EKS LO22752

Winfried Dressler (winfried.dressler@voith.de)
Tue, 28 Sep 1999 12:32:14 +0200

Replying to LO22736 --

Thank you Gavin for mentioning EKS. EKS has become such a foundation for
my thinking, that it is difficult for me to tell how much of my
understanding of e.g. TOC, LO, 5 disciplines is coloured by this first
course in strategy I took. I recommend this frame work - may be
historically the first of its kind - to be studied and digested by some
core members of the SOL.

>EKS stands for Engpas Konzientriete Strategie, Bottleneck Concentrated

The original meaning of EKS was Energo-Kybernetische Strategie, a very
appealing name for those who felt that strategy has something to do with
cybernetic systems (feedback) and focussing of energy in such systems.
Later, EKS was changed to mean "Engpass kontentrierte Stratege". This name
is easier to understand, but it is also more cooled down. What started as
an systemic discription of an entrepeneuric worldview, became more of a
system of management techniques. Yet I agree wholeheartedly to the system
and the way to teach it - the teaching is a kind of walking the talk -
starting with an overview and repeating the system in successive cycles,
adding more and more details as understanding grows.

>Winfried's father was one of the first to go on this course

It was my father in law who introduced me to the system first.

>It is a pure cybernetic strategy with the focus on solving the bottleneck
>in the environment( as different to theory of constraints [TOC] inside the

TOC as well as EKS are based on the insight that the development of
systems is constrained by very few factors. Dramatic results are always
based on finding these constraints, focussing on them and subordinating
everything else under them.

TOC defines the contraint as that, what limits the generation of goal
units. It can be internal or external and it can be physical, political or
mental. The by far easiest case is an internal, physical constraint. The
market is willing to buy whatever can be produced physically. But already
in Goldratt's The Goal, which deals with this case, it becomes clear, that
the way a production site is run without focussing on the constraint has
political roots which are rooted in mental models - for example the
practice of cost accounting as a way to control cost (necessary!) by
neglecting the systemic nature of the organization (mistake). But by now
TOC very well acknowledges the existance of market constraints (external
constraint). The TOC way to create an "unrefusable offer" is very similar
to the EKS approach.

EKS distinguishes two kinds of contraints: Minimumfactor 1 - The
developmental constraint of a target group in the market, which is an
external constraint. The task is to create and offer a solution, breaking
the constraint. EKS is built on seven steps and the first four focus on
finding exactly that minimumfactor 1 for that specific target group where
you have the best cards in creating a solution. Step 5 (Innovation) is
about creating the solution. Then the internal constraint, Minimumfactor
2, need to be considered: That what prevents you most from making the
innovation real. This Minimumfactor 2 is dealt with in step 6 -

I doubt whether I would have appreciated TOC so much as I do today, where
it not for its capability to answer some questions, which were left open
by EKS, especially in the area of marketing, where I work. For EKS,
marketing is built in in the innovation. It is promised that much more
comes automatically than actually does, in which case EKS blames the
applicant. TOC on the other hand acknowledges the diffuculties which arise
when trying to sell a paradigm shift. Thus TOC has much more potential to
become mainstream than EKS. Still today EKS is restricted to small und
medium size companies, controlled by one entrepreneur who fully grasped
the system and who was able to apply it to his business. But then, many in
deed do become extremely successful. And there may be more full-EKS
companies in Germany than TOC-companies worldwide.

Liebe Gruesse,



"Winfried Dressler" <winfried.dressler@voith.de>

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