QRM News

Ananth Krishnamurthy

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What Would You Do with an Extra Week of Time, Compliments of Nicolet Plastics

“Change is a way of life. It is an opportunity, not a threat,” says Bob MacIntosh, CEO of Nicolet Plastics Inc., a small plastic-injection molder nestled in Northern Wisconsin’s Nicolet Forest.

Openness to change enabled MacIntosh, along with key player CFO Joyce Warnacut, to seize new opportunities in a foundering economy. With employee cooperation and support, they have transformed Nicolet from a firm struggling to adapt to a changing economic landscape to an enterprise that has emerged thriving, with the financial metrics to prove it.

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QRM Helps Put Freedman Seating Company in the Driver’s Seat

Seats made by Freedman SeatingUsing QRM to cut lead time, enter new markets, and boost profitablilty by Kathleen Watson

Freedman Seating Company has operated for 120 years, developing new products to parallel the evolution of transportation in the United States. From upholstered seats for horse-drawn buggies to sleek seating for today’s high-speed trains, Freedman has kept pace with each new method of moving people around and between towns and cities.

A solid record of satisfying customers with quality products and on-time delivery has earned Freedman a reputation as a premier supplier of seating for a variety of vehicle types: airport and hotel shuttles; package-delivery trucks; and buses serving the school, luxury tour and public transportation markets.

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Raising the Bar at Alexandria Industries

Alexandria IndustriesMaking the transition to Quick Response Manufacturing (QRM) from traditional manufacturing philosophies and practices doesn’t come easily. Just ask Tom Schabel, CEO of Alexandria Industries.

“Are there challenges to implementing QRM? Absolutely,” Schabel says. “So many QRM concepts are contrary to traditional manufacturing.”

But the rewards become evident, and they’ve all been measurable for Alexandria: reduced lead times, consistent on-time deliveries, improved quality, expanded product lines and market share, targeted acquisitions — and best of all, highly satisfied customers. “If we strayed from our QRM philosophy, our customers would be more than a little upset with us,” Schabel says.

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Article in Packaging World Showcases Outstanding Results Achieved By QRM Center Member Company Nicolet Plastics

An article on the Packaging World website showcases the amazing results achieved by a QRM Center member company.

The article, titled “How to Achieve Lead Time Reduction,” written by the editor, Pat Reynolds, opens with the statements, “Quick Response Manufacturing (QRM) is what every manufacturer dreams of. Here’s how one manufacturer of plastic parts and components, from disposable packaging to high-end medical parts for MRI equipment, is using QRM to achieve significant lead-time reduction.”

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QRM 2012 Conference in Arnhem, Netherlands

arnhem_wtc.jpgHigh-speed trains zipping by meeting room windows provided a fitting backdrop for this year’s QRM Conference held from June 4-7 in Arnhem, Netherlands. The futuristic Intercity trains served as a vivid reminder of QRM’s increasing international reach. Organized by the European QRM Center at HAN University, this was the first time the event was held outside the US.

But their breathtaking acceleration also illustrated the overarching theme of the event: the need for speed in today’s global marketplace and how companies from around the world have used QRM to become more responsive to their customers.

Focusing on short lead times as a competitive advantage is an urgent matter for many manufacturing enterprises: faced with an uncertain economic situation at home and increased competition from abroad, companies in Europe and the United States will need to sharpen their competitive edge in order to succeed. "We are strong competitively but the structural underlying developments could be better. We cannot afford not to improve," summarized Vincent Wiegel, director of the QRM Center Europe and professor at HAN University, the situation for the more than 110 audience members from the USA, Israel, Norway, Denmark, Germany, Spain, Belgium, Chile and the Netherlands.

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