I went to see The Incredibles (great film by the way) the other day at a theater I hadn’t been in before and I was struck by the difference as soon as I walked in the door. You buy your tickets the normal way (or online), but the snack bar has been changed into a mini-supermarket/deli. The great feature about this change is I can pick up all the food I want without waiting in line (except popcorn and some deli items). You pay at a supermarket style checkout stand. This is great since now you don’t have to wait for the guy who needs to buy popcorn for the 6 kids he has with him (oh and by the way they ran out of popcorn and have to pop more) when I just want a soda.
This is a great application of the Theory of Constraints (ToC). ToC in its simplest form is examining a system for the largest constraint and then making that constraint go away. This exposes a new constraint and you keep repeating. I don’t claim to be an expert in TOC, but rather a beginning student. I do find it interesting that once you start thinking about systems this way your world view changes in a way that is similar to getting object orientation, test driven development, self managing teams, etc.
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