Conference Program 2019


16th International Conference on Quick Response Manufacturing

June 24-26, Monona Terrace Convention Center, Madison WI

Slash lead times. Grow Revenues. Improve Profits.

The QRM 2019 International Conference presents a powerful program targeted at executives and managers across all functions in a manufacturing organization. Attendees at this event will learn how recent application of Quick Response Manufacturing strategies across the enterprise – in quoting, order processing, engineering, manufacturing, and assembly – have resulted in:

• Reduction in lead times by 50 to 90%
• Reduction in costs by 10 to 30%
• Improvements in on-time delivery to over 99%
• Increases in revenues by 200% or more

Conference Highlights:

• Eight case study talks by industry executives
• Five interactive games/sessions for hands-on learning
• Three optional pre-Conference tutorials covering basic and advanced concepts
• Networking reception and fun

QRM 2019 Conference Brochure

Conference Fees:

Pre-Conference Tutorials: $95

Conference Sessions (QRM Center member company): $495

Conference Sessions (Non-member company): $695

Early Bird Special: $100 off above main Conference fees until May 3, 2019

June 24 Tutorials

Pre-Conference Tutorials 

12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.  Tutorial Check-in Begins

1:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Beyond Lean: It’s About Time to Get FAT - with Growth and Profits Through QRM

Rajan Suri, Author and Founding Director, Center for Quick Response Manufacturing

Quick Response Manufacturing (QRM) is a companywide strategy for lead time reduction throughout the enterprise. QRM is particularly effective for companies making high-mix, low-volume and custom products. Learn the four core principles of QRM and see how QRM’s strategy of aiming for quick response in Focused Target Market Segments (FTMS) has enabled companies to achieve rapid growth and increased profitability.  This session is highly recommended for people who are new to QRM.

3:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.  Coffee Break

3:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.  Parallel Sessions

The Softer Side of QRM Implementation: How to Walk Softly and Carry a Big QRM Book

Scott Forest, President, RenewAire LLC

This session will share examples and foster discussion on a variety of topics relevant to enhancing and sustaining your QRM implementation. Topics include successful use of book clubs; using QRM in the hiring process; recurring QRM training; fostering QRM leadership; incorporating QRM into goals processes; and initiating and sustaining a QRM culture.

Quantifying the Cost Reduction of Your QRM Project

Francisco Tubino, Director, GPI Consultores

Traditional accounting methods do not adequately help justify lead time reduction projects. This tutorial will explain the "Power of Six," a simple rule of thumb that uses a nontraditional accounting approach to overcome this problem. The basis of the rule will be explained via actual industry case studies. Hands-on exercises will help attendees see how to use the rule in practical situations.

June 25 Program

Case Studies (No pre-selection required)

8:00 a.m. - 8:10 a.m.  Opening Remarks

8:10 a.m. - 9:10 a.m.

Keynote Address - Smart Factory: Manufacturing Execution Optimization

Leyuan Shi, Director, Center for Quick Response Manufacturing, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Many manufacturing firms use systems that rely on aggregate data for scheduling daily operations. These systems are limited in their ability to provide efficient real-time solutions to unexpected events, rush orders, design changes, machine breakdowns, defective parts, and delivery delays. Currently, the shop floor responds to unexpected events via manual scheduling which leads to poor predictability of performance and slow response to market changes.

Developed by Dr. Shi and her team, Manufacturing Execution Optimization (MEO) technologies enable manufacturing systems to be smart by establishing top-floor to shop-floor communication in real time, significantly improving their production and supply chain efficiency, and achieving a fast and optimal response to changes in business environment.

MEO is based on Nested Partitions (NP) optimization framework and Dynamic MCT technology and has helped several companies improve on-time delivery of sales orders, increase utilization of production capacities leading to overall increase in revenues. The talk will describe how such enabling technologies can help manufacturers be successful as the industry embraces the Next Industrial Revolution, or Industry 4.0.

9:10 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. 

