do not bring you closer to making money are not productive. Beware of defining subgoals that do not really drive toward the Goal, like production efficiency, team size, money raised, etc. Organizations can be measured by 3 metrics: Throughput, Inventory, and Operational Expense. Throughput: the rate at which the system generates money through sales Inventory: all the money system has invested in downloading things it intends to sell Operational expense: all the money the system spends to turn inventory into throughput Ideally, your activities improve all three at once.

Many companies focus primarily on decreasing operating expense, which can lead to unproductive behaviors that stifle throughput. Instead, switch your mindset to increasing throughput.

The bottleneck of the system determines the throughput of the entire system. By definition, the throughput of the system cannot be greater than the capacity of the bottleneck.

Where is the weakest link in the chain? This means the value of an hour lost at the bottleneck is equal to the value of the entire system. Constraints can be equipment, people, or policies. Increase capacity at the bottleneck through a variety of interventions. Prevent idling by running the bottleneck all the time, ensuring inventory upstream of the bottleneck, and preventing back-ups at the bottleneck.

Improve quality of upstream work to prevent bottleneck working on poor-quality work. Outsource bottleneck capacity to outside the organization. If both the bottleneck and non-bottleneck go full steam ahead, the non-bottleneck will produce surplus inventory, which adds cost and causes traffic jams. To coordinate this, use Drum-Buffer-Rope Drum: pace non-bottlenecks production rates with bottleneck rates Buffer: provide enough buffer inventory upstream of bottleneck to prevent idling Rope: allow up to a threshold max surplus inventory, after which the non-bottleneck is idled Productivity is bringing a company closer to its goal.

Every action that brings a company closer to its goal is productive. Every action that does not bring a company closer to its goal is not productive. Defining the Goal is critical. Without money, the company is dead.

Do not deceive yourself into picking a subgoal — like decreasing cost per part, employing good people, manufacturing efficiency, product creation, quality, satisfaction, cutting-edge technology, market share. None of this matters unless it meets the Goal.

Be wary of separate departments overoptimizing their subgoals without meeting the main goals. Like downloading being more cost-effective and renting warehouses to store excess inventory.

If you improve efficiency at one step without increasing overall output, you are not being more productive — you might even be causing an excess inventory and increasing cost per good sold.

Eg Imagine if you added a robot at one part of the assembly line. To justify the cost, you drive it at max capacity, which requires feeding it a lot of upstream supply, and also causes downstream accumulation. The cost-per-part at that step is high, but the system overall suffers.

Net profit the more positive the better ROI relative, to tell what the base is Cashflow to make sure company stays alive How do you convert these highest-level metrics to ones that are more actionable day-to-day? Throughput: the rate at which the system generates money through sales Inventory: the money the system has invested in downloading things to sell Ie the money that is currently stuck in the system Any investment that you can sell is inventory.

Ideally, you should try to improve all three at once. Be wary of a change that affects only one of these metrics — there may be second-order effects that backfire. Eg reducing labor to reduce operational expense may decrease throughput.

If you make a subpart more efficient, you do not raise your competitive advantage if it does not increase output or reduce cost. The real metrics to care about are total products produced and cost per product; increasing efficiency at one step may aggravate the other steps. Subscribe to get my next book summary in your email. Email address: Leave this field empty if you're human: Like this summary?

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You'll love my new book summary product Shortform. Even better, it helps you remember what you read, so you can make your life better. What's special about Shortform: The world's highest quality book summaries - comprehensive, concise, and everything you need to know Interactive exercises that teach you to apply what you've learned Discussion communities - get the best advice from other readers Get the world's best book summaries now Fallacy of Average Production Rates In manufacturing, a balanced plant tries to match average capacity of every resource exactly with market demand.

Any resource beyond the average rate is seen as extraneous, so it is either put to use or eliminated. However, two interconnected concepts make the balanced plant backfire, thus decreasing throughput, increasing inventory, and increasing carrying costs: Dependent events — one part of the chain depends on the upstream part.

