Quick response manufacturing is the latest development in lean manufacturing where companies have progressed from the just-in-time (JIT) methodologies of the 1970’s. The QRM process looks at how lead times across the company can be reduced to increase productivity. Customer satisfaction is an important driver for businesses and the ability to respond quickly to customer’s requirements is a leading factor behind QRM. Customers expect their vendors to respond to their requirements, so by adopting QRM processes companies may have an advantage in winning business.
When a company implements QRM, the process of reducing lead times should be adopted throughout the organization. The company should also include analysis techniques and tools, and a step-by-step methodology to achieve the required reduction in lead times.
QRM is often implemented by two types of businesses. The first type is a company that produces highly engineered material in small batches. The other type of company to implement QRM is one that does not need to engineer each item, but has a very large number of different items with highly variable demand for each.
Implementing QRM requires that the whole organization understands and it part of the process. In addition both management and employees should understand the manufacturing systems that in place at the company, especially those that affect lead times. However, lead times are not always determined by manufacturing processes. The purchase of raw materials, a back office function, will trigger a lead time and part of the QRM policy will include reducing lead times of non-manufacturing processes. The QRM will therefore cover all areas such as purchasing, shipping, finance and human resources.
When a company has implemented QRM it should be able to realize a reduction in lead times of up to 95 percent, a reduction in finished product cost of 30 percent, an improvement in on-time delivery performance in excess of 60 percent, and reduction in scrap and rework of up to 80 percent or more.