In this chapter we examined a class of models referred to as network flow models. These included the shortest route network, the minimal spanning tree network, and the maximal flow network model. These network models are all concerned with the flow of an item (or items) through an arrangement of paths (or routes).
We demonstrated solution approaches for each of the three types of network models presented in this chapter. At times it may have seemed tiresome to go through the various steps of these solution methods , when the solutions could have more easily been found by simply looking closely at the networks. However, as the sizes of networks increase, intuitive solution by observation becomes more difficult, thus creating the need for a solution procedure. Of course, as with the other techniques in this text, when a network gets extremely large and complex, computerized solution becomes the best approach.
In the next chapter we will continue our discussion of networks by presenting the network analysis techniques known as CPM and PERT. These network techniques are used primarily for project analysis and are not only the most popular types of network analysis but also two of the most widely applied management science techniques.