Statistical fluctuations — many factors cannot be predicted precisely Even at an average steady state rate, there are fluctuations in production. Someone may produce 2 widgets per minute on average, but at times he produces 2. Larger events — machines may break down; workers many get sick; inclement weather may arrive Fluctuations happen regularly at each part in the chain. However, each downstream part can only catch up to the extent that the upstream part permits it to.

Negative fluctuations are unconstrained; positive fluctuations are constrained. Over time, this causes a lower than expected average throughput. Each hour, parts from one tool are moved to the next one. For the system to make up time for every negative fluctuation, both X and Y need to work at above-average rates in synchrony.

In a complex chain with many parts, this is difficult. As explained in the next sections of this The Goal book summary, the solution is to balance flow or throughput with demand, not average capacity.

The way to do this is a drum-buffer-rope system, where the bottleneck determines the throughput and inventory of the entire system. Imagine a troop of 10 boys hiking single-file on a narrow trail in the woods. The leader of the pack sets a comfortable pace that everyone on average should be able to meet. Thus, the speed of each boy is constrained by the boy in front. Analogy to manufacturing: the first boy is the most upstream step; the last boy measures throughput; the distance in between is inventory.

The 4th boy runs into the 3rd boy and has to match his slower pace. Even if he could walk faster, the 4th boy is constrained. The 3rd boy gets back up and hurries to make up the distance to the 2nd boy.

Inevitably, even though all the boys are at the same average rate, the gap between first and last boy increases. The fluctuations are accumulating because the ability to go faster than average is restricted by your upstream step. This gap can be closed only if the last boy — and all the boys in front of him — all move much faster than the first boy. All boys can now move unconstrained and operate at their individual peak efficiencies.

However, the distance between the first boy and the last boy will incrementally grow, unbounded. This is what happens when you concentrate on single-step efficiency without focusing on throughput.

All steps are working at full steam, but inventory progressively increases. However, there are a few key advantages: The bottleneck is now quite obvious. Inventory — the distance between the first and last boy — is not dramatically reduced.

All boys are producing just enough to match the pace of the first slow boy. Letting both X and Y run continuously will build up inventory in front of bottleneck X. This is totally fine, even if Y is idling at times. Working Y out of pace with X produces inventory in front of assembly.

The constraint for product A is bottleneck X, by definition. The constraint for product B is not Y — it is market demand. In all these blocks, Y never determines throughput for the system. Throughput instead is determined by bottleneck X, or market demand. An hour lost at the bottleneck causes a loss in total throughput equal to the hourly capacity of that bottleneck. If the total throughput is a thousand dollars per hour, then the bottleneck is processing at a thousand dollars per hour, even if the literal operational costs or the parts going through it cost much less.

In other words, a loss in the bottleneck means a loss to the entire operation, and should be viewed with such gravity Other losses in effective throughput are also similarly costly. For example, feeding low-quality parts through the bottleneck will cause rejection later, leading to effectively lower throughput. While time lost from the bottleneck can be made up for by hurrying non-bottlenecks, any extra effort here typically adds to operational expense eg overtime pay. Ideally, the bottleneck is simply maintained at peak capacity.

If in the previous steps a constraint has been broken, go back to step 1, but do not allow inertia to cause a system constraint. Different constraints can require very different optimizations. Overcorrection can be counterproductive, eg obsessing about preventing the bottleneck from idling causes it to produce surplus goods above market demand. And you can't figure out why they're not affected the way you are. About 6: As I come through the door, Julie looks up from the television.

The thick, straight brown hair she used to have is now a mass of frizzed ringlets. And it isn't all the same color anymore. It's lighter in places. She has big, pretty blue eyes; they don't need to be "set off in my opinion, but what do I know? We'll go out to dinner and you can forget all about it. I've got to eat something fast and get back to the plant. I notice she's wearing a new outfit. One of my most expen- sive machines went down this morning, and I need it to process a part for a rush order.

