Quick Response Manufacturing

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What is QRM?

Being able to help your customers as quickly as possible will definitely give you a competitive edge. However, in the high mix/low volume market, with few standard products and small series, this is quite a challenge. Whether your company produces custom windows, wooden or metal structures, automotive parts or printers: this is not assembly line work. However, in your company, too, it is possible to reduce production lead times without your workers or machines having to work harder.

The solution lies in Quick Response Manufacturing or QRM. This is a process improvement method developed by professor Rayan Suri in response to lean manufacturing. Lean is based on mass production, but does not work as well in the high mix/low volume market. Suri was looking for a solution to optimise the manufacturing process in customisation companies so as to ensure an effective flow, from incoming orders to outgoing finished products.

Where Lean has as many as seven KPIs, QRM is aimed exclusively at reducing the lead time. If you can accomplish that, everything else will fall into place. For this lead time reduction, QRM does not analyse the operations of your production department, nor does it require your workers or machines to do more. Instead, it provides you with an overview of the time a product spends waiting for the next step in the production process. By mapping and compressing these waiting times, QRM enables you to reduce lead times. Companies applying this method can easily achieve a 50% reduction in lead time.

The benefits of QRM

QRM has multiple advantages for both your company and your customers.

  • Smaller stocks
  • Because you are making the production process smarter, you no longer have excess stock that costs storage space.

  • Lead time reduction
  • Your company produces faster without your workers having to work harder. This enables you to better meet your customer’s requirements – an undeniable competitive advantage.

  • Transparency
  • QRM lets everyone on the work floor know what they’re working on and provides them with an overview of the entire production process. Also your sales team and after-sales service know what’s going on, so they can transparently communicate delivery times. Moreover, in a QRM production environment, all parts of an order for a specific customer remain together at all times, so you can immediately see when something is going wrong.

  • Satisfied customers
  • Shorter order delivery times obviously make for satisfied customers. They will also appreciate the transparent delivery times.

  • Creating peace of mind
  • Your workers get peace of mind when they know what they are doing, for whom, and when. The result is a more pleasant work atmosphere, motivated employees, and less turnover. QRM definitely has a positive impact on your employer branding.

  • Room for innovation
  • The time you save through shorter lead times can be invested in coaching and further training for your employees and in the development of new products, services or initiatives in your company.

QRM shop floor control system

Together with 3rd Wave, 4each has developed a shop floor control system that schedules production orders directly from your ERP system. The production planning is fully automated and real-time, giving you the advantage of a floating production planning. Your operators immediately know which order has the highest priority thanks to user-friendly screens in the workplace.

Our QRM software enables you to optimally plan your orders in order to reduce the lead time. In addition, it allows you to effectively communicate production times to your customers. 

The following QRM software modules are available:

  • MCT
  • The MCT module graphically represents the process flow of a product as lead time and visualises where improvement steps are situated.

  • Real Time Capacity Monitor
  • The Real Time Capacity Monitor checks whether sufficient capacity is available for a given order and enables you to provide well-informed answers to delivery time and capacity related questions.

  • Digital POLCA
  • This work order execution system ensures the dynamic optimization of your production flow.

For more information about our QRM software, contact us.


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