Humberto Baptista led a thoughtful discussion on "The Elusive Nature of POOGI" (process of ongoing improvement). He had a lot of fun with the language and suggesting Eli Goldratt left more meaning between the lines for us to discover.
The term comes from the original book title The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement, although most just refer to it as The Goal. Even here, Humberto had some fun with the language. Is the goal to have a process of ongoing improvement?
What is the implication of POOGI? There must be a process that is continuously operating. The process must be focus on (global) improvement. It is not a process of improving everything all the time. It is a process that is continually finding THE thing that will make a dent on the global organization.
Business is like a two-story building. The first floor is the creation of the product/service. The second floor is management and their job is to find opportunities to improve the first floor. This is as vital as producing our goods and services for sale now. POOGI is about ensuring the future.
But why do so many TOC implementations seem to sputter in their application of POOGI? It happens intermittently. It's focused on the wrong thing. Partially this happens because other than the Five Focusing Steps, specifics on how to "do" POOGI aren't very clear. Even more, implementing the traditional TOC applications causes the environment to change - intuitions about the operation may no longer be valid. This suggests that finding that next level of improvement might become more difficult.
So what is a direction for making this work? Define the flow and the key measure(s). Use those to get a view of disruptions. Track those disruptions and blockages to flow. Add in ideas for improvement. Evaluate and filter those ideas on a regular basis, looking for those which will have the biggest impact (on the goal). Pick one and implement. Rinse and repeat. Humberto made a very strong statement that there should just be ONE improvement activity in process at a time.