Last month we posted a blog about our Quick Response Manufacturing (QRM) efforts. Since then we have been asked about what exactly is QRM and is it really different than some of the other cost and quality improvement programs that are out there. For example there is Lean Manufacturing, Just in Time Manufacturing, Total Quality Management, Theory of Constraints, Six Sigma, Kaizen rapid improvement and a host of other programs.
Packnet is not an expert in these programs, but we believe that there is overlap in many of these improvement programs and that they are all tools to do one of the following:
- Reduce Lead Times
- Improve Quality
- Reduce Costs
- Improve Productivity
Each of the different programs has a different approach and methodology. We believe that if done correctly all of the programs will yield results. Packnet believes that QRM is ideally suited to the type of manufacturing environment that Packnet has: Low Volume, High Product Mix and Custom Engineered Products. Many of the other programs seem to be more geared to manufacturing environments with higher production runs and lower product mixes.
QRM is focused on time. By implementing the principles of QRM, a company can reduce lead times across all areas of its organization.
There are 4 core concepts for Quick Response Manufacturing.
- By adopting a time based focus across the entire enterprise, a company will uncover hidden waste and be able to systematically eliminate it.
- Organization structure has a big impact on lead times, so changing the structure can help reduce lead times.
- There are interactions between machines, processes and people that impact lead times, understanding them will allow a company to discover unique ways to reduce lead times.
- The principles of lead time reduction extend across the entire business, not just manufacturing. For companies that do a lot of custom engineered products, office processes can have just as big an impact on product lead time as manufacturing.
Like any of the improvement programs that are around today, QRM is an ongoing, long term effort, each day will yield some improvement or revelation, but as we continue to improve, we see how much more improvement is possible.
Packnet has been on the QRM journey for just a few months, but already we are seeing major improvements in our lead times across our enterprise. Many of our customers are seeing the difference as well.