I've got to stay on top of this one," I tell her. There is nothing to eat, because I thought we were going out," she says.

She's right. It was part of the promises when we were making up after the fight. Look, maybe we can go out for an hour or so," I tell her. He's talking about closing the plant. Did it brighten? After a second of disbelief, I say, "No, I didn't talk to him about my next job.

My job is here—in this town, at this plant. I feel myself glaring at her. I say, "You really want to get out of this town as fast as you can, don't you? I don't have the same sentimen- tal feelings for it you do," she says. A mere six months? There's nobody except you to talk to, and you're not home most of the time. Your family is very nice, but after an hour with your mother, I go crazy. So it doesn't feel like six months to me. I didn't ask to come here. The company sent me to do a job.

It was the luck of the draw," I say. She's starting to cry. Go ahead and leave! I'll just be here by myself," she crys. We stand together for a few minutes, both of us quiet. When she stops crying, she steps back and looks up at me.

She turns up her hands. I'll find something to eat in the freezer," she says. I say, "Okay, I'll proba- bly pick up something on my way back to the plant. See you later tonight.

Ever since we moved to Bearington, Julie has been having a hard time. Whenever we talk about the town, she always com- plains about it, and I always find myself defending it. It's true I was born and raised in Bearington, so I do feel at home here. I know all the streets. I know the best places to go to download things, the good bars and the places you stay out of, all that stuff.

There is a sense of ownership I have for the town, and more affection for it than for some other burg down the highway. It was home for eighteen years. But I don't think I have too many illusions about it. Bear- ington is a factory town. Anyone passing through probably wouldn't see anything special about the place. Driving along, I look around and have much the same reaction. The neighbor- hood where we live looks like any other American suburb. The houses are fairly new.

There are shopping centers nearby, a litter of fast-food restaurants, and over next to the Interstate is a big mall. I can't see much difference here from any of the other suburbs where we've lived. Go to the center of town and it is a little depressing.

The streets are lined with old brick buildings that have a sooty, crum- bling look to them. A number of store fronts are vacant or cov- ered with plywood.

There are plenty of railroad tracks, but not many trains. On the corner of Main and Lincoln is Bearington's one high- rise office building, a lone tower on the skyline. When it was being built some ten years ago, the building was considered to be a very big deal around here, all fourteen stories of it. The fire department used it as an excuse to go download a brand new fire en- gine, just so it would have a ladder long enough to reach to the top. Ever since then, I think they've secretly been waiting for a fire to break out in the penthouse just to use the new ladder.

Local boosters immediately claimed that the new office tower was some kind of symbol of Bearington's vitality, a sign of re-birth in an old industrial town. Then a couple of years ago, the building management erected an enormous sign on the roof which says in red block letters: From the E. Which isn't too far from the truth. On my way to work each day, I pass another plant along the road to ours.

It sits behind a rusty chain-link fence with barbed wire running along the top. In front of the plant is a paved park- ing lot—five acres of concrete with tufts of brown grass poking through the cracks. Years have gone by since any cars have parked there. The paint has faded on the walls and they've got a chalky look to them. High on the long front wall you can still make out the company name; there's darker paint where the let- ters and logo had once been before they were removed.

The company that owned the plant went south. They built a new plant somewhere in North Carolina. Word has it they were trying to run away from a bad situation with their union.

Word also has it that the union probably will catch up with them again in about five years or so. But meanwhile they'll have bought themselves five years of lower wages and maybe fewer hassles from the work force. And five years seem like eternity as far as modern management planning is concerned. So Bearington got another industrial dinosaur carcass on its outskirts and about 2, people hit the street.

Six months ago, I had occasion to go inside the plant. At the time, we were just looking for some cheap warehouse space nearby. Not that it was my job, but I went over with some other people just to look the place over. Dreamer that I was when I first got here, I thought maybe someday we'd need more space to expand.

