QRM and Other Improvement Strategies

Most companies have one or more continuous improvement programs, often based on philosophies of Lean, Six Sigma, Theory of Constraints, or Total Quality Management. Adopting QRM does not conflict with these efforts or make these past efforts obsolete. It also does not mean that you need to abandon other improvement efforts. In fact, adopting QRM will enhance existing improvement initiatives and take them to the next level.

We believe that all philosophies offer something valuable to manufacturing organizations by eliminating waste in various forms. It is important to understand that the philosophies offer a variety of tools for your toolkit, use them appropriately in your organization to drive improvement efforts. In particular, QRM offers specific principles, tools and methodologies that cater to high-mix, low-volume, custom-engineered manufacturing environments.

Comparison

QRM and Other Manufacturing Management Approaches

Approach

Comparison with QRM

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by QRM Center, from www.qrmcenter.org

Lean Manufacturing
JIT (Just-in-Time)

Several Lean Manufacturing and Just in Time (JIT) principles of eliminating waste, implementing 5 S, visual management, reducing setup times and lot sizes span across all manufacturing environments. QRM builds on these principles; however, our experience from working with industry indicates that some techniques of Lean and JIT are best applied in manufacturing environments with high production volumes and stable demands. QRM addresses the specific challenges arising from high mix, custom engineered manufacturing environments. QRM methodologies also span across the extended enterprise, covering functions engineering, order processing, quoting, supply management and new product development, providing a powerful theme to drive improvements.

Six Sigma

Six Sigma is an