Quick Response Manufacturing Assignment

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Quick response manufacturing (or QRM) emphasizes the beneficial effect of reducing external and internal lead times. Within the organization, shorter lead times reduce cost, improve quality, and eliminate non-value-added waste, while simultaneously increasing the market share and the organization’s competitiveness, by serving customers faster and better. QRM time-based framework accommodates strategic variability like offering custom-engineered products while eliminating dysfunctional variabilities such as changing due dates and rework. Because of this reason, companies making products in varying volumes or low have used QRM as a complement or alternative to other strategies such as total quality management Kaizen or Six Sigma. QRM is rooted in the concept of  TBC or Time-based competition in the 1980s, pioneered by Japanese enterprises.  It was first formulated in 1988 by George Stalk Jr. article entitled Time- The next source of competitive advantage. Time-based competition is a broad-based competitive strategy that emphasizes time as the major factor for maintaining and achieving a sustainable competitive advantage. It seeks to compress the time required to develop, propose, market, manufacture and deliver products. Quick Response Management is a companywide management strategy that applies to a wide variety of businesses. Quick Response in a particular industry primarily stands for a specific business model. The important difference to note here is that Quick Response was a competitive industry initiative which was introduced in the US Textile Industry in 1984 as a means of improving efficiencies in supply chain and manufacturing processes and was prior to Stalk’s seminal article, one of the earliest pioneers of putting into practice time-based competition. In the late 1980s, Rajan Suri at first developed the concept of Quick Response Manufacturing (QRM). Suri in 1993, along with academic colleagues at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, few U.S. Midwest companies launched the Center for Quick Response Manufacturing. The newly coined term QRM or Quick Response Manufacturing signifies the new strategy.

  • Singular focus on lead time reduction
  • Manufacturing Critical-path Time (MCT) metric to measure lead time
  • Focus on implementation and sustainability
  • Novel performance measure
  • Specific QRM principles on how to rethink equipment decision and manufacturing process
  • New control approaches and material planning
  • Inclusion of basic principles of systems dynamics for providing insight on how to best restructure an enterprise for achieving quick response
  • Use of cellular organization structure through the business with more flexible and holistic cells
  • The companywide approach that reaches beyond the shop floor to other areas such as the supply chain and the office operations.
  • Clarification of the misconceptions and misunderstanding that managers have about the application of time-based strategies
  • Focus on manufacturing enterprises
  • Singular focus on lead time reduction

U.S. manufacturing firms, traditionally, have focused on cost management strategies and on a scale, which is based on the division of labor practices pioneered by Henry Ford and formalized by Frederick Winslow Taylor. From the time-based perspective of QRM, the hierarchical department structures and the high degree of labor specialization at purely cost-based organizations have the following negative effects on lead times:

  • Product and products orders require long routes through numerous departments
  • Hierarchical communication structures involve various management levels that require a significant amount of time to resolve routine issues
  • Focus on resource utilization and efficiency encourages managers and workers to build backlogs, slowing the response to customer requests
  • Trying to minimize managers and workers resort to run large batch size, costly machine setups. Large batch sizes result in the long run times, increasing lead times and leaving other jobs waiting.
  • Low skill levels lead to high levels of rework and low quality.
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