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Forget the Urgent! Rather Focus On The Important by Matias Birrell and Javier Arevalo

This is a book about the Theory of Constraints developed by Eliyahu Goldratt and popularised in his first book The Goal. Like that great book, this is a novel although it’s really like listening in to a series of coaching calls between a manager and his coach.

***** Five Stars

Who Should Read This Book?

  • Anyone interested in the Theory of Constraints.
  • Small business owners who want to improve.

The Big Idea

Every business faces constraints unless it is able to generate an infinite amount of money.

The constraint may be:

  • In the business. The classic example is a bottleneck machine in a factory that can’t process everything needed.
  • Outside the business but in the market. In this situation, the constraint to making more money and building a more sustainable business lies in the marketplace.
  • It can also be the business owner.

Review Of Forget the Urgent! Rather Focus On The Important

Like The Goal, this is a business novel where a general manager of a manufacturing business meets an expert in the Theory of Constraints. This time the business is not threatened by closure but the general manager is frustrated by how little progress both he and the business are making because so much time is spent on urgent activities.

The book starts by introducing the conflict clouds as a way to highlight issues that contradict with each other. The first cloud looks at responsibility and authority and the second cloud at the issue of managing for the current and the future. The book later explains the current reality tree and future reality tree for seeing what to change and how to change it.

It then goes on to look at improving order completions and stock control by introducing the drum-buffer-rope policies. The business also had two distribution depots and they looked at the replenishment policy and how it could be linked to actual demand.

These actions increased the capacity of the business so the next constraint was out in the market where customers were overstocked because product had been pushed out by the business through short term promotions. The book looks at how improved reliability can be turned into a blue ocean offer to customers and how it can be presented to customers as a way to improve their business. This gives the business a strong competitive edge as well as helping to make their customers more successful and thus creating a double bounce in demand.

Unlike The Goal, the story element of the book isn’t strong and there’s no suspense. What it does do is explain the Theory Of Constraints very well because the reader is effectively listening in on the coaching sessions between the manager and TOC expert.

If you’re new to TOC, I believe you should start with The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement by Eliyahu Goldratt but the concepts have developed significantly in the 30 plus years since they were first introduced. This makes a very good second book to read which goes well beyond the original.

This is very highly recommended. I originally read it through my Kindle Unlimited subscription at Amazon but I bought it to make sure I didn’t ignore the contents in future.

You can buy the book at Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk

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