The TFV Theory of Production: New Developments

Lauri Koskela1, John Rooke2, Sven Bertelsen3 & Guilherme Henrich4

1Professor, School of the Built Environment – University of Salford, 4th Floor, Maxwell Building, The Crescent, Salford, Greater Manchester, M5 4WT, UK, Phone +44 161 2957960, FAX +44 161 2954587, l.j.koskela@salford.ac.uk
2Research Fellow, School of the Built Environment – University of Salford, 4th Floor, Maxwell Building, The Crescent, Salford, Greater Manchester, M5 4WT, UK, Phone +44 161 2956344, FAX +44 161 2954587, j.rooke@salford.ac.uk
3MSc, Consulting Engineer, External Lecturer, Danish Technical University, Roennebaervej 10, app 108, 2840 Holte, DK Denmark, Phone +45 4542 4705, sven@bertelsen.org
4Civil Engineer, M.Sc., MBA, Ph.D. candidate, School of the Built Environment – University of Salford, 4th Floor, Maxwell Building, The Crescent, Salford, Greater Manchester, M5 4WT, UK, Phone +44 161 2954143, FAX +44 161 2954587, g.henrich@pgr.salford.ac.uk

Abstract

This paper aims at reporting new developments in the understanding of the TFV (Transformation-Flow-Value generation) theory of production. This theory identifies three interdependent angles to production: transformation (achieved by resources workers, machines, etc.) oriented (T), materials oriented (F) and customer oriented (V). Fundamental ontological differences in the presuppositions of the three sub theories are pinpointed. In particular, the transformation theory subscribes to thing metaphysics, whilst the value generation theory is based on process metaphysics. It is suggested that for achieving an internal alignment among the sub theories, two different understandings should be distinguished: thing-metaphysics based (TFV)t and process metaphysics based (TFV)p. It is shown that the three different sub theories have often in practice been interpreted according to (TFV)t. However, the fundamental problems associated to this understanding are also pinpointed, and the limited range of application of (TFV)t is noted. In the consideration of (TFV)p, especially the transformation theory has to be reinterpreted as a processual conceptualization. It is suggested, following a hint from Shingo, that transformations equate to work. It is suggested that the traditional command and control (or management-as-planning) mode is in coherence with the (TFV)t theory. Unfortunately, this mode of control amplifies the conceptual shortcomings of the (TFV)t, and it has been found to be inefficient in practice. Instead, for (TFV)p, more holistic modes of control are needed. An initial exploration of control coherent with the (TFV)p conceptualization is made.

Keywords

Transformation, flow, value generation, production, metaphysics.

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Reference

Koskela, L. , Rooke, J. , Bertelsen, S. & Henrich, G. 2007, 'The TFV Theory of Production: New Developments' In:, Pasquire, C.L, C.L. & Tzortzopoulos, P., 15th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction. East Lansing, Michigan, USA, 18-20 Jul 2007.

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