Embracing the QRM Mindset: Keys to Removing the Handcuffs of Change

Presenters:  Eric Aten, Vice President-Operations and Dave Barrett, Corporate Training Manager

Dowding Industries, a manufacturer of metal stampings, fabrication, precision machined components, and assemblies, implemented QRM concepts of manufacturing cells based on focused target market segments (FTMS), visual capacity control using POLCA, and Quick Response Office Cells (Q-ROCs) to reduce quote and launch lead times by 60% and grow sales by 30%.

10:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.  Coffee Break

10:30 a.m. - 11:20 a.m.

Break Down Silos with Quick Response Office Cells

Presenters: Gautam Malik, Chief Operating Officer; Jason Lewandowski, Vice President Engineering

Gamber-Johnson, a manufacturer of mounting systems for mobile technology, used Quick Response Office Cells (Q-ROCs) to increase speed to market on existing and new products. Over a period of five years, Gamber-Johnson reorganized their entire office operations into 5 Q-ROCs, reduced lead times by approximately 30%, and increased sales by 120%.

11:20 a.m. - 12:10 p.m.

Implementing Visual Production Control using RF-POLCA in a Batch Environment

Presenters: Shane Vander Kooi, Plant Manager, Jason Van Meeteren, Assistant Plant Manager, Lynn Van Dyke, Continuous Improvement Manager

Rosenboom, a manufacturer of custom crafted cylinders, implemented the visual control system of Release-and-Flow POLCA (RF-POLCA) to streamline the flow of components to final assembly. As a result, lead times were reduced by 30%-75% and overhead due to indirect activities by 50%.

12:15 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.  Lunch


Interactive Games and Sessions (Choose one option) 

1:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. Parallel Sessions 

Time Out - Reducing Lead Time in the Office

Bill Ritchie, Founder and President of Tempus Institute, Dayton, OH

This simulation will demonstrate the power of Quick Response Office Cells (Q-ROCs) and show how they can be more effective in processing orders by streamlining flow and reducing handoffs and office lead times. Observations from several Q-ROC implementations, and techniques for a successful implementation will also be discussed.

QRM Coming to Life via Hands-on Factory Simulation

Presenters: Greg Sandeno, Manufacturing Specialist, Alexandria Technical and Community College and Ben Bomstad, Manager of Improvement, Alexandria Industries

Understand the four key principles of QRM through a simulation involving manufacturing of Lego airplanes that helps you visualize the benefits of lead time reduction and the value of cross trained teams.

How to Redesign Production and Office Jobs for QRM Cells

Presenter: Dr. Charlene A. Yauch, Professor and IE Program Director, Milwaukee School of Engineering

This interactive session will illustrate how to incorporate psychosocial aspects of work to redesign tasks in QRM cells and improve job satisfaction. The session will explain how job rotation and cross training can be used to improve accountability within cells.

Let’s POLCA! Learn How a Simple Card System Streamlines Job Flow and Improves Delivery

Presenters: Rajan Suri, Founding Director, QRM Center, Robert Peters, co-owner, PROPOS software, Julian Stark, Process Improvement Engineer, PROPOS software

POLCA is a card-based visual control system for high-mix, low-volume and custom products. A tutorial with hands-on exercises will explain how POLCA works. Case studies from companies in USA and Europe will demonstrate results achieved in different industries. Next you will learn about a company that transitioned from physical POLCA to digital POLCA. Through a demo of digital POLCA combined with additional hands-on exercises you will experience the pros and cons of implementing digital versus physical POLCA.

Leveraging Leadership to Drive a Successful QRM Implementation

Presenter: Susan Ottmann, Director, Engineering Professional Development Business and Graduate Programs, University of Wisconsin-Madison

This interactive workshop will illustrate several aspects of leadership critical for successful QRM implementation. The session will discuss the traits of a successful leader, strategies to motivate teams, and the importance of empowerment and delegation.

5:15 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.  Networking Reception

June 26 Program

Case Studies (No pre-selection required)

8:00 a.m. - 8:50 a.m.

Creating Capacity to Support Sales Growth of Curved Rail Elevators (CREs)

Presenters: Tom Jacobson, Vice President–Operations, Jeff Marcheske, Senior Manufacturing Engineer, Matt Hardin, CRE Team Leader

Bruno Independent Living Aids, a provider of mobility solutions including stairlifts and vertical platform lifts, applied QRM principles of MCT reduction and cellular manufacturing in combination with innovative fixture designs to reduce fabrication labor content by 20% and support sales growth in the curved rail elevator business.

