Theory of Constraints in Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services (Chapter 29 of the Theory of Constraints Handbook)

John Ricketts


Level of TOC knowledge acquired:



22 pages

Designed for:

Consultants, Implementers, Academics and Managers


Ongoing Improvement









This is an individual chapter of Theory of Constraints Handbook. Theory of Constraints is a highly regarded management innovation that runs contrary to conventional wisdom. TOC is best known in the Manufacturing and Distribution sectors where it originated, but services are the dominant sectors in most economies nowadays.

The Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services (PSTS) sector is notable because many of its services are not repeatable, thereby making TOC much harder to apply. Nevertheless, it can be done. This chapter summarizes how and why TOC has been adapted for PSTS. It includes applications for management of resources, projects, business processes, accounting, marketing, sales, strategy, and implementation.

Among the benefits of TOC are faster services, greater flexibility, and a sensible re-shuffling of management priorities for profitable growth. Simply stated, TOC makes constraints work for you rather than against you. This chapter explains how practitioners can get started with TOC for services, what researchers can contribute, and what students should know.


  • Background
  • What to Change
  • What to Change to
  • How to Cause the Change

Comprehensive coverage of the Theory of Constraints 

Complete Table of contents of the Theory of Constraints Handbook

About the Authors:

James F. Cox III, Ph.D, CFPIM, CIRM, holds TOCICO certifications in all disciplines. He is a Jonah's Jonah, Professor Emeritus, and was the Robert O. Arnold Professor of Business in the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia. Dr. Cox has written three books on TOC.

John Schleier holds TOCICO certifications in all disciplines. He was President and Chief Operating Officer of the Mortgage Services Division of Alltel, Inc., Executive Vice President of Computer Power, Inc., and Director of Office Systems and Data Delivery for IBM.


The Theory of Constraints Handbook: