The Theory of Constraints Thinking Processes are little-known to most TOC users, who tend to focus on the applications.
While Eli Goldratt had them in mind for a while before they emerged as solid tools from a team effort, they were triggered when early TOC users successfully implemented the TOC Production approach (Drum Buffer Rope), achieved spectacular performance, but had no clue as to how to increase sales to capitalize on it. This highlighted the need for there to be some "Thinking Processes" that TOC users could use to construct their own applications (for example, the application to sales and marketing).
Eli, partners, and Certified Associated initially took these planning tools from concept to reality over a 4- or 5-year period, during which the challenges came in phases.
First, actually definining the Thinking Processes and "proceduralizing" them. Then, working out how to teach them. Then, working out how to teach people to teach them. Then, how to teach people to teach the teachers.
The Processes themselves have an elegant symmetry to them; and this has remained as they have been refined over the years.
Unique Planning & Analytical Tools for Managers
The "TOC Thinking Processes" are the Theory of Constraint ’s analytical, planning, problem-solving and communication processes, and they can be used by any organization to improve performance by constructing a powerful and practical solution to their own, specific core problems.
The TOC Thinking Processes were initially developed to enable manufacturers to methodically identify and overcome the Policy Constraints that inhibited them from continuous, rapid, order-of-magnitude performance improvement. Eli's perception at the time was that software wasn't the solution; he'd been that route with OPT. And he didn't think consultants were the solution ... he'd thrown his consultants into situations to see great improvements eventually stagnate when the consultants weren't constantly in play.
The answer ... teach managers how to think like "Jonah" in the book "The Goal."
The Thinking Processes are integral to all the TOC applications that have been developed since the original Synchronous Manufacturing (aka the TOC production approach). That includes Critical Chain Project Management, Distribution & Supply Chain, Throughput Accounting, the Sales Solution, the Marketing Solution and the TOC approach to Strategic Planning.
Managers can also use these Thinking processes to help them deal more effectively with many management issues that arise during a day – including minor and major conflict resolution.
The tools enable managers to find win/win solutions that are not compromises, but provide a genuine win/win.