1st Edition

The TLS Continuum Field Guide How Theory of Constraints, Lean, and Six Sigma Will Transform Your Operations and Process Flow

By Daniel T. Bloom Copyright 2024
    272 Pages 49 B/W Illustrations
    by Productivity Press

    272 Pages 49 B/W Illustrations
    by Productivity Press

    272 Pages 49 B/W Illustrations
    by Productivity Press

    This book provides a roadmap for implementing a powerful technique will reduce waste and accelerate flow within a process -- The TLS Continuum methodology.

    The letters TLS stand for the three components of the continuum. The letter T stands for the Theory of Constraints. Created by Dr. Eliyahu Goldratt in his book The Goal, it is a critically thinking-based system for determining where the obstacles lie within your organization. Through the use of various tools, it asks you to determine where the obstacles are in the process. The purpose of the Theory of Constraints (TOC) involvement in the continuum is to determine what needs to be changed, how to change it and how to accomplish the change. TOC operates at the level of the chain looking for the weakest link. It is in essence the hypothesis of the problem-solving method overall.

    The letter L stands for Lean. Most organizations are familiar with the concept of Lean. It is centered around removing waste from the organizational processes so that the customer receives their orders faster. Understand that faster may not mean cheaper or better quality, it means only that we expedite the process.

    The final letter is S and it represents the concepts of Six Sigma. The primary goal here is remove variation from the processes.

    If we combine the three letters of the acronym what we find that the TLS continuum is organized around a process in itself. We use the Theory of Constraints to locate and identify the obstacles within the system. What is holding up the process? Where is the weakest link in the process? With the introduction of TOC, the system asks you to elevate the obstacles and determine how to remove them.

    We use Lean to do what it is meant to do and that is to remove the obstacles. We have identified the obstacle and determined through the critical thinking tools how to remove that obstacle and then use the Lean tools to actually remove the waste.

    Finally, the system utilizes the Six Sigma tools to create the standard of work and remove any variation from the process. When we do this, we have completed the improvement process by creating a progressive system for resolving the problems that occur within many organizations. It is an evidence-based effort to identify, remove and improve the system so the problem does not recur.

    List of Figures                                                                         8                     


    Foreword                                                                                            10

    Preface                                                                                                11


    About the Author

    List of Abbreviations                                                                           13

    Part 1: The Foundation: The TLS Continuum                                    17

    1.  Cycle vs. Continuum                                              20

    2. What is the TLS Continuum?                                  27

    3. Principles of the Theory of Constraints                  29

    4. Principles of Lean                                                   39

    5. Principles of Six Sigma                                           56

    6. Continuum Framework                                           67


    Part 2: Continuous Process Improvement Journey                             76                               

    7. What is a goal?                                                       82

    8. Identification of the goal                                         90

    9. Creating the goal statement                                    97


    Part 3: Defining the Boundaries                                                         105

    10. Identification of the supply chain partners           113

    11. The role of cross-functional teams                       122

    12. Team roles and responsibilities                             140


    Part 4: Identification of the System Constraints                                 147

    13. Establishing the current process state                  151

    14. Determining the future process state                    168

    15. Determining the gap analysis                              181


    Part 5: Elevating the System Constraint                                            188

                16. Removing Non-Value- Added Waste                     191

                17. Drum-Buffer-Rope                                                207     




    Part 6: Organizational Implementation of the TLS Continuum                     218     

    18. The TLS Continuum Manifesto                                         220                                         

    19. Implementation Purpose                                                   228

    20. The Voice of the Customer Pillar                                     201

    21 The Corporate Alignment Pillar                                        242

    22. The Continuous Process Improvement Pillar                   249

    23.  The TLS Continuum Journey to Process Improvement   257

    Further Readings                                                                                267





    Daniel T. Bloom, SPHR, SSBB, SCRP, is the founder and chief executive officer of Daniel Bloom & Associates, Inc. Founded in 1980, DBAI is a Largo, Florida–based human capital consulting firm dedicated to helping clients create strategic, innovative, and aligned organizations. He is a well-respected author, speaker, and HR Strategist, who has worked as a contingency executive recruiter, a member of the internal HR staff of a Fortune 1000 corporation, and as a Corporate Relocation Director for several real estate firms. He is an active participant within the HR Social Media scene maintaining Blogs on BestThinking.com, Wordpress, Human Capital League, Blogger, Toolbox for HR, and others.

