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A Section from "The Continuous Improvement Development Guide"

Volume 5: Ramping Up >

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Focus on Flow (Principle)

Basic Section Information

Flow is a central concept in Lean operations. It is basically the premise that work should never sit. With this as a target, several things happen. The first is that lot sizes are reduced. Work doesn’t flow if it has to wait for a production run to be completed.

Flow also drives waste reduction. The things that prevent flow all tend to be wasteful and costly. Excessive distances between processes, waiting time, poor parts quality, and the like are all reasons why batching is commonplace. The only way to achieve flow is to relentlessly remove that waste.

In addition to the obvious cost benefits, operations that flow move much more quickly. The lead time from when a customer orders a product until they have it in their hands is much shorter in a production process that focuses on flow.


CI Transformation Principles are the guiding rules that apply to all companies that are trying to make changes. They are similar to natural laws. Learn more about how principles guide your Lean journey in our entry on ‘Principles and Values.’


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