What is Knot Theory?
Well basically, it is a concept in mathematical topology that can be applied not only to math problems but also problems in computer science and biological or medical research as well as physics.
The main purpose of knot theory is to solve two related problems: the equivalence problem where two links determine whether they are equivalent. And the classification problem (Enumerate all the link’s equivalences). It sounds complicated but all you need to know is that Knot theory provides insights into how difficult it is to unknot and re-knot various types of DNA.
This is the same in modern business, if we think about the way our business processes are intertwined, or dare I say knotted together, surely a greater understanding of how those knots came about (and how they might be unknotted and then re-knotted to be more efficient for you and your business) is information that could be beneficial to your overall process.
For example, your supply chain processes are heavily tied to your storage capabilities, your marketing, and your logistics and customer processes, and all of those are tied to your accounting and financial processes, which in turn are tied to your employees and your roles, and lives.
They are all comingled and knotted together like a big ball of wire. But if we can understand all the different connections and re-knot them more efficiently what we end up with is a more efficient and profitable business.
The first step in this is to unknot each of the processes, to see them separately in their own right. Then you identify ones that are equivalent and can be classified together, and where they then need to be tied back into your core. The aim is to streamline how your processes work, to more effectively manage the business workflow.
The purpose is to improve speed and efficiency whilst minimizing delays and bottlenecks. In a supply chain organization, it’s about hitting the balance in maintaining stock levels to support sales, without having large amounts of stock awaiting selling, but still being able to provide a superior level of customer service and support when those sales are attained.