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, [email protected]
2Professor and Chair, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Wisconsin, Madison, [email protected]


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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