Management Consultant Steve Jackson, managing partner of Synchronix and certified by TOC-ICO as a TOC Expert in all 6 founding designations, first introduced the technology known as Theory of Constraints, TOC, into Vancouver, BC, Canada in 1988.
He was the first Canadian TOC consultant.
That’s a long, long time ago.
Since then, ERP became the dominant systems technology. Just-In-Time emerged, then became folded-in to Lean Manufacturing which has grown in leaps and bounds, and is today the dominant improvement technology. Total Quality Management is still around, but has been massively superseded by Six Sigma. Eli Goldratt, author of the best-seller The Goal and originator of the Theory of Constraints, died in 2011.
A few things haven’t changed though.
Steve remains a TOC specialist, and still lives in Burnaby, B.C., a stone’s throw from the Burnaby campus of BCIT (where TOC has been taught to Ops Management students for almost 30 years – and where Steve originally taught the BCIT instructors).
And TOC remains unchallenged in terms of generating fast, direct and often massive performance improvements that boost competitive edge factors, boost productivity, grow sales, and have a dramatic impact on cash flow, Profit, and ROI.
Steve worked in the manufacturing industries since he was 15, and while he gained an Engineering degree. His first full-time manufacturing job was in a 150 year-old factory, part of a Billion-dollar Corporation founded in 1794. Tasked in 1974– as a Production/Quality manager – with implementing the company’s first ever computer system. An interesting starting point!
Subsequently Steve implemented 23 MRP (Material Requirements Planning) systems in Europe and North America. Was employee #11 in a company that grew to 300+ employees in 3 years. At the age of 24, he was sent to open-up North American operations for his UK employer, from a base near Princeton, New Jersey. Subsequently relocated to Calgary, AB, Ottawa, ON and (since 1984) Vancouver, BC, Canada .
He managed the development and launch of manufacturing systems software. Played roles in development, marketing, sales, implementation, consulting. Consulted for 2 years to 6 start-ups in widely different technology businesses in Vancouver.
Started a small importing, then manufacturing and distribution business in North America, which he sold in 1989 to concentrate full-time on Theory of Constraints.
Since 1984 Steve has been an independent management consultant in addition to his other entrepreneurial ventures. Since 1988, a TOC specialist.
Steve’s business partner for close to 35 years was originally a Plant Manager, and a TQM specialist. His closest business alliances these days are with a Lean consultant and a Six Sigma specialist. ERP is, of course, in place in almost every company Steve works with. And Steve has had a close alliance from the outset with the developers, educators and implementers of the fast-growing “Demand Driven” movement, with its flagship DDMRP software.
Yet as a management consultant in Vancouver, where there’s a preponderance of small manufacturers, Steve has remained 100% focused on Theory of Constraints consulting because he remained consistent in the criteria for any technology he would advocate:
- Fast results – sometimes days, always inside a month.
- Large results – no comparable results from any other technology.
- Sustainable results – there are typically only two challenges to longevity of an implementation. One is changes in ownership and top management (“…never heard of this TOC stuff, I want it replaced with something I know”). The other when a new IT system is given the task of handling what TOC specializes in, in a non-TOC way. (This has close to 100% failure rate, in our experience, that years-long sustained superb performance with TOC plummets when companies do this.)
- Results could be gained independent of any computer system.
- Results could be gained in less-than-perfect environments i.e. where data is missing or inaccurate, there is little “fat” in terms of personnel to work on any improvement projects, where the majority of management and staff are not business-school graduates – rather, they have grown up in the school of hard knocks. For example, there were (and are) many family owned businesses. And most importantly – TOC routinely succeeds in the face of enormous variability. Variability in sales volume, sales mix, product mix and margins; equipment and processes; manpower, skills, training, hiring challenges; vendor performance; in growing economies and downturns.
The dramatic difference in implementation results gained from Theory of Constraints clients in contrast to the results from other bodies of knowledge has validated Steve’s choice over 30 years, and continues to do so today.
Of course, being a management consultant specializing in Theory of Constraints in Vancouver in 2019 still means being entirely familiar with ERP systems, Lean Manufacturing, and Six Sigma. Steve’s Joint Venture partners in Lean and Six Sigma are people with whom he has had a business relationship for more than 25 years.
ERP, Lean and Six Sigma certainly dominate the performance improvement arena, and management consultants in those areas are typically very busy.
Yet the best selling book “The Goal” by Eliyahu (Eli) Goldratt remains extremely popular, and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ endorsement of The Goal as one of only 3 books that he insisted Amazon executives read continues to validate the relevance of the book today. In fact, TOC consultants world-wide would probably say the book and the message is more relevant today than at any other time in history.
Today, Theory of Constraints in Vancouver, BC is the favored technique of a small cadre of manufacturers — representing a variety of industries — who enjoy the performance advantages.
Manufacturers who recognize that TOC is not “either/or” with Lean, Six Sigma and ERP stand to out-perform “dogmatic” competitors by a serious margin. The technologies can be used together to much greater effect than individually,
TOC in Canada (Theory of Constraints in Canada) continues to be an important improvement technology. Never approaching the scale of other popular improvement technologies, but remaining steady. Students in relevant programs at BCIT, UBC and Simon Fraser Universities are introduced to Theory of Constraints. In fact, Steve taught the BCIT instructors back in 1990 and the current Instructors on that campus are long-time colleagues.
Steve offers ½-day, 1-day, 2-day and 3-day workshops on the TOC topic, typically addressing Ops-related topics but optionally extending to the powerful TOC Applications in Distribution & Supply Chain, Sales, Marketing, Project Management and Strategy-and-Tactics planning and implementation.
Throughput Accounting for superior decision support is also popular. And Steve offers private coaching on the TOC “Thinking Processes.”
Among these sessions are the TOC’s original “Flagship” sessions where simulation software is used to gain a far deeper level of understanding than a typical “chalk and talk” session can hope to achieve.
A popular speaker at “Professional Development Meetings” of Associations, and at Conferences, as a certified TOC expert and a long-term TOC consultant, Steve is constantly reminded that Canada is a target-rich environment for the nature and scale of improvement offered by Theory of Constraints. Improvements that have been provided by the consultant services of Synchronix Technologies in Vancouver, BC, Canada since 1988.