As we dive into the fourth quarter, it is not only time to start reviewing the passing year but to start looking forward to the new year ahead. Manufacturers will be setting sales goals, safety goals, quality goals, and of course, goals related to their bottom line.

It is also an appropriate time to review how we do things and what we can do to improve our processes and procedures. One such managerial philosophy is that of Quick Response Manufacturing (QRM). It is worth knowing more about.

What is QRM?

Quick Response Manufacturing is a strategy manufacturers employ to reduce lead times throughout their entire operation. From an initial sale through the front office to final delivery of the product or service, all aspects of a company are involved. A significant part of QRM is having a clear strategy and direction in which everyone is involved. This is a significant reason people lie at the heart of quick response effectiveness.

The Benefits of Quick Response Manufacturing

QRM involves more than speeding up an assembly line or hiring faster workers. It is a company-wide strategy that has multiple benefits:

1. It can reduce production costs and overhead. This can help manufacturers stay competitive and improve bottom lines.

2. Cuts a manufacturer’s lead time. Getting from sale to delivery as soon as possible is one of the main goals of QRM.

3. Improve competitiveness and market share. QRM doesn’t just affect manufacturers, it positively impacts their customers as well. This puts manufacturers who employ QRM at a competitive advantage and can improve market share. OEM parts suppliers who employ QRM strategies may be more appealing to a potential client who uses the strategies themselves.

4. The ability to bring new products to market quicker. QRM strategies can be particularly valuable when bringing new products to market rapidly providing a positive marketing advantage.

5. On-time delivery is improved. It would make sense that improving manufacturing response time would also improve present on-time delivery rates.

6. Produce higher quality parts. While this may seem contrary to a process that cuts lead times, quality actually plays an integral role in QRM strategies.

7. Eliminates efforts that don’t add value. QRM questions the “why” of manufacturing processes, assuring every step along the way adds value.

8. Improved through-put. QRM not only improves speed can positively impact quantity, allowing you to more effectively use human and other resources.

9. Helps focus team members on productivity. Everyone understands their part and place and just as importantly, the “whys” of the processes they are responsible for.

When reviewing the above, you can see the important role people play in any QRM strategy.

Importance of Lean Manufacturing and Related Practices

QRM goes hand in hand with lean manufacturing processes that we have discussed previously like improving cell volume production time through greater production. It is manufacturer-specific as each company and process is unique.

As the current year comes to a close and we begin preparations for the new, it is worth questioning the how’s and why’s of what we are doing. QRM approaches this by asking “How can we involve all aspects of our manufacturing process and logistics to cut lead times and improve through-put and quality”?

We are an industry of processes and procedures and are always in search of the perfect formula. Perhaps there is no single “secret sauce” to be found in manufacturing but it is imperative we keep trying to find it. Perhaps it is the process itself that continues to help make us more efficient.