8:50 a.m. - 9:40 a.m.

Pivoting from Lean to QRM in the Production of High-mix Low-volume Parts for Agricultural Machinery

Presenter: Julian Stark, Process Improvement Engineer

Kooima Company started its improvement journey with Lean, but found that many tools from the Lean toolbox did not fit their high-mix, low-volume environment. Instead, the company decided to pursue QRM, and their implementation of Digital POLCA played a key role in this journey. The implementation enables Kooima to deal with floating bottlenecks, resulting in better flow and delivery to the customer. In addition, the Digital POLCA system provides valuable insight into where improvements would provide further benefits.

9:40 a.m. - 10:10 a.m.  Coffee Break

10:10 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

Redesigned QRM Cell Guides Sales Growth

Presenter: Bob Slominski, Co-Owner

Dental Crafters, a provider of dental restoration services, leveraged QRM to re-design production cell for surgical guides. Using improved flow and effective use of cross training, the company reduced work in process inventory by 35%, lead times by 15% and grew sales.

11:00 a.m. - 11:50 a.m.

Why Shorter Lead Times Require a Different Approach to Capacity Planning

Presenters: Antoon Van Nuffel, CEO and Lieven Van Nuffel, Business Development

Planning is an everyday challenge for manufacturing companies and shorter lead times heighten this challenge.  3rd Wave executives explain how the concept of "Capacity Clusters" meets this challenge and leads to real time insight into your available capacity.

12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.  Lunch

1:00 p.m. - 1:50 p.m.

Quest: Pursuing Spare Labor Capacity to be More Responsive

Presenter: Tony Manz, President

InSource, a contract manufacturer of wire harnesses, used flexible releases and visual management of jobs to create up to 20% spare labor capacity, improve on time job completion by 48%, and better respond to demand surges.

1:50 p.m. - 2:40 p.m.

Assembly Teams and Smaller Batches Reduce Lead Times, Increase Flexibility

Presenters: Steve Banovich, MarVac Manager and Owner, Jake Zalas and Ivan Lopez, MarVac Production Supervisors and Andy Porter, Consultant, WMEP

MarVac Assemblies, a division of Marsh Electronics, a manufacturer of custom electronic assemblies for industrial, military, food and beverage industries, created product focused assembly teams in their value-added services division. Reduced production batches and improved methods for releasing orders led to a 50% reduction in lead times, less expediting, and better response to demand fluctuations.

2:45 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.  Closing Remarks

Hotels & Parking

Madison Panarama web

Wisconsin’s capital city is nestled between two shimmering lakes and makes regular appearances on virtually every list of the “best places to live” in America. The downtown area is a vibrant community with an array of restaurants and specialty shops, a magnificent center for the performing arts and many galleries, green space and seemingly non-stop activity throughout the summer. Home to the University of Wisconsin, a world-class public research university that attracts scholars from around the globe, Madison maintains a reputation as “Mad City” as much for its youthful energy as its sometimes turbulent, progressive political history. Join us for the 2019 QRM Conference and discover Madison for yourself!


Hotel Accommodations

Guests are responsible for making their own hotel accommodations.  We have reserved room blocks at two nearby locations:

Hilton Madison Monona Terrace

9 East Wilson Street
Madison, Wis. 53704

Call 1-800-HILTONS and request the QRM Conference Group Rate or click here for a dedicated event reservations page. Cut-off date for the group rate is May 24, 2019.

Park Hotel

22 South Carroll Street
Madison, Wis. 53703

Call  1-(608) 285-8000 and request the QRM Conference Group Rate or click here for a dedicated event reservations page. Cut-off date for the group rate is May 23, 2019.


Directions and Parking

Linking the shores of Lake Monona to the majestic State Capital Building and a vibrant downtown, Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center is a welcoming beacon for visitors to Madison and a visually stunning gathering place, hosting conventions, artistic exhibits, and community events. Originally designed by Wisconsin native Frank Lloyd Wright in 1938 but not realized until 1997, Monona Terrace features breathtaking architecture on the inside and dramatic views of the natural environment surrounding it.

