Quick Response Manufacturing (QRM)


A Competitive Strategy for Low-Volume and Custom-Engineered Products

Quick Response Manufacturing (QRM) is a companywide strategy for lead time reduction throughout the enterprise. Using QRM, companies have reduced their lead times by 80-90%. As a result, these companies have not only seen large increases in market share, but also experienced 15-20% cost reduction and huge quality improvement. Although Lean Manufacturing techniques can be powerful in certain situations, for companies making low-volume or custom-engineered products, Lean techniques do not always apply well.

QRM can be a more effective, competitive strategy for companies targeting such markets. In addition, companies find that the lead time and cost reductions r4esulting from QRM enable them to compete effectively against low-cost countries.

This workshop will consist of two parts:

  • An Overview of QRM Principles & Strategy
  • Practical, Hands-on Manufacturing Critical-path Time (MCT)-Mapping Exercises

Overview of QRM Strategy

  1. The Power of Time: The non-obvious reasons why lead time is important (much more important than most managers realize), how it influences total operating cost and quality and how to take advantage of this realization.
  2. Organizational Structure: How to restructure your organization to minimize lead time throughout the enterprise.
  3. System Dynamics: How interactions between machines, people and products impact your lead times. As a result, capacity planning policies (e.g. machine and labor utilization) and lot sizing policies need to be rethought for QRM.
  4. Enterprise-wide Application: QRM is not just a shop floor approach; it is applied throughout the organization. This includes material planning and control, purchasing and supply chain management, office operations such as estimating and order processing and new product development. You will also see data on the “bottom line” impact of QRM on product cost, quality and lead times.

Using MCT-Mapping to Identify Lead Time Reduction Opportunities

In partnership with colleagues from major corporations, Suri has developed the concept of Manufacturing Critical-path Time (MCT), a precise metric, which highlights improvement opportunities by clearly quantifying system-wide waste. The metric can be used for both your internal operations as well as for your supply chain.

In this portion of the workshop, you will first learn the detailed definition of MCT and understand the business case for using MCT. You will learn how to calculate MCT correctly for various situations by working on numerical examples. You will learn how to use MCT-Mapping to communicate opportunities and convince management. You will also learn the differences between MCT-Mapping and Value Stream Mapping (VSM) and see why MCT-Mapping more clearly identifies opportunities for lead time reduction.

Both parts of this workshop will combine theory with practical examples using case studies of many companies that have implemented QRM in both USA and Europe.

** Bonus **

 Attendees will receive a copy of Suri’s books: 

It’s About Time: The Competitive Advantage of Quick Response Manufacturing and MCT Quick Reference Guide.


Rajan Suri is Emeritus Professor of Industrial Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He received his Bachelors degree from Cambridge University (England) and his M.S. and Ph.D. from Harvard University. Professor Suri is the Founding Director of the Center for Quick Response Manufacturing (QRM) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, through which around 300 companies have worked with the University on developing and implementing QRM strategies. Click here to learn more about Professor Suri.

**Currently only accepting registrations for a minimum of three, maximum of five attendees per company.** This training qualifies for WEDnetPA funding as Essential Skills Training.