Total Flow Management

Euclides A. Coimbra and his associates at the Kaizen Institute have created a wonderful and detailed work on the application of continuous improvement to supply chains.  Here is a full exploration and application of lean from end to end of the extended value stream that they call Total Flow Management.  Two thumbs up!

Some of the graphics look to once have been powerpoint and when reproduced are to small and grainy to be able to read.  There isn’t an index so finding topics is limited to the table of contents.  The book is hard bound, and printed on good paper.

Some of the vocabulary is odd; “border of line” might be better said as” interface” or “borderline”.

Economic Order Quantity, or as referred to in this book, Wilson’s Formula, is treated in a refreshing way.

We can say that Wilson’s formula still applies today.  The only problem is when people assume that changeover time (or, generally speaking, ordering cost) is rigid and cannot be reduced.  Many people don’t think to do Wilson’s calculations because they are still misled by two strong paradigms: flow at any cost and efficiency at any cost.

The ‘flow at any cost’ paradigm is a rising paradigm that is currently gaining in popularity.  People hear about the wonderful Toyota Production System (TPS) and start to increase the flow by reducing the batch sizes blindly, without looking at Wilson’s formula.  What happens is that the CAPEX requirements explode, because the small batch sizes together with big changeover times decrease efficiency.  The result is that flow is indeed achieved – but at the expense of capital expenditure, not by internally reducing the changeover time and increasing equipment flexibility.  You can see this effect in many rich companies that are implementing Lean manufacturing and the TPS.

For a more in depth review check out Jon Miller’s posting on Gemba Panta Rei,
Review of Total Flow Management by Euclides Coimbra.