The Theory of Constraints: Knowing Your Clinic's Bottleneck

At BSAVA PetsApp CEO and Co-founder discussed the 'Theory of Constraints' and knowing your clinic's current (single) bottleneck. So what is the theory of constraints and how is it possible to have only one bottleneck, when it often feels like we are fighting against so much more?

What is the Theory of Constraints?

The theory of constraints (TOC) is a management paradigm that views any manageable system as being limited in achieving more of its goals by a very small number of constraint or bottlenecks. TOC uses the strategy that there is always only ever one constraint at any given time. Adopting the common idiom that "a chain is only as strong as its weakest link". TOC enthusiasts focus on the process to identify the current weakest link or bottleneck that is causing success rates to be constrained. Once identified a team can then restructure to resolve the issue, before moving on to identify the next possible bottleneck that might appear.

What is Meant by 'Bottleneck'?

In literal terms it is a narrow section that impedes flow. In project management, a bottleneck is a process in a chain of processes, that limits capacity, weakening the whole chain and as a result lowering the chance of successful outcomes. A bottleneck might be represented by a stall in production, low staff retention rates or a high volume of calls to your reception.

Putting the theory of constraints into practice and highlighting your business's single bottleneck will help you to hold yourself and your team accountable to resolving the issue. Many may argue and even protest that there are multiple, possibly many issues, plaguing progress, but being resolute to the theory that at any one time there is only one bottleneck, means you can set your focus to solve that bottleneck before moving on to identify the next.

Dr Thom Jenkins Speaking at BSAVA

Solving your bottleneck

One and Done

There may only ever be one bottleneck to resolve at any given time however, that does not mean you're done, once you fix the one. Something that keeps business management people super happy is the fact that as soon as you solve for your one bottleneck, another one will always pop up! But that's ok because you've always only ever got one bottleneck in your business. One issue at a time is easier to focus and combat, than the overwhelming chaos of trying to search out each and every fault. So, solve that one bottleneck and nothing else. And then when the bottleneck moves, identify the next bottleneck and move to solve that. But allow yourself the process of 'one by one' elimination and your success rate for resolving the constraints within your business will dramatically increase. Understanding your true bottleneck and working to solve it will also often inevitably resolve many of the other issues you anticipate.

About Thom Jenkins

Qualified vet, co-founder & CEO of PetsApp. PetsApp provides an app-based client engagement and telemedicine solution for veterinary clinics, enabling them to better engage with pet owners and better advocate for their patients. Our product includes role-based text chat, with the potential to engage the capabilities of the entire veterinary team, as well as video consultation and payment processing capabilities.

The core value proposition to clinics include: monetisation of a previously un-monetisable touchpoint (the phone call!), capacity utilisation improvements, and lead generation. We thinks it's wrong that 92% of all pet issues go unaddressed by veterinary expertise, and we want to help veterinary clinics solve for that.

For more veterinary growth hacks and tips, why not also watch: Veterinary Growth Hacks: Tips For Scalable Success with Drs Peter Weinstein & Thom Jenkins:

Veterinary Growth Hacks: Tips For Scalable Success 📈

Request to watch in your own time.

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