Increased customization has strengthened the importance of make-to-order companies. The advent of lean management and the introduction of smart and flexible technologies has enabled many of these companies to create flow shop routings. Order review and release (ORR) research, which originally focused on job shops, has started paying attention to flow shops. However, the results have not provided clarity on the best ORR method for flow shops. This study aims at developing such a method by applying a modular design approach. It identifies the relevant elements of ORR methods for flow shops, combines them into new methods and evaluates them in a simulation study. The simulation results demonstrate that performance in pure flow shops can be strongly improved by applying the right combination of workload measures, load balancing, and order dispatching. Specifically, the results show that (1) classical workload measures are still as effective as novel measures that have been suggested for flow shops, (2) balancing workloads explicitly through optimization at the order release stage strongly improves performance, and (3) shortest processing time dispatching is highly effective in flow shops as it avoids starvation of stations. In-depth analyses have been executed to unravel the reasons of performance improvements. As such, the article provides clarity on the improvement potential that is available for ORR in flow shops, while the new modular methods provide a first step in exploiting this potential.