Theory of Constraints


Theory of constraints is an essential concept in operations management to remove bottlenecks in the throughput chain. The concept explains best practice implementation and the critical factors for success.

Technique Overview

Theory of Constraints Definition

The theory of constraints (TOC) describes the attempt to maximise operating profits by identifying bottleneck and non-bottleneck operations in a system. It is a process of continuous improvement to remove all constraints in the throughput chain while minimising inventory and operational costs (Balderstone & Mabin, 1998; Drury, 2007).

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Business Evidence

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Business Application

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Further Reading

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Theory of Constraints References (4 of up to 20) *

  • Balderstone, S. J. and Mabin, V. J. (1998) A Review of Goldratt’s Theory of Constraints (TOC): Lessons from the International Literature, Proceedings of the 33rd Annual Conference of the Operational Research Society of New Zealand, Auckland, pp. 205-14.
  • Coughlan, P. and Darlington, J. (1993) As Fast as the Slowest Operations: The Theory of Constraints, Management Accounting, June 1993, pp. 14-17.
  • Drury, C. (2004) Management and Cost Accounting (6th ed.), Thomson Learning, London.
  • Drury, C. (2007) Management and Cost Accounting (7th ed.), South-Western Cengage Learning, London.

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