Application of Goldratt’s Theory of Constraints to Identify and Overcome Process Bottlenecks
Application of Goldratt’s Theory of Constraints
Queuing at the grocery is a mainstay concern to shoppers and often problematic to store management. The time taken to pay for items at a grocery constrains the efficiency of a store. This paper uses the theory of constraints to identify and overcome the main bottleneck in the process of shopping at a grocery store (Leseure, 2010, p. 270). For the one-week data collected, it was identified that the main bottleneck in the process was the time spent in queues while attempting to pay for goods. Reasonable time is spent in locating items thanks to a predetermined shopping list, and through experience, less time is spent on locating items. These are therefore not major problems, but the payment element of the process (see figure 1).
The objective is therefore to increase the throughput during payment. The following steps help in identifying and overcoming the constraint in accordance with the theory of constraints (Leseure, 2010). The critical issue associated with the constraint was identified as the lack of flexibility in the paying system that would otherwise increase the number of customers being served at a time whenever necessary. The best alternative in dealing with the constraint would be to increase the number of cashiers when queue are long. Appropriate queue management is necessary in order to effectively subordinate other aspects of the grocery store to this decision. This includes training other employees who may have different responsibilities at the store on payment procedures. A major change to the payment system would be to increase the number of automated point of sale systems such to be used when need arises. By aligning the entire store activities to support a robust and efficient payment system, the bottleneck would be minimized, hence a better process flow.
Lesure, M. (2010) Key Concepts in Operations Management. New York: Sage Publications.