Connecting SMEs for a green economy

Flow management in the hydraulic branch

Andreas Bauer's picture

Research method: flow management
Flow management helps businesses achieve efficiency improvements in material and information flows. In this process, the different departments of the company must be placed in the overall context with a depiction of the material and information flows. The next step is to analyze each department in detail. This is done with visualization methods, meaning the graphical illustration of these flows. The illustrations are the basis for formulating objectives and designing concrete measures to improve the existing situation.
Consequently, the first intervention points for the reduction of material losses and efficiency potential along the value chain become visible. The application of flow management offers support for improving processes, organization and communication in the company.
In the project led by Bott, this methodology was used in a team of four employees from the finishing, assembling, purchasing/logistic and sales departments. The emphasis was placed on transportation within the company and the interim storage of unfinished products, as well as on communication between different departments.

Project goals
• Cost savings and increases in efficiency through the detection of inefficient flows
• Reduction of set-up times, throughput times, storage times, thus reducing delivery time
• Improvement of communication within the enterprise, therewith greater employee satisfaction
• Reduction of material losses
• Increase of profitability

• Restructuring of the receiving area and the storage area for unfinished parts as well as for commissioned products. Therewith greater clarity and shorter ways.
• Reduction of processing times for projects through better management of parallel flows (Processing times of projects reduced by approximately 30%).
• Internal transport at fixed times and designated pick-up points to reduce superfluous paths.
• Simplified layout of certificates documenting the take from stock, and therefore greater acceptance among employees and less missing parts (50% less missing parts).
• More precise definition of responsibilities, leading to a reduction of duplication of work.
• Better evaluation of quality standard reports.
• Central documentation of Continuous Improvement Process (CIP) projects, giving all employees access to data.
• High employee motivation through the collaborative design of their own work flows.
• Formation of a permanent team for flow management and continuous improvement.

“We apply the methods of flow management in the framework of our CIP system. After a short period of time it allowed us to quickly recognize, visualize and implement necessary changes. Filling flow management with life in our company, all employees have benefitted from improvements due to the flow management system” Manfred Müller (Quality Officer)

Project implementation:

Wolfgang Bott GmbH & Co. KG

Herr Nico D. Bott
Maybachstr. 4-8
72116 Mössingen
Telefon 07473/94680
Project consulting:
imu Augsburg GmbH & Co. KG

Dr. Stefan Enzler
Gratzmüllerstraße 3
86150 Augsburg
Tel: (0821) 3 43 66 -30

Regional office for the environment, measurement and environmental protection of Baden-Württemberg (LUBW)
BEST program

Dr. Gabriel Striegel
Griesbachstr. 1
76185 Karlsruhe
Tel.: (0721) 5600-2259
Fax: (0721) 5600-2339


c/o Effizienz-Agentur NRW
Henning H. Sittel
Tel. 0203 378 79 51

Green Eco Net
c/o Ecologic-Institut gGmbH
Dr. Martin Hirschnitz-Garbers
Tel. 030 86880 272

Source in german: Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt