TOC Handbook

Theory of Constraints Handbook

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Click here to view the Table of Contents for the entire Theory of Constraints Handbook.

Theory of Constraints Handbook is the definitive guide to Theory of Constraints and covers:

+ Critical Chain Project Management for realizing major  improvements in delivering projects on time, to specification, and within budget

+ Drum-Buffer-Rope (DBR), Buffer Management, and distribution for maximizing throughput and minimizing flow time

+ Performance measures for applying Throughput Accounting to improve organizational performance+ Strategy, marketing, and sales techniques designed to increase sales closing rates and Throughput

+ Thinking Processes for simple and complex environmentsTOC methods to ensure that services actions support escalating demand for services while retaining financial viability

+ Integrating the TOC Thinking Processes, the Strategy and Tactic Tree, TOC measurements, the Five Focusing Steps of TOC, Lean, and Six Sigma as a system of tools for sustainable improvement


A global team of Theory of Constraints gurus thoroughly explain this management and improvement methodology and demonstrate its applications

Theory of Constraints Handbook provides detailed guidance from the world’s top experts on how to implement the management and improvement methodology developed by Dr. Eliyahu Goldratt and made famous in his 1984 book, The Goal. Clear case studies define how the theory works, why it works, what issues are resolved, and what benefits accrue. This authoritative resource discusses strategy, performance measures, operations, supply chains, and project management.

+ The Theory of Constrains Handbook is written by a global team of 43 of the world's top TOC experts

+ Features a lead chapter written by Dr. Eliyahu Goldratt, developer of the TOC, and author of The Goal, which has sold more than 4 million copies worldwide

+ Applies TOC to many different areas--Supply Chain Management, Lean Six Sigma, Marketing, Sales, Finance, Services, and Healthcare
+ Comprehensive coverage of the Theory of Constraints: Founder Perspective; Academic Perspective; Critical Chain Project Management; Problems of CPM; Critical Chain Tutorial/Value Earned Problems; A System for Managing Multi-Project Execution; The Meta Process: How to Create and Evaluate Effective Implementation Processes; Lean Critical Chain; DBR, Buffer Management, and Distribution; Traditional P&C Systems; VATI, DBR, and Buffer Management; From DBR to S-DBR; SDBR in Make-to-Available; Supply Chain; Integrated SC; Performance Measures; Problems of Traditional Measures in Finance and Accounting; Resolving Measurement / Performance Dilemmas; Continuous Improvement and Auditing; Implementing the Theory of Constraints; Strategy, Marketing, and Sales; The Layers of Resistance – The Buy-in Process According to TOC; The Sales Process; Mafia Offers/Pricing/Cash to Cash Cycle; Thinking Processes; Problems with Traditional Problem Solving; Managing Day-to-Day Operations; Thinking Processes Including S&T Trees; TOC for Education; TOC in Prisons; TOC for Personal Productivity; TOC in Services; Problems of Traditional Services; TOC in Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services; TOC in Customer Support Services; TOC in the Medical Practice; TOC in Large Scale Health Care Systems; TOC in Complex Environments; Applications of the S&T Trees in Organizations; Complex Environments; TOC/Lean/Six Sigma Integration

Chapter 22 of the Handbook
Mafia Offers: Dealing with a Market Constraint by Dr Lisa Lang

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Here is an excerpt from Chapter 22 of the Theory of Constraints Handbook titled Mafia Offers: Dealing with a Market Constraint:

A. Introduction: What is a Mafia Offer?

A “Mafia Offer” sounds like something out of a movie, not something that could seriously help you make more money in your business by increasing and controlling your sales.

Dr Goldratt first introduced the concept of a Mafia Offer in his book It’s Not Luck (Goldratt 2002, 133) . Later he defined a Mafia Offer as “an offer they can’t refuse” (Goldratt 2008, 67) . But in writing, he more frequently refers to it as an Un-Refusable Offer (URO) (Goldratt 1999, 120) and more recently he (and Goldratt Consulting) emphasizes the need to establish, capitalize and sustain a Decisive Competitive Edge (Herman & Goldratt) .

For this chapter, I will use the term Mafia Offer and have defined it as follows: “An offer so good that your customers can’t refuse it and your competition can’t or won’t offer the same.” In addition, I will refer to the operational improvements required for a Mafia Offer as the decisive competitive edge, operational advantage, or a competitive advantage.

A Mafia Offer is simply the offer you make to your market – your prospects and customers – to make them desire your products and/or services AND something that your competition can not quickly match. And, of course, the offer you make is a combination of your products, services, and how you deliver them. And for your offer -- the solution you’re selling -- to be un-refusable you are most likely offering something of equal or greater value than the price you are charging.

Many people confuse a Mafia Offer with a Unique Selling Proposition (USP), Customer Value Proposition (CVP), or a Sustainable Competitive Advantage (SCA).

At first blush, it would seem that a Mafia Offer is similar to these other terms you may have heard of; however, when most people are talking about these alternatives they are actually quite different from what we, Theory of Constraints experts, mean by a Mafia Offer.

USPs, CVPs, and SCAs basically take what you already do and state it succinctly and with more specificity aimed at one or a few of their customers’ problems or gaps in current market offerings. These alternatives can be Mafia Offers, but most of the time they are not. Furthermore, a SCA is, in my view, an operational or technological (although these are NOT typically sustainable) advantage and not an offer per se.

Most companies offer solutions that solve their customers various problems or symptoms. With a Mafia Offer we are addressing our customer’s core problem as it relates to doing business with our industry.

A Mafia Offer typically requires that you do something different (make operational improvements to establish a decisive competitive edge) to address your prospect’s core problem. These operational improvements allow you to actually deliver something un-refusable to your customers and something that your competition can't or won't do because they are not willing to or don't know how to make the same improvements. In other words, you have to establish an operational advantage.

In this way, a Mafia Offer is a sustainable market offer built on this advantage. Mafia Offers are not a positioning or a tag line and “can only be created by satisfying a significant need of the market to the extent that no other significant competitor can.” (Herman & Goldratt) A Mafia Offer is where we start if you have a market constraint.


Dr Lisa Lang (known as Dr Lisa) is a Theory of Constraints expert and the foremost expert in the world for applying Theory of Constraints to Marketing. Dr Lisa recently worked for Goldratt Consulting owned by Dr Eliyahu M Goldratt, author of The Goal and father of Theory of Constraints. Dr Lisa developed the Mafia Offer Boot Camp to help companies create unrefuseable offer that competitors could not or would not copy.

© Copyright 2010 Dr Lisa, Inc DBA Science of Business, All Rights Reserved.