What a laugh that is now. It was the silence that really got to me. Everything was so quiet. Your footsteps echoed. It was weird. All the machines had been removed. It was just a huge empty place. Driving by it now, I can't help thinking, that's going to be us in three months. It gives me a sick feeling. I hate to see this stuff happening. The town has been losing major employers at the rate of about one a year ever since the mids.

They fold completely, or they pull out and go else- where. There doesn't seem to be any end to it. And now it may be our turn. When I came back to manage this plant, the Bearington Her- ald did a story on me.

I know, big deal. But I was kind of a minor celebrity for a while. The local boy had made it big. It was sort of a high-school fantasy come true. I hate to think that the next time E.

I'm starting to feel like a traitor to everybody.

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Donovan looks like a nervous gorilla when I get back to the plant. With all the running around he's done today, he must have lost five pounds. Then he paces for a few seconds and stops.

Suddenly he darts across the aisle to talk to someone. And then he takes off to check on some- thing. I give him a shrill, two-finger whistle, but he doesn't hear it. I have to follow him through two departments before I can catch up with him—back at the NCX He looks surprised to see me. Which is a lot to look at.

And it's painted a glossy, distinctive lavender. Don't ask me why. On one side is a control board filled with red, green, and amber lights, shiny toggle switches, a jet black keyboard, tape drives, and a computer display.

It's a sexy-looking machine. And the focus of it all is the metal-working being done in the middle of it, where a vise holds a piece of steel. Shavings of metal are being sliced away by a cutting tool. A steady wash of turquoise lubricant splashes over the work and carries away the chips. At least the damn thing is working again. We were lucky today. The damage wasn't as bad as we had first thought. But the service technician didn't start packing his tools until 4: By then, it was already second shift.

We held everybody in assembly on overtime, even though overtime is against current division policy. I don't know where we'll bury the expense, but we've to go get this order shipped tonight. I got four phone calls today just from our marketing manager, Johnny Jons.

He too has been getting his ear chewed— from Peach, from his own sales people, and from the customer. We absolutely must ship this order tonight. So I'm hoping nothing else goes wrong. As soon as each part E.

And as soon as that happens, the foreman over there is having each subassembly carted down to final assembly. You want to talk about efficiency?

People hand-carrying things one at a time, back and forth. It's crazy. In fact, I'm wondering, where did Bob get all the people? I take a slow look around. There is hardly anybody working in the departments that don't have something to do with Donovan has stolen every body he could grab and put them all to work on this order.

This is not the way it's supposed to be done. But the order ships. I glance at my watch. It's a few minutes past We're on the shipping dock. The doors on the back of the tractor-trailer are being closed.

The driver is climbing up into his seat. He revs the engine, releases the brakes, and eases out into the night. I turn to Donovan. He turns to me. What do you say we find ourselves some dinner? Way off in the distance, the truck shifts gears. We take Donovan's car because it's closer. The first two places we try are closed. So then I tell Donovan just to follow my directions. We cross the river at 16th Street and drive down Bes- semer into South Flat until we get to the mill.

Then I tell Dono- van to hang a right and we snake our way through the side streets. The houses back in there are built wall to wall, no yards, no grass, no trees.

The streets are narrow and everyone parks in the streets, so it makes for some tedious maneuvering. But finally we pull up in front of Sednikk's Bar and Grill.

Donovan takes a look at the place and says, "You sure this is where we want to be? Come on. They've got the best burgers in town," I tell him. Inside, we take a booth toward the rear. Maxine recognizes me and comes over to make a fuss.

We talk for a minute and then Donovan and I order some burgers and fries and beer. Donovan looks around and says, "How'd you know about this place? I think it was the third stool on the left, but it's been a while. My father owned a corner grocery store. My brother runs it today.

The goal goldratt pdf

The beers arrive. Maxine says, "These two are on Joe. Dono- van and I wave out thanks to him. Donovan raises his glass, and says, "Here's to getting out the door. After a few swallows, Donovan looks much more relaxed.

