Thursday, October 24, 2013

Dominoes and Root Causes

Have you ever asked yourself how can it be that the small changes TOC calls for can create such a significant reaction, I think I found the answer.

Now, don't get me wrong, I know those changes are extremely hard, but how can you call a change that costs no money and can be done in less than a week, such as changing priorities on the shop floor, anything but a small change? All the TOC solutions are based on these small changes - hold inventory at a different point in the supply chain, start doing things at a different time, change the way you plan, measure different things. These are not technology based solutions (as in "Buy this technology and all your problems will be solved", which we all know doesn't work out like that, ever) but solutions that sometimes need technological support. So the solution isn't based on investment, although it might sometimes be required. OK, I think you get my drift.

So how do they do it? Well, TOC talk and the TP talk are all about causality and using this causality to find the root cause of things. this means they are full of chains and chain reactions. This always remind me of dominoes and that's what led me to this clip:
At first I did not see any connection between this and the TOC chain reactions but then I realized this holds a very basic truth - it takes very little effort to start the chain reaction going and once started, each step releases all the energy stored in it, amplifying the effect. The amplification can sum up FAST. It also confirms what we all know, intuitively,that it's much harder to fix the big things at the end of the chain and much easier to fix the small things at the beginning, which is why TP has you looking for the root cause - the smallest domino. The only main difference from this dominoes example is that real life seems to recharge on it's own, at least partially. You do not have to pick up each and every domino in order to start a new chain reaction.

Do you think the physical explanation hold true for real life situations? please share your thoughts.
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