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The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement [Paperback]

Eliyahu M. Goldratt , Jeff Cox , David Whitford
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Paperback, July 1 2004 --  
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Book Description

July 1 2004
Written in a fast-paced thriller style, The Goal is the gripping novel which is transforming management thinking throughout the Western world. The author has been described by Fortune as a 'guru to industry' and by Businessweek as a 'genius'. It is a book to recommend to your friends in industry - even to your bosses - but not to your competitors. Alex Rogo is a harried plant manager working ever more desperately to try and improve performance. His factory is rapidly heading for disaster. So is his marriage. He has ninety days to save his plant - or it will be closed by corporate HQ, with hundreds of job losses. It takes a chance meeting with a colleague from student days - Jonah - to help him break out of conventional ways of thinking to see what needs to be done. The story of Alex's fight to save his plant is more than compulsive reading. It contains a serious message for all managers in industry and explains the ideas which underline the Theory of Constraints (TOC) developed by Eli Goldratt. Eliyahu M. Goldratt is an internationally recognized leader in the development of new business management concepts and systems, and acts as an educator to many of the world's corporations. The 20th anniversary edition includes a series of detailed case study interviews by David Whitford, Editor at Large, Fortune Small Business, which explore how organizations around the world have been transformed by Eli Goldratt's ideas.
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Product Description

About the Author

Eliyahu M. Goldratt is an internationally recognized leader in the development of new business management concepts and systems, and acts as an educator to many of the world's corporations. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From AudioFile

A novel, business lesson, and wake-up call for leaders whose companies are bogged down by complacency, sloppy thinking, and bureaucratic stupidity, this 1984 text is anchored by the comforting voice of Eric Conger and a strong cast of voice actors who handle the material with immense skill. They deftly balance between the need to jazz up the dry business content and the temptation to succumb to the story's melodrama. The heroic story line seems hindered by extraneous dialogue and subplots, but the voice performances make the production hard to fault as a listening experience. The main point is that companies are profitable when archaic habits are persistently reexamined with fresh eyes for constraints and bottlenecks. T.W. © AudioFile 2007, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
Eliyahu Goldratt's "The Goal" is an entertaining novel and at the same time a thought provoking business book. The story is about a plant manager, Alex Rogo, whose plant and marriage are going downhill. He finds himself in the unenviable position of having ninety days in which to save his plant. A fortuitous meeting with an old acquaintance, Jonah, introduces him to the Theory of Constrains (TOC). He uses this new way of thinking to ...
TOC postulates that for an organization to have an ongoing process of improvement, it needs to answer three fundamental questions:
1. What to change?
2. To what to change?
3. How to cause the change?
The goal is to make (more) money, which is done by the following:
1. Increase Throughput
2. Reduce Inventory
3. Reduce Operating Expense
Goldratt defines throughput (T) as the rate at which the system generates money through sales. He also defines inventory (I) as everything the system invests in that it intends to sell. Operating expense (OE) is defined as all the money the system spends in order to convert inventory into throughput.
The author does an excellent job explaining his concepts, especially how to work with constraints and bottlenecks (processes in a chain of processes, such that their limited capacity reduces the capacity of the whole chain). He makes the reader empathize with Alex Rogo and his family and team. Don't be surprised if you find yourself cheering for Alex to succeed.
The importance and benefits of focusing on the activities that are constraints are clearly described with several examples in "The Goal". One example from the book is the one in which Alex takes his son and a group of Boy Scouts out on a hiking expedition. Here Alex faces a constraint in the form of the slowest boy, Herbie.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Goal: A great business novel Dec 3 2009
Format:Paperback
The Goal is a fantastic business novel that wraps up a whole lot of common sense that most of us miss. The novel follows Alex Rogo, a manager in a manufacturing plant that is in danger of going out of business as he and his team figure out how to get back into the black and making money. Aside from being a reasonably well written novel, the advice provided through out the book is great and has application in many more areas of business and industry than just manufacturing.

The first point of common sense it comes to is the goal of any business. In its simplest form, the goal of every business should be to make money. This gets elaborated on more in the statement: The goal is to make money by increasing net profit while simultaneously increasing ROI and simultaneously increasing cash flow. This is done through these areas:
Throughput: the rate a system generates money through sales. This is your money coming into the system.
Inventory: all the money that the system has invested in purchasing things which it intends to sell. This is money stuck in the system.
Operational Expense: All the money the system spends in order to turn inventory into throughput. This is the money going out of the system.