But I'm still thinking about what went on tonight. There's the repair bill on the NCX Plus the overtime. Then he says, "But you got to admit that once we got rolling, we really moved. I wish we could do that every day. I don't need days like this one. But we did ship the order," says Donovan. But it was the way that it happened that we can't allow. The economies of scale would disappear. Our costs would go—well, they'd be even worse than they are now. We can't run the plant just by the seat- of-the-pants.

Finally he says, "Maybe I learned too many of the wrong things back when I was an expediter. I mean that. But we set policy for a purpose. You should know that. And let me tell you that Bill Peach, for all the trouble he caused to get one order shipped, would be back here pounding on our heads at the end of the month if we didn't manage the plant for efficiency. Then I turn and say, "Maxine, give us two more here, please. No, on second thought, we're going to save you a lot of walking.

Make it a pitcher. We won. Just barely. And now that Donovan is gone and the effects of the alcohol are wearing off, I can't see what there was to celebrate. We managed to ship one very late order today. The real issue is I've got a manufacturing plant on the criti- cal list. Peach has given it three months to live before he pulls the plug. That means I have two, maybe three more monthly reports in which to change his mind.

After that, the sequence of events will be that he'll go to corporate management and present the numbers. Everybody around the table will look at Granby. Granby will ask a couple of questions, look at the numbers one more time, and nod his head. And that will be it. Once the execu- tive decision has been made, there will be no changing it. They'll give us time to finish our backlog. And then peo- ple will head for the unemployment lines—where they will join their friends and former co-workers, the other people whom we have already laid off.

And so the UniWare Division will drop out of yet another market in which it can't compete. Which means the world will no longer be able to download any more of the fine products we can't make cheap enough or fast enough or good enough or some- thing enough to beat the Japanese. Or most anybody else out there for that matter.

That's what makes us another fine division in the UniCo "family" of businesses which has a record of earn- ings growth that looks like Kansas , and that's why we'll be just E. That seems to be the essence of the company's strategic plan these days.

What's the matter with us? Every six months it seems like some group from corporate is coming out with some new program that's the latest panacea to all our problems. Some of them seem to work, but none of them does any good. We limp along month after month, and it never gets any better. Mostly it gets worse. Enough of the bitching, Rogo. Try to calm down. Try to think about this rationally. There's nobody around. It's late. I am alone finally. No interruptions. The phone is not ringing.

So let's try to analyze the situation. Why can't we consistently get a quality product out the door on time at the cost that can beat the competition? Something is wrong. I don't know what it is, but something basic is very wrong. I must be missing something. I'm running what should be a good plant. Hell, it is a good plant. We've got the technology. We've got robots. We've got a com- puter system that's supposed to do everything but make coffee.

We've got good people. For the most part we do. Okay, we're short in a couple of areas, but the people we have are good for the most part, even though we sure could use more of them. And I don't have too many problems with the union. They're a pain in the ass sometimes, but the competition has unions too. And, hell, the workers made some concessions last time—not as many as we'd have liked, but we have a livable contract. I've got the machines.

I've got the people. I've got all the materials I need. I know there's a market out there, because the competitors' stuff is selling. So what the hell is it? It's the damn competition. That's what's killing us. Ever since the Japanese entered our markets, the competition has been incredible. Three years ago, they were beating us on quality and product design.

We've just about matched them on those. But now they're beating us on price and deliveries. I wish I knew their secret. What can I possibly do to be more competitive? No other manager in this division has cut costs to the degree I have. There is nothing left to trim. And, despite what Peach says, my efficiencies are pretty damn good.

He's got other plants with worse, I know that. But the better ones don't have the competition I do. Maybe I could push efficiencies some more, but I don't know. It's like whipping a horse that's already running as fast as it can. We've just got to do something about late orders. Nothing in this plant ships until it's expedited. We've got stacks and stacks of inventory out there. We release the materials on schedule, but nothing comes out the far end when it's supposed to.

That's not uncommon. Just about every plant I know of has expeditors. And you walk through just about any plant in Amer- ica about our size and you'll find work-in-process inventory on the same scale as what we have.

