The purpose of this paper is to extend the role of the theory of constraints (TOC) to complement, reinforce, and help integrate conventional operations management (OM) concepts by using an Excel‐based version of the dice game discussed in The Goal by Goldratt.
The paper discusses the motivation for and the development and evaluation of an Excel‐based dice game model of a production system for novice managers to experiment with. A set of experiments related to OM concepts (e.g. inventory, capacity, and variability) is designed and counterintuitive results are discussed. The paper concludes by demonstrating how TOC provides an integrative OM framework.
The novel The Goal by Goldratt serves as a comprehensive case study in OM. The computerized dice game provides a mechanism for understanding relationships among various OM concepts. The proposed set of experiments strengthens the linkages between OM and TOC concepts. Managers can conduct additional experiments and predict/interpret the results without spending time in the logistics of setting up the manual dice game repeatedly.
The proposed dice game simulates a fairly simple serial production system so the generalization of results obtained might not be intuitively convincing for more complex production systems. More advanced OM concepts such as push (MRP) and pull (JIT) systems can easily be investigated using the underling logic of the dice game proposed here.
The model provides an innovative way to integrate TOC concepts with mainstream OM concepts and thereby, renews interest in OM.
Several versions of dice games, both manual and spreadsheet based, have appeared in the literature, however, none attempt to address as wide a variety of operations issues as the game proposed here.
Gupta, M. and Boyd, L. (2011), "An Excel‐based dice game: an integrative learning activity in operations management", International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 31 No. 6, pp. 608-630. https://doi.org/10.1108/01443571111131962Download as .RIS
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