53 pages • 1 hour readEliyahu M. Goldratt
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Alex Rogo, the plant manager for a local branch of UniCo, a manufacturing company, arrives at work one morning to find that Bill Peach, a division vice-president who is not fond of making “subtle statements” (1), has parked in Alex’s spot. Upon entering the plant, Alex discovers a scene of chaos. Bill arrived earlier that morning and demanded to see a specific customer order (#4127), but “everything in this plant is late” (2) so none of Alex’s workers can produce information about the order. Bill has demanded that the shift supervisor drop everything for this order. This leads to a fight between the supervisor, Bill, and a machinist, who threatens to quit.
Alex meets Bill in his office, where Bill rakes Alex over the coals for his history of late orders. Alex concedes that it was “clearly wrong to have let this order slide” (4) but takes issue with how Bill has disrupted the work of his plant. Bill informs Alex that this particular order is merely a “symptom of the problem” (5) at the plant and gives him an ultimatum: unless Alex can produce real change within three months, Bill will advise his own bosses to close down the plant.
By Eliyahu M. Goldratt