I don't know what it is. On the one hand, this plant is no worse than most of the ones I've seen— and, in fact, it's better than many. But we're losing money. If we could just get our backlog out the door. Sometimes it's like little gremlins out there. Every time we start to get it right, they sneak around between shifts when nobody is looking and they change things just enough so everything gets screwed up. I swear it's got to be gremlins. Or maybe I just don't know enough. But, hell, I've got an engineering degree.

I've got an MBA. Peach wouldn't have named me to the job if he hadn't thought I was qualified. So it can't be me. Can it? Man, how long has it been since I started out down there in industrial engineering as a smart kid who knew everything— fourteen, fifteen years? How many long days have there been since then?

I used to think if I worked hard I could do anything. Since the day I turned twelve I've worked. I worked after school in my old man's grocery store. I worked through high school. When I was old enough, I spent my summers working in the mills around here. I was always told that if I worked hard enough it would pay off in the end.

That's true, isn't it? Look at my brother; he took the easy way out by being the first born. Now he owns a grocery store in a bad neighborhood across town. But look at me. I worked hard. I sweated my way through engineering school. I got a job with a big company.

I made myself a stranger to my wife and kids. I took all the crap that UniCo could give me and said, E. Give me more! Here I am, thirty-eight years old, and I'm a crummy plant manager! Isn't that wonderful? I'm really having fun now. Time to get the hell out of here. I've had enough fun for one day. Unfortunately, Julie is not being amorous- she is reaching for the night table where the digi- tal alarm clock says 6: The alarm buzzer has been droning for three minutes.

Julie smashes the button to kill it. With a sigh, she rolls off of me. Moments later, I hear her breathing resume a steady pace; she is asleep again. Welcome to a brand new day. About forty-five minutes later, I'm backing the Mazda out of the garage. It's still dark outside. But a few miles down the road the sky lightens. Halfway to the city, the sun rises. By then, I'm too busy thinking to notice it at first. I glance to the side and it's floating out there beyond the trees.

What makes me mad some- times is that I'm always running so hard that—like most other people, I guess—I don't have time to pay attention to all the daily miracles going on around me. Instead of letting me eyes drink in the dawn, I'm watching the road and worrying about Peach. He's called a meeting at headquarters for all the people who directly report to him—in essence, his plant managers and his staff.

The meeting, we are told, is to begin promptly at 8: The funny thing is that Peach is not saying what the meeting is about. It's a big secret—you know: He has instructed us to be there at eight and to bring with us reports and other data that'll let us go through a thor- ough assessment of all the division's operations.

Of course, all of us have found out what the meeting is about. At least we have a fairly good idea. According to the grapevine, Peach is going to use the meeting to lay some news on us about how badly the division performed in the first quarter.

Then he's going to hit us with a mandate for a new productivity drive, with targeted goals for each plant and commitments and all that great stuff. I suppose that's the reason for the commandment to be there at eight o'clock on the button with numbers in hand; Peach must've thought it would lend a proper note of discipline and urgency to the proceedings.

The irony is that in order to be there at such an early hour, half the people attending will have had to fly in the night before. Which means hotel bills and extra meals. So in order to an- E. I think that Peach may be starting to lose it. Not that I sus- pect him of drifting toward a breakdown or anything. It's just that everything seems to be an over-reaction on his part these days.

He's like a general who knows he is losing the battle, but forgets his strategy in his desperation to win. He was different a couple of years ago. He was confident. He wasn't afraid to delegate responsibility. He'd let you run your own show—as long as you brought in a respectable bottom line. He tried to be the "enlightened" manager.

He wanted to be open to new ideas. If some consultant came in and said, "Employees have to feel good about their work in order to be productive," Peach would try to listen.

But that was when sales were better and budgets were flush. What does he say now? Peach practically threw him out of his office. And now he's walking into my plant and wreaking havoc in the name of improving customer service.

