The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement

The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement

by

Eliyahu M. Goldratt and Jeff Cox

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The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement: Chapter 20 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
When Alex gets to the office, he calls Julie’s mother, Ada, to ask if Julie is at their house. Ada tells him that she is, but that she doesn’t want to talk to Alex—not after he’s neglected her for so long. Ada hangs up on him. Afterward, Alex holds a meeting with his staff to decide how to implement Jonah’s advice. Lou determines that at least 80 percent of everything they work on must pass through the bottlenecks. They decide to do quality inspections on parts before sending them through the bottlenecks, to worry less about efficiencies, and to prioritize manufacturing overdue orders before starting new jobs.
Ada’s agreement with Julie that Alex has neglected her for too long validates Julie’s complaints, indicating that Alex needs to change the way that he relates to his family. Meanwhile, Alex and his staff’s list of actions exemplify how a manager can take their first practical measures to implement Goldratt’s Theory of Constraints.
Themes
Working with Constraints Theme Icon
Efficiency vs. Optimization Theme Icon
The Cost of Corporate Success Theme Icon
That evening, Alex drives to Julie’s parents’ house unannounced. He knocks on the door, but Ada refuses to let him see Julie, so Alex tells her he’ll just sit in his car and wait. After 45 minutes, Julie comes out and stands in the lawn. She tells Alex that she’s considering a divorce, but she needs time to think about it. Alex asks if she’s having an affair, which offends her. He tries to promise that things will be better, but she no longer believes him. Then, he presses her to choose whether she wants to divorce him and abandon the kids or come home with him and make their marriage work. Julie refuses to decide yet. Alex tells her he loves her, and Julie gives him a brief kiss before going back inside. Frustrated, Alex drives away.
Alex’s accusation that Julie is having an affair indicates that he does not fully understand what he did wrong and assumes the fault must somehow lie with Julie. Although Alex clearly wants to save his marriage, he has not yet taken responsibility for the pain that his corporate lifestyle inflicts on his family. This indicates that he is still nearsighted and selfish, unable to recognize his own faults and how he has failed to meet Julie’s emotional needs.
Themes
The Cost of Corporate Success Theme Icon