In all manufacturing operations the sequence, raw materials to components to products, is followed to some degree. Cross‐sectional component flow analysis (CSCFA), or more simply the production “funnel”, is a convenient method for describing in graphical terms the number of physically different items which occur at different levels of the manufacturing process. It provides a useful means of illustrating the nature of the overall operations system of a company and provides a “quick‐and‐dirty” first approach to getting the measure of this system and focusing attention on areas of likely improvement. The approach is particularly useful for those acting in a consulting capacity to manufacturing companies—either as external advisers or on an internal basis as members of a head office staff. Practising production managers should also find it quite a novel way of looking at their own systems which may well unearth many hidden features.
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