    Since 1980 he has written over 40 articles and white papers which have appeared in the professional press and online. Dan is also a frequent contributor to the HR site Hirecentrix. He is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management, Worldwide ERC, and a Professional member of the National Speakers Association. He currently serves as a member of the Engineering Technology and Building Arts Advisory Board at St. Petersburg College.

    After 30 years involvement in the industry, he is a Subject Matter Expert on issues surrounding Domestic Relocation issues. A graduate of Parsons College with a degree in Education, Daniel Bloom is certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR); a Six Sigma Black Belt, and a Senior Certified Relocation Professional. He founded Daniel Bloom & Associates, Inc. in 1980 following a layoff from the HR department of the ECI Division of E-Systems.

    One of the things I love about Dan Bloom’s books is the ease at which they can be read and more importantly, understood. And certainly, this applies to Dan’s new book, The TLS Continuum Feld Guide! Once again, Dan has clearly demonstrated his knowledge of the three components within the TLS Continuum, namely the Theory of Constraints, Lean, and Six Sigma. I am particularly impressed with chapters 3, 4, and 5, as Dan presents the principles of each of the individual components of the TLS Continuum. Why do I especially like these three chapters? Like any methodology, understanding the basic principles of each component in any methodology forms the basis for how and why things work. And Dan does an outstanding job in presenting the basic principles of TOC, Lean, and Six Sigma. The other thing that I truly enjoy about Dan’s new book is the emphasis he places on the Theory of Constraints. I have been using the Theory of Constraints (TOC) for quite a few years simply because I believe it is the most vital part of any improvement initiative. I’m not saying that Lean and Six Sigma aren’t important, because they are. What I am saying is that by using TOC in conjunction with Lean and Six Sigma, the improvement efforts will be focused and directed on that part of the system that will maximize profitability. Throughout Dan’s new book, it’s very clear that Dan has embraced the importance of TOC and delivers the TLS Continuum beautifully! It is with deep humility that I congratulate Dan for writing another incredible book and I highly recommend this book to everyone! In fact, in my opinion, the TLS Continuum Field Guide is Dan’s best book to date! Great job Dan and please keep writing!

    -- Bob Sproull, Author,  Focus and Leverage

    Daniel's TLC Continuum Field book, his latest book, encompasses all the tenets of Lean Six Sigma and Continuous Improvement science practices and methodology based on empirical and theoretical foundations. From the perspective of a former public-school educator and established and successful HR professional, his experience, insight and understanding where organizations fall short in their operations, processes, and, most importantly, their leadership and cultures, is second to none! If you are seeking inspiration and motivation to move yourself and your organization forward as a professional, regardless of your sector, this field book is an excellent place to start. I highly recommend it.

    --Bill Horniak, HEI & K12 Education Advisor & Consultant

    Blending the Theory of Constraint and Lean Six Sigma (TLS) increases efficiency and enhances data-driven decision-making. Daniel T. Bloom provides an excellent roadmap on how to accomplish this effort.
    -- Terra Vanzant Stern, Ph.D., CEO of SSD Global Solutions, Lean and Agile Project Management author.

    This book is an absolute must-read for anyone who wants to acquire a masterful foundation of Lean Sigma along with various tools, techniques, and applications. Daniel has done a wonderful job blending the concepts with real hands-on examples that are applicable across all industries and functions. One of the best “How to Books” I’ve read in years.

    -- William Mazurek, President of Maz-Tec & Associates, Adjunct Professor / Master Black Belt.

    In war, sports, and politics, we often declare one side true and virtuous and the other side foolish and evil, but there is always something that can be learned from both sides.  The “war” between the supporters of Lean, Six Sigma, and the Theory of Constraints is the same.  In his latest book, Daniel Bloom presents a TLS Continuum manifesto – a clear picture explaining how the Theory of Constraints, Lean, and Six Sigma can and should be combined into a continuum (rather than a cycle).  If you enjoyed “he Goal, but were left wondering how to combine Goldratt’s ideals with the scientific rigor of Six Sigma, then this book is for you. 

    -- Jeremy Garrett, CSSBB, CQE, CRE