Eliminate the external constraint; sell the excess capacity
When we design a system that caters for a high degree of process predictability and synchronization, where control and protection are ensured by buffers, and where all the policies, behavioural and measurement “constraints” are dealt with by an appropriate organizational structure, we do so to maximize sales. The most important part of the chain is the customer and any company should always be designed to ever improve its ability to satisfy its customers’ verbalized and hidden needs. The Decalogue, if understood and embedded in the appropriate structure, should very quickly unveil capacity that is not currently being sold.
Another way of looking at this issue is the following. Let’s say that, day one, the rate of sales of a company starting its Decalogue journey was such that some shipments were missed and constant fire fighting would create friction between production and sales. The Decalogue would call for a disciplined process mapping aimed at understanding process variability, the choice and management of a suitable constraint as well as the devising of a coherent measurement system. Moreover, in order for this level of synchronization not to be hindered by the local optima evil inclination that functional organizations invariably undergo, we design an appropriate, coherent organizational structure. Almost invariably, the constraint will shift outside, i.e. become an external constraint: our capacity, what we can realistically design, manufacture and ship becomes greater than what we are currently capable of selling. At this point, it will be blatantly obvious that our real understanding of the market is woefully limited and we, in truth, do not know how to sell.
The most spectacular application of the use of the Thinking Tools is in the management of the external constraint. This is a very critical point in the pattern of a successful Decalogue implementation. Why? As we previously stated, salespeople can singlehandedly jeopardize any systemic endeavour unless we integrate them organically in the way the company operates.