Utilizing Collective Intelligence to Combine Theory of Constraints with Lean Six Sigma

  •  Jon M. Stein    


This paper introduces a tool that embeds the emerging science of Collective Intelligence (CI) within the field of continuous improvement, effectively combining Theory of Constraints with Lean Six Sigma. This new methodology takes advantage of the existing CI within organizations, systems, or geographical areas and utilizes that CI to combine Theory of Constraints and Lean Six Sigma into a streamlined, continuous improvement system referred to in this paper as TOCLSS/CI. Accurately measuring CI offers access to a collective insight that may otherwise be undervalued or ignored. Effectively measuring CI also represents a key step in resolving a primary challenge within Theory of Constraints, specifically regarding primary constraint identification. By harnessing the power of CI through the creation and submission of a single, multiple-choice, simple-question survey utilizing a multi-phased approach; TOCLSS/CI offers a solution that directly resolves the challenge of primary constraint identification with a high degree of focus. This frees the existing tools of Lean Six Sigma to fully address any constraint identified and clears the way for the process to become continuous with the discovery of a new primary constraint. Further research is needed to verify results when utilizing TOCLSS/CI, as well as an exploration using this methodology over more than one organization at a time (i.e., across broader industries or supply chains). Utilizing TOCLSS/CI need not impede any current or existing continuous improvement system, minimizing any burden upon any organization that is willing to adopt it.

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