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2015 TOCICO International Conference

Transforming Businesses Track



ORION AVIDAN
Independent TOC Consultant
Israel

Leading a Buffered Life - How to Use Buffers to Transform Our Results
September 7, 2015

Buffer management is one of the most basic concepts of the Theory of Constraints. It is the basic feedback mechanism that allows control in all the management environments for which TOC offers generic solutions. From WIP tracking before the CCR in manufacturing, through time and resource control in project management to inventory tracking and control in logistics, buffers are everywhere.

It also seems that buffers are pretty easy to understand and at first glance these seem very intuitive – buffers are meant to protect an important target, so set the target, add the protection and manage it through a green-yellow-red mechanism. But is it really that easy? Probably not. Some applications are easier as they are covered in greater detail in the literature or are just closer to our basic intuition, but not all of them. Since it is clear from the literature that buffers can and should be used throughout our daily life, wherever we have an important target, it seems worthwhile to investigate their mechanisms so as not to be limited to those buffers that have already been set out for us.

In this presentation we will cover the basic points of buffers to ensure the baseline understanding of the audience:

  • When should buffers be used – we will see that targets that are measurable and quantifiable are required for buffer management, we will also note that not everything that can be buffered, should be as buffers are a focusing tool.
  • Why should buffers be used – we will expose the fact that different buffers serve different needs and that often each buffer serves several needs that range from reducing over-reaction to daily variance all the way through to ensuring a steady flow of cash to a business. As a result, we will realize what kind of actions we can manage through these buffers.
  • How should buffers be used – we will explore different situations that require different buffering styles such as buffer chains where one buffer feeds the next to ensure meaningful tracking, or situations where the time constants need to be adjusted to ensure the buffer is not overly sensitive to variability.
  • When to change a buffer – we will discuss the signs that lead us to challenge the level of a buffer and the signs that lead us to leave it at the current level.

ORION AVIDAN holds a B.Sc in Industrial Engineering and an MBA from Tel Aviv University. After working in a wide variety of organizations such as Intel, Tel Aviv Medical Center (Ichilov), an advertising agency for loyalty programs (CRM) and a high tech company in the B2B sector, she has decided to focus on Theory of Constraints. Orion is an independent consultant and is also devoting time for research in order to expand the available knowledge of TOC.

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