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What is throughput accounting?

If you’re even slightly familiar with “Lean thinking”, then you would have heard the phrase – “Lean is all about flow!”. There is a good deal of sense in capturing the essence of Lean in that pithy way. (And if you’re familiar with linear programming as well) You might also aver that “Lean is about eliminating waste” – the latter phraseology being the dual of the former i.e. maximizing flow does minimize waste. Observations like these are exciting because, Lean thinking and Optimization borrow insights from each other pointing towards a unity that very much doesn’t exist in the business planning and optimization of an enterprise but exists very much in the fundamental aspects of both disciplines.
In any case, this post is about throughput accounting. I took some time out to familiarize myself with the Theory of Constraints which is where I came across the term and description of Throughput Accounting. Pascal van Cauwenberghe of Thinking for a Change has posted an article at his site that summarizes the key aspects of Throughput Accounting.
Pascal outlines the three basic variables of throughput accounting:

  1. Throughput = fresh money coming in from sales.
  2. Operating Expense = money going out to keep the company going. Once spent, the money is gone (wages, energy, rent

Category: Lean, Theory of Constraints

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