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Sustainability: Moving from Common Sense to Common Practice
2016 International Conference
Leesburg, VA - National Conference Center

September 18th - 21st


Embraer Case Study – "Challenges to Introduce the TOC Mental Model into the Culture of a Large Company”.

Priscila Oliveira - Embraer Aircraft Manufacturing, Brazil
Co-Presenter, Celso Calia - Partner Goldratt Associates, Brazil




Embraer is a Brazilian aircraft manufacturer with around 19,000 employees, being 5,900 engineers.

The Vice-President became the sponsor of a comprehensive Theory of Constraint (TOC) implementation program. His conviction about bringing new paradigms is to do it slowly but steadily.

We started implementing some TOC applications that were more related to our reality, at that moment, like:

  • Critical Chain multi-Project Management to improve results in all aircraft programs; 
  • Current Reality Tree of the whole Integrated Product Development to achieve consensus on the major problems. 
However, the TOC culture had to be installed in a broader scale. So, it was decided to educate mid managers, managers, directors and VP´s, in TOC basic concepts and Thinking Processes. Eight people were certified in a Jonah program and hundreds of people attended program. The Jonahs have led different projects using the Thinking Processes with the Strategy and Tactics Tree approach. Our Case Study is about embedding the TOC mental model into the culture of a large company. It is a challenging task, but also an exciting adventure …

Follows the roadmap of the structure of the Embraer case that we intend to elaborate and to present in the Conference:

1. List the Undesirable Effects of the problematic situation, that better describe why there was a need for change (Why to change?).
  • People trained in the TOC Basic Concepts are not using what they have learned, as expected. 
  • Few people believe in TOC. 
  • People feel unable to use TOC. 
  • There is a perception that the applications of TOC were not prepared having in mind its use in the company. 
  • People were not trained in the complete TOC portfolio. 
  • There are not sufficient conditions for the use of TOC. 
  • TOC may be challenging some "comfort zones". 
2. Express the problem as an unresolved Conflict (Evaporating Cloud).



3. Explicit the assumptions behind the Conflict arrows.

  • (Arrow BD) – Apply TOC is complex and slow.
  • (Arrow CD´) – What is not TOC does not solve chronic problems
  • (Arrow DD´) – Adequate use of TOC is not known enough.v
4. Intuitively, choose the most promising assumption as the Root Cause of the Undesirable Effects (What to change?).
  • (Arrow BD) – Apply TOC is complex and slow.
5. Establish a strategy, as what has to be achieved to negate the chosen assumption, and what brings us to a new reality, in which the Conflict no longer exist - the Conflict evaporates ! This Conflict Strategy – gives a direction towards the solution (What to change to?).
  • Conflict Strategy - "TOC applications are available for easy and quick use and to achieve or exceed the expected results.”
6. Define the Conflict Tactic that is needed to kill the Undesirable Effects and to achieve the Conflict Strategy. In most cases, the Conflict Tactic is not sufficient to kill all Undesirable Effects. Something is still missing. Sufficiency Tactics are needed to complete the task, and to achieve the Sufficiency Strategy. (How to cause the Change?).
  • Conflict Tactic – "Templates, Roadmaps, KPI, etc, are readily available to apply the TOC tools in an adequate and fast manner.”
Note: Sufficiency Tactics and Sufficiency Strategy derive from the full analysis.

7. "Yes, … but”. Most probably, side effects will arise. How to prevent them? Preventive Tactics are needed to protect the solution being built and to achieve the Preventive Strategy. Note: Preventive Tactics and Preventive Strategy derive from the full analysis.

8. Minor considerations aside, a robust solution was born, as the summation of the Tactics.

9. Organize the Actions stemming from detailing these Tactics, thru a timeline, to help us to make happen the higher strategies.

10. Two questions are still over the table:
  • Have we proven that the solution being built is not an "isolated optimum” which may be not contributive to the "global optimum”, but rather, it is part of a higher level Strategy?
  • Have we unfolded the Strategies and Tactics until an implementable and measureable level, to ensure that the solution can be contributive with the "global optimum”? 
11. Build the Strategy and Tactics tree upwards, to ensure that the solution is contributive to a higher existing Strategy, and downwards, to ensure that the solution is implementable and measureable.



Priscila Oliveira
  • Degrees in Mechanical Engineering.
  • Jonah (2014), by Celso Calia, at Goldratt Associados Brazil.
  • Certification in Basics of Thinking Process (2013)
  • Certification IN Basics of Critical Chain Project Management (2013)
  • TOC for Project Management and ToC Thinking Process (2013), by Dr James Holt, at University of Tennessee
  • Aplicações da TOC ao gerenciamento de projetos (2010), by Joao Mario Csillag, at Fundação Getúlio Vargas
  • 14 years as employee of Embraer, a Brazilian aircraft manufacturer and 4 years working with TOC.

Celso Calia
  • Degrees in Mechanical and Petroleum Engineering.
  • Jonah (1988) and Jonah´s Jonah (1990), by Eli Goldratt, at the A. Goldratt Institute - USA.
  • Partner of Eli Goldratt at the A. Goldratt Institute – USA, in 1990.
  • First implementation of TOC in Brazil, in 1988, as Industrial Manager of Garrett Turbochargers - DBR, Distribution and Throughput Accounting.
  • 26 years as TOC Consultancy Company - Goldratt Associados Brazil.
  • Customers from large conglomerates to medium size companies.
  • Seen as the pioneer and disseminator of TOC, in Brazil.




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