Quick Response Manufacturing (QRM)

Flickr  © Nathan
Flickr © Nathan

In today’s world of competitive environment, one of the key success factors for manufacturing firms is speed-not only speed of delivery, but of concept, design and production. Quick Response Manufacturing (QRM) is a company wide strategy to cut lead times in all phases of manufacturing and office operations. It can bring the manufacturing firm’s products to market more quickly and secure its business prospects by helping to compete in a rapidly changing manufacturing arena.

QRM reduces both external and internal lead times throughout an organization. Reducing external lead times means rapidly designing and manufacturing products for specific customer needs. The internal aspect focuses on reducing lead times for all tasks within the enterprise, such as the time to approve an engineering change or the time to issue a purchase order to a supplier.

Dr. Rajan Suri, the architect of QRM mentioned that it is based on four core concepts:

Realizing the Power of Time – Lead time is much more important than most managers realize. Long lead times create many organizational costs — much more than just WIP and Finished Goods! Such costs are four to five times labor costs. Shrinking these costs is a much bigger opportunity than reducing labor.

Rethinking Organization Structure – QRM transforms traditional functional departments into an organization consisting of “QRM Cells.” Although the cell concept has been known for some time, QRM Cells are more flexible, more holistic, and apply outside the shop floor too.

Exploiting System DynamicsBy getting managers to understand how capacity, batch sizes and other factors impact lead times, QRM enables them to make improved decisions that result in shorter lead times.

Implementing a Unified Strategy Enterprise-wideQRM is not just a shop floor approach; it is applied throughout the enterprise. This includes material planning and control, purchasing and supply chain, quoting, order processing and new product development. QRM provides a single, unifying approach for the entire enterprise.

However if a manufacturing company competes in a market that has large fluctuations in demand, QRM may not be the most appropriate business enabler. To react to demand, a manufacturing firm must closely partner with suppliers that will quickly accommodate the firm’s production schedule. It means increased reliance on suppliers. QRM is a business enabling philosophy that pushes authority down to lower levels and therefore, changes the roles and responsibilities of the employees. Employees can be extremely apathetic to these changes, which is an obstacle that could significantly hinder the implementation process and the success of QRM.

Asprova’s advanced planning and scheduling function allows manufacturers to gain market share and increase profitability by developing maximum flexibility and response in manufacturing to adjust quickly to changes in customer demand. Our ingenious software eliminates the barrier and overhead associated with schedule-driven manufacturing, providing QRM companies benefit from dramatically reduced working capital, improved quality and more flexible employees.

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