That wasn't even the first fight I've had with Peach. There have been a couple of oth- ers, although none as serious as yesterday's. What really bugs me is I used to get along very well with Peach. There was a time when I thought we were friends. Back when I was on his staff, we'd sit in his office at the end of the day sometimes and just talk for hours. Once in a while, we'd go out and get a couple of drinks together.

Everybody thought I was brown-nosing the guy. But I think he liked me precisely because I wasn't. I just did good work for him. We hit it off together. Once upon a time, there was a crazy night in Atlanta at the annual sales meeting, when Peach and I and a bunch of wackos from marketing stole the piano from the hotel bar and had a sing-along in the elevator.

Other hotel guests who were waiting for an elevator would see the doors open, and there we'd be, midway through the chorus of some Irish drinking song with E. He's a pretty good piano player, too. After an hour, the hotel manager finally caught up with us. By then, the crowd had grown too big for the elevator, and we were up on the roof singing to the entire city. I had to pull Bill out of this fight with the two bouncers whorn the manager had enlisted to kill the party.

What a night that was. Bill and I ended up toasting each other with orange juice at dawn in some greasy-spoon diner on the wrong end of town. Peach was the one who let me know that I really had a future with this company. He was the guy who pulled me into the pic- ture when I was just a project engineer, when all I knew was how to try hard. He was the one who picked me to go to headquarters. Now we're screaming at each other. I can't believe it. Peach and his division staff occupy three floors of the building.

I get out of the car and get my briefcase from the trunk. It weighs about ten pounds today, because it's full of reports and computer printouts. I'm not expecting to have a nice day. With a frown on my face, I start to walk to the elevator.

I turn; it's Nathan Selwin coming toward me. I wait for him. Good to see you again," I tell him. We start walking together. Bill keeping you working nights? Then he pauses and looks at me. There is nobody else around us. I shrug; I don't know what he's talking about.

Everybody on Fifteen is crapping in their pants. Peach got the word from Granby a week ago. He's got till the end of the year to E. And I don't know if it's true, but I heard Granby specifically say that if the division goes, Peach goes with it. My first reaction is that it's no wonder Peach has been acting like a madman lately. Everything he's worked for is in jeopardy. If some other corporation downloads the division, Peach won't even have a job.

The new owners will want to clean house and they're sure to start at the top. And what about me; will I have a job? Good question, Rogo. Before hearing this, I was going on the assumption that Peach would probably offer me some kind of position if the plant is shut down. That's usually the way it goes. Of course, it may not be what I want. I know there aren't any UniWare plants out there in need of a manager.

But I figured maybe Peach would give me my old staff job back—although I also know it's already been filled and I've heard that Peach is very satisfied with the guy. Come to think of it, he did kind of threaten yesterday with his opening remarks that I might not have a job. Shit, I could be on the street in three months!

And he's gone.

Eli Goldratt - The Goal - Summary

I find myself standing alone in the corridor on the fifteenth floor. I don't even remember having gotten on the elevator, but here I am. I vaguely recall Nat talking to me on the way up, saying something about everybody putting out their resumes.

I look around, feel stupid, wonder where I'm supposed to be now, and then I remember the meeting. I head down the hall where I see some others going into a conference room.

I go in and take a seat. Peach is standing at the far end of the table. A slide projector sits in front of him. He's starting to talk. A clock on the wall indicates it's exactly eight o'clock. I look around at the others. There are about twenty of them, most of them looking at Peach. One of them, Hilton Smyth, is looking at me. He's a plant manager, too, and he's a guy I've never liked much. For one thing, I resent his style—he's always promoting some new thing he's doing, and most of the time what E.

Anyway, he's looking at me as if he's checking me out. Is it because I look a little shaken? I wonder what he knows. I stare back at him until he turns toward Peach. When I'm finally able to tune into what Peach is saying, I find he's turning the discussion over to the division controller, Ethan Frost, a thin and wrinkled old guy who, with a little makeup, could double for the Grim Reaper.

