Eliyahu M. Goldratt

Eliyahu M. Goldratt
Born (1947-03-31)March 31, 1947
Mandatory Palestine
Died June 11, 2011(2011-06-11) (aged 64)
Nationality Israeli
Fields Theory of Constraints
Operations Research
Organizational Psychology
Management Science
Known for Theory of Constraints
Cause and Effect thinking
Slayer of Paradigms

Eliyahu Moshe Goldratt (March 31, 1947 – June 11, 2011) was an Israeli business management guru.[1][2] He was the originator of the Optimized Production Technique, the Theory of Constraints (TOC), the Thinking Processes, Drum-Buffer-Rope, Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM) and other TOC derived tools.

He authored several business novels and non-fiction works, mainly on the application of the theory of constraints to various manufacturing, engineering, and other business processes.

The processes are typically modeled as resource flows, the constraints typically represent limits on flows. In his book The Goal, the protagonist is a manager in charge of a troubled manufacturing operation. At any point in time, one particular constraint (such as inadequate capacity at a machine tool) limits total system throughput, and when the constraint is resolved, another constraint becomes the critical one. The plot of Goldratt's stories revolve around identifying the current limiting constraint and raising it, which is followed by finding out which is the next limiting constraint. Another common theme is that the system being analyzed has excess capacity at a number of non-critical points, which, contrary to conventional wisdom, is absolutely essential to ensure constant operation of the constrained resource.


Eliyahu M. Goldratt's grave

Born in Israel into a rabbinic family, the son of Avraham-Yehuda Goldrat, Goldratt went on to become a physicist. He obtained his Bachelor of Science degree from Tel Aviv University, and his Masters of Science and Doctorate of Philosophy degrees from Bar-Ilan University. Goldratt died June 11, 2011 at noon, at his home in Israel.[3]


Creative output years

After some experience helping Israeli manufacturers, Goldratt left the academic world to join a company called Creative Output. The company developed and sold a software package, the Optimized Production Technology (OPT). OPT was billed as the first software to provide finite capacity scheduling for production environments. This software and the principles behind it were analyzed by a number of major publications[4]

Goldratt was actively involved in many controversies such as Cost Accounting v Throughput Accounting[5] and culminated in the publication of A Town Without Walls.[6]

Within the company, Goldratt noticed elements that made him uncomfortable[7] several software implementations did not come close to their estimated potential. After some work, Goldratt discovered that the habits and assumptions (paradigms) of employees and managers prior to using the software were still prominent and negatively influenced results after implementation.[7]

His answer was the book The Goal that took 13 months to write. After completion, the book was not well received by the company staff and by large publishers.[7] Finally, with help from Larry Gadd the owner of North River Press, the book was published and became a great success.[8] After a while, Goldratt noticed that many implementations were conducted using the Book but not the software. This caused further stress in the company and Goldratt tried to capture the essence of how to implement the solution directly in what is now known as Drum-Buffer-Rope method. He published The Race to explain some of the concepts he was working on and developed a course to teach people how to manage their production using a computer simulation game.

Goldratt tried to move the company down the path of "consulting," trying to help people rethink the way they did things, but Creative Output's declining revenues and Goldratt involvement with anything but the sales of OPT software convinced the shareholders to fire Goldratt (and afterward his closer collaborators).

Avraham Y. Goldratt Institute years

After leaving Creative Output circa 1985, Goldratt created the Avraham Y Goldratt Institute[9] or AGI (named after his father) to promote the Theory of Constraints and help it be implemented worldwide.

During the time of the AGI, Goldratt got deeply involved with the further development of TOC, mainly the Thinking Processes (and launched it publicly in 1991), Critical Chain Project Management and other applications. His concepts influenced applications outside manufacturing and supply management, including the field of sales process engineering.[10]

In 1997, Goldratt followed his plan to retire from the Institute prior to his 50th birthday.

Goldratt Group years

From the beginning of the 2000s, Goldratt created the self-funded Goldratt Group and launched the Viable Vision initiative.

He continued the development of TOC both in the Goldratt Group and in active support for other developments like TOC for Education, TOC in Healthcare, TOC for the Individual (in the continuity of the Odyssey Program, and the publishing of The Choice).


Goldratt produced many works. Some of the more noteworthy are:

  • The Goal (fiction, 1984) introduces TOC process for improving organizations and briefly TOC's accounting aspects. While set in a manufacturing company, the book provides the context for a more generic approach to continuous improvement.[11]
  • The Race (non-fiction, 1986) further develops the logistical system called drum-buffer-rope (DBR), based on metaphors developed in The Goal.[11]
  • The Haystack Syndrome (non-fiction, 1990) looks deeper at the idea of performance measurements, examines differences between data and information, and explains the logic of the need for information.[11]
  • What is This Thing Called Theory of Constraints and How Should it be Implemented? (non-fiction, 1990) addresses the five focusing steps of on-going improvement and fundamentals of the Thinking processes.[11]

More recent works:

  • The Choice (2008) Talks about Goldratt's thought-provoking approach, this time through a conversation with his daughter Efrat, as he explains to her his fundamental system of beliefs. A second edition is planned for publishing which includes Efrat's own notes she made during the conversation with her father, helping the reader determine the true essence of the book.
  • Isn't it Obvious (fiction, 2009) Goldratt's newest book looks into retail. Ilan Eshkoli and Joe Leer Brown are co-authors. The story is about a husband (manager) and wife (purchaser) working in her family's retail chain. An unexpected crisis helps them to find new ways of doing things - ending in success.


Business novels

Nonfiction books

Other media publications

Magazines and journals

Theory of Constraints Journal

Industry Week

Other magazines/journals

Chapters in books

Other works


White papers and other unpublished works

Conference presentations

See also


  1. McClenahen, John S: "Manufacturing's Influential Thinkers & Doers" Retrieved on: October 24, 2008.
  2. "Tales out of business school." The Economist. (January 21, 1995). 334 (7898), 63
  3. "Eliyahu M. Goldratt, Renowned Business 'Guru' and Author of International Best-Selling Business Novel 'The Goal,' Dies at Age 64", "PR Newswire", June 14, 2011. Retrieved June 16, 2011.
  4. G. Bylinsky. An Efficiency guru with a brown box. Fortune; 120 (September 1983)
  5. Goldratt, E. M.; Cost accounting is enemy number one of productivity. International Conference Proceedings, American Production and Inventory Control Society (APICS) (October 1983).
  6. Goldratt, Eliyahu M. & Plossl, George; A Town Without Walls. Whitepaper, distributed during APICS 1984 International Conference in Las Vegas/USA
  7. 1 2 3 Goldratt, Eliyahu M.; My Saga to Improve Production. For instance, in the second edition of The Goal
  8. Laurence Gadd. Preface to The Choice
  9. "AGI Goldratt Institute". Retrieved June 13, 2011.
  10. Paul H. Selden (1997). Sales Process Engineering: A Personal Workshop. Milwaukee, WI: ASQ Quality Press. pp. 33–35, 264–268.
  11. 1 2 3 4 5 Shams-ur Rahman, (1998) "Theory of constraints: A review of the philosophy and its applications", International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 18 Iss: 4, pp.336 - 355
  12. , accessed Feb. 4, 2010
  13. https://www.toc.tv/TV/video.php?id=105
  14. https://www.toc.tv/TV/video.php?id=125
  15. https://www.toc.tv/TV/video.php?id=455
  16. https://www.toc.tv/TV/video.php?id=56
  17. https://www.toc.tv/TV/video.php?id=166
  18. https://www.toc.tv/TV/video.php?id=291
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