While all of this will likely make sense to anyone in business, the even more valuable lesson learned within the book is the importance of measuring these three areas and NOT worrying so much about irrelevant measurements, which is pretty much every other measurement we seem to use. Examples of what not to measure in manufacturing seemed to focus around efficiencies and keeping people busy while in software, it would be common measurements such as lines of code written per hour or a daily defect fix rate.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The process is the thing. Jan. 28 2004
Format:Audio CD
This book is written as one person's personal journey of discovery. It is a fast paced novel, almost a thriller, which dramatically demonstrates the power of modern management in the setting of saving a factory that is rapidly heading for disaster.
I recommend this book to people in industry who have to deal with manufacturing and quality assurance and to anybody who wants to understand the continuous improvement paradigm for running a business.
The book is a pretty fine read in its own right as a novel and it is especially relevant to anyone who wants to improve an operation such as an assembly line or manufacturing plant.
As usual here is a quote from the book however this has been edited down a bit from the original to better illustrate the point:
"Who is going to set up the other machines in t he bottleneck area?" he asks. "We will pull helpers who know enough to set up their own equipment from non-bottleneck machines" "Well I guess we can try it," says Bob. "But what happens if stealing people turns non-bottlenecks into new bottlenecks?" I tell him, "The important thing is to maintain flow. If we take a worker away, and we can't maintain flow, then we'll put the worker back and steal a body from someplace else."
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5.0 out of 5 stars A must-read business classic May 18 2003
By Mark E
Format:Audio CD
This book is the ultimate paradox - a "business novel", a love story in fact. It is the first in Goldratt's series following Alex Rogo, and how he turns his manufacturing plant around through some relatively simple (though not necessarily easy) principles. It is through this book that Goldratt introduces the reader to his Theory of Constraints, which should rank among the top five business concepts of the 20th century (including, for example, six sigma and the assembly line).
Not in a manufacturing business? This book is set in a manufacturing plant, but the concepts apply broadly. I currently work in a service business, with no tangible products whatsoever, and the keys of this book are as useful here as anywhere.
This book is engaging and easy to read, but it's not written to the lowest common denominator. It's for people who want to improve the way their business is run, no matter what level they are - though obviously, the higher you are, the bigger impact you can have.
I read this book for the first time in college, and have reread it every two or three years since. It belongs in the company of such business and self-help classics as Seven Habits, See You at the Top, One Minute Manager, and Win Friends/Influence People. Perhaps the highest recommendation I can give this book is that I have bought it and given it as a gift, out of my own pocket, to about half a dozen different people in the company I have worked for over the last six years - all VPs, SVPs, and EVPs. I figure, if they apply the principles, it's ultimately going to make the company (and me) more successful. All of them have commented positively on the book, and some have in turn passed it along.
Whether you are just starting out in business, or have already attained a high level and want to broaden (and brighten) your horizons, this is a must-read that will positively impact your business, and your life.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful approach to management
This management book is written as a good detective novel that can be read at one or two sittings. It also packs a punch in terms of management principles that go well beyond the... Read more
Published 3 months ago by bryan poulin
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy read - well put together
It's written as a novel which allows for easy reading. I like the analogies used to depict the theories in easy to understand examples. Read more
Published 6 months ago by William Hutzul
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Understanding
Everyone reads it, and says that it makes sense, but hardly anyone does it. Doing it is the power. Concepts apply to any business of process, although project-oriented stuff... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Kira Leskew
5.0 out of 5 stars An easy read
The book is much better than I thought. It's an easy to read story that pulls together all aspects (both technical and persona) of the production process. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Peter Shepherd
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book for operations management!
I just loved this book! I've recommended it to my classmates at McGill University and already got great feedback from them as well.
Published 17 months ago by .
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book!
The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement was recommended to me during a business workshop. Glad I took the instructor up on it. Thanks.
Published 19 months ago by Mervyn E Brice
2.0 out of 5 stars Too much filling, not enough substance.
The book had way too much filling and beating around the bush to finally get to the point. There were about three key ideas explained in the book within 300 pages, which could have... Read more
Published 19 months ago by M
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book
It is good book not just becase of the prectical and useful subject also because of easy way to open it and describe it for the reader...
Published 20 months ago by Dizbad
5.0 out of 5 stars genius
I recommend this book with all my heart to the regular folk, especially to ones that find themselves putting fires out daily. Read more
Published on Oct. 4 2011 by alks
1.0 out of 5 stars CD Edition: What were they thinking???
There was enough said about the content of the book. It is, indeed, insightful and well-written. My comments are about the audio edition. This book comes on 9 CDs. Read more
Published on Oct. 14 2003 by Lala Mamedov
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