The news this morning befits the messenger. The first quar- ter has just ended, and it's been a terrible one everywhere. The division is now in real danger of a shortfall in cash. All belts must be tightened.

When Frost is done, Peach stands and proceeds to deliver some stern talk about how we're going to meet this challenge. I try to listen, but after his first couple of sentences, my mind drops out.

All I hear are fragments. A relentless exchange of measurements between Peach and the others goes on and on. I make an effort, but I just can't concen- trate. I reach into my jacket to get a pen to take some notes. So I reach into my other pocket. And I pull out the cigar.

I stare at it. I don't smoke anymore. For a few seconds I'm wondering where the hell this cigar came from. And then I remember. This is back in the good days when I think that everything will work out. I'm traveling, and I'm between planes at O'Hare. I've got some- time, so I go to one of the airline lounges. Inside, the place is jammed with business types like me. I'm looking for a seat in this place, gazing over the three-piece pinstripes and the women in conservative blazers and so on, when my eye pauses on the yar- mulke worn by the man in the sweater.

He's sitting next to a lamp, reading, his book in one hand and his cigar in the other. Next to him there happens to be an empty seat. I make for it. Not until I've almost sat down does it strike me I think I know this guy. Running into someone you know in the middle of one of the busiest airports in the world carries a shock with it.

At first, I'm not sure it's really him. But he looks too much like the physicist I used to know for him to be anyone but Jonah. As I start to sit down, he glances up at me from his book, and I see on his face the same unspoken question: Do I know you? Remember me? I got a grant to go and study some of the mathematical models you were working on. I had a beard back then. Yes, I do remember you. I order a scotch and soda and ask Jonah if he'll join me. He decides he'd better not; he has to leave shortly.

And you? I'm on my way to Houston right now," I say. A second of quiet falls be- tween us. But, for better or worse, I have this tendency which I've never been able to bring under control of filling silence in a conversation with my own voice. He seems more interested.

He takes a puff on his cigar. I keep talking. It doesn't take much to keep me going. We belong to a manufacturers' association, and the association invited UniCo to be on a panel to talk about robotics at the annual conference. I got picked by UniCo, because my plant has the most experience with robots. Then I re- member I have something I can show him. Solution to America's Productivity Crisis in the new millenium I figure, well, he's an academic person; he's not going to understand the business world.

But it's a lot more complicated than that. See, it was just in one depart- ment that we had a thirty-six percent improvement. I feel my smile freeze. Jonah leans forward conspiratorially and says, "Let me ask you something—just between us: Was your plant able to ship even one more product per day as a result of what happened in the department where you installed the robots?

I lean back, looking at him. What the hell does he mean by that? Because we installed the robots? We shifted the people to other jobs. Of course, when there's a business downturn, we lay people off. I chuckle. But I'd really have to check the numbers. He closes his book. In fact, those efficiencies are averaging well above ninety percent. And my cost per part went down consider- ably. Let me tell you, to stay competitive these days, we've got to do everything we can to be more efficient and reduce costs.

I hand her a ten and wait for her to give me the change. Otherwise, we'd lose our savings on our cost per part. And efficiencies would go down. That applies not only to the robots, but to our other production resources as well.

We have to keep producing to stay efficient and maintain our cost advantage. Of course, that's not to say we don't have our prob- lems. Then he smiles. Be honest. Your inventories are going through the roof, are they not? How does he know? Some places, yes, they are high," I say.

It's a serious issue with custom- ers lately. He smiles again.At least the damn thing is working again. This activity should take the longest as participants will need to identify other similarities and overlaps and combine goals. Ideally, you should try to improve all three at once. I order a scotch and soda and ask Jonah if he'll join me. Why don't I walk you down to your plane? Research has shown time and again taking ownership of our goals is incredibly empowering and rewarding.

MARKUS from Tampa
I am fond of reading novels wildly. Feel free to read my other posts. I have always been a very creative person and find it relaxing to indulge in powerlifting.