Improving Performance of Process Flows

Chang-Sun Chin1 & Jeffrey S. Russell2

1Ph.D. Candidate, Construction Engineering and Management Program, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Wisconsin, Madison,
2Professor and Chair, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Wisconsin, Madison,


A process flow is a sequence of processes and stock points through which entities pass in sequence. At the level of a flow, the performance metrics related to overall system performance are throughput, cycle time and work-in-process. Understanding relationships between these metrics and flow behaviour is most important part to improve process flow performance and design high efficiency flows. A system can perform completely differently under different conditions. By comparing flow performance in a present state with those in theoretically possible states that a system can reach, we can determine whether a process flow is good or bad. The research defines process flow performance metrics as well as their relationships, and suggests a method to evaluate process flow performance using the flow metrics. The outcome will provide an internal benchmark of a process flow and different routes for process flow improvement.


process flow, bottleneck rate, raw process time, critical WIP, practical worst case performance, internal benchmark



Chin, C. & Russell, J.S. 2008, 'Improving Performance of Process Flows' In:, Tzortzopoulos, P. & Kagioglou, M., 16th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction. Manchester, UK, 16-18 Jul 2008. pp 39-49

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