The Goal


The United States of America once had a strong manufacturing economy in the days of people like Juran and Demming.  Today, most manufacturing is outsourced overseas.  However, some manufacturing is still completed in the United States and all manufacturing is a process we need to learn from.

“The Goal” by Eliyahu M. Goldratt and Jeff Cox is about a process of ongoing improvement written in a manufacturing environment but applicable to all aspects of business.  This is a book with more than 1,000,000 copies in circulation that has received high praise and it is justified.  I know of many companies that have personally bought cases of this book to distribute among their employees because of the message contained in these pages.

This book is written like many great books to teach through story telling.  My personal opinion is that this is a very good format.  It is, however, amazing that an Israeli author is teaching the United States about manufacturing in this book.  This really is a hard core business book written as a novel thereby making digestion of the message that much easier.

This book takes a close look at process analysis and bottlenecks in a manufacturing environment, but process analysis can be used in all aspects of business.  In the course of telling this story the author makes a very good point that in order for progress to be made in a business environment organizations need to challenge basic assumptions and drive continuous process improvement.

An interesting sub-plot in this book are the family tensions that the plant manager is caught up in.  These are typical of a manager dedicated to his career and actively engaged in problem solving that demands his attention.  Family tensions like those depicted in this book are very real and contribute to stress for the manager who is already dealing with difficult problems at work.  This of course can spark much debate about work life balance.

The author thoroughly believes in teaching by way of the Socratic method and this comes through very clearly in this book.  The plant manager in the story enlists the help of an old colleague during his quest for answers.  While his colleague could readily provide the plant manager with the answers desired he guides the plant manager in their conversations via the Socratic method.  This process not only imparts knowledge on the plant manager but the reader as well.

The concepts in “The Goal” when properly implemented could allow manufacturing in America to be competitive again and this is the goal of the author.  Not only are there process discussions in this book, but also valuable discussions on cost accounting.  Cost is ultimately the greatest challenge for manufacturing and all businesses in general in the United States today.  We must continue to learn from these challenging economic conditions and this book was valid years ago and still is today.  This book is well worth the time of all business professionals and should ultimately end up on your shelf.

To your business success.

Categories : Business Books


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