The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement by Eliyahu M. Goldratt and Jeff Cox

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A book set around a novel based in a factory in which the middle level manager discovers techniques to optimise production. Some of improvement methods involve thinking about the wider picture but the main improvement component is looking at where the constraints (also known as bottlenecks) are in the production process and making adjustments to improve how these are managed.

When first written I get the impression techniques outlined were new but now they are fairly widespread and have been superseded by Six Sigma and Lean improvement. Quite a long book for the minimal learning which is essentially working as a team, collectively coming up with solutions then continuously re-evaluating the situation to come up with new solutions to the new problems. The section I would recommend reading is in the updated version, at the end of the book in which people have short reports that outline how principles have been used in other industries such as education and health.

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