New Quality Digest Article: Pinnacle Strategies Reveals How Automotive Manufacturing Giant Keeps “Lean” Initiatives Lean

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Operations Management Expert Mark Woeppel Says Secret Is Applying “Theory of Constraints” First

Elegant Solutions for Complex Problems

The key to unlocking true value and performance improvement is merging the two approaches.

Pinnacle Strategies today announced the publication of a new Quality Digest article that underscores the importance of applying a Theory of Constraints (ToC) approach to the success of Lean initiatives in manufacturing organizations.

The article, "Keeping Lean Initiatives Lean: First Apply the Theory of Constraints," uses a real-world example involving a major automotive manufacturing company to illustrate how the right combination of ToC and Lean yields far greater benefits than when the methods are used independently. (The entire article is available here).

“In an increasingly competitive marketplace, manufacturers are struggling to squeeze five- to seven percent from operational cost reductions,” says author Thomas R. Cutler. “Often, those that fail don’t survive, and more than a 1,000 plants closed last year alone in North America because bottom-line improvement came at the expense of critical quality controls and quality assurance.”

The article explains how a “fundamental” approach to lean manufacturing strives for true “one-piece flow” by reducing waste and matching flow to customer demand. In contrast, a “balanced flow” buffers excess inventory between each point in the process, making it immediately apparent which process is underperforming. Quality assurance and operations managers use such information to address issues, in what are called “go-and-sees.”

“While both ideas are productive, the key to unlocking true value and performance improvement is in merging the two approaches,” reveals Mark Woeppel, Pinnacle Strategies president and ToC pioneer. “Maximizing these go-and-see efforts by focusing resources on the true constraint generates a much more powerful result: a seamless flow of production that generates the highest possible return.”

For more information about what is working in the world’s most successful manufacturing companies, contact Pinnacle Strategies at

About Pinnacle Strategies
Pinnacle Strategies is an international management consulting firm focused on operations management excellence. We work with organizations to increase shareholder value by developing high-performance business processes that significantly enhance productivity, reduce costs and time to market, improving profitability and accelerating sustainable growth. Pinnacle Strategies offers results-driven consulting solutions in the areas of performance management, project management, operations management, and supply chain.

For more information contact Annette Hamilton, Director of Marketing, at info(at)pinnacle-strategies(dot)com or +1 972-492-7951.

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