By Air

Madison is accessible by air from every major metro area in the country and is served by Dane County Regional Airport. The commercial air carriers serving Madison include Northwest, United Express, Midwest Express/Skyway, American Eagle, Trans World Express/TWA, Comair/Delta Connection, Continental Express and Chicago Express/ATA.

For transportation from the airport to Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center, there are four on-site car rental companies and one off-site (but with pickup service), three taxicab companies or Madison Metro bus. Guests staying at the Hilton Madison Monona Terrace may ride their courtesy vehicle.

Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center is about a 5-mile (10-minute) drive from the airport.

For more information visit the Dane County Regional Airport web site.

By Car

For detailed driving directions from your point of origin, click here.

If using a GPS device please use these coordinates rather than One John Nolen Drive:

N 43 4.167       W 89 22.966

You will arrive at the John Nolen Drive entrance to the Monona Terrace parking ramp.


You'll find plenty of parking convenient to all that downtown Madison and Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center have to offer. Monona Terrace features a 600-space, cashier-operated parking structure, which is accessible via East Wilson Street and the eastbound lanes of John Nolen Drive.

Short-term and all-day public parking is provided throughout downtown Madison in various structures and lots. On-street parking is also available for short-term parking in central Madison.

Bus parking and passenger drop-off is accessible from the Wilson Street entrance to Monona Terrace. Click here to view the Monona Terrace parking map.

Accessible Parking

Disabled parking stalls are available at no cost for Monona Terrace event parking on the upper drive-through/drop-off level near the parking meter areas on both sides of Monona Terrace. Disabled parking stalls are available for a charge on the lower parking level in front of the Level Three entrance. Curb cuts are located in close proximity to accessible parking and make travel to the building convenient.




We would like to thank the following sponsors for their support in making QRM 2019 a success.




Do you work with many different production orders, but the size per order is limited or highly variable? Then production planning can be an obstacle in your wish to deliver to your customer as quickly as possible. And if you do not deliver quickly, your competitor will.


PROPOS is a shop floor control system that schedules production orders directly from your ERP system fully, automatically and in real time. Your production employees immediately see which order has the highest priority thanks to user-friendly screens in the workplace. PROPOS offers an overview and helps shorten your lead time.



Julian Stark

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(+31)(0)621 33 9919






3rdwave Logo



Quick Response Manufacturing is a comprehensive method developed by Professor Rajan Suri. It implements a paradigm shift for production companies. Time-based thinking (and not cost-based thinking) will create the conditions for success on the market and the competition.


3rd Wave has developed the first complete set of tools that implement this revolutionary approach in the production industry. Starting from the center of the production company - the shop floor - we developed a set of tools covering this new time-based thinking:


  • WaVes MCT visualizes the lead time of your production processes & makes lead time reduction the main KPI.
  • WaVes Digital POLCA is a shopfloor executing system reducing lead time and WIP that can easily be integrated with existing ERP software.
  • WaVes MES is a complete set of functions to manage and control the production environment from BOM/BOL to High Level MRP planning.
  • WaVes QRM ERP provides all the functionality to support QROCs and even allows the integration with the production QRM Cells.
  • Waves Real Time Capacity Planning is a real time monitoring system of the capacity of the different production departments.



Our software tools will help you optimize flow and reduce lead time at least 20%.



Lieven Van 

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Alexandria Technical & Community College creates opportunity for individuals and businesses through education and leadership. The college's high-quality technical and transfer programs and services meet their needs, interests and abilities and strengthen the economic, social and cultural life of Minnesota's communities.

Alexandria Technical & Community College boasts some of the highest student success in the Minnesota State system, with a 98% job placement rate and the highest graduation rate of all Minnesota State institutions. The college’s diverse program mix delivers applied learning in a responsive, supportive atmosphere with personal attention from faculty and staff. The college takes pride in its outstanding career and technical programs, while providing well established transfer degree options.



Greg T. Sandeno
Manufacturing Specialist
Alexandria Technical & Community College
320-762-4553 Office
763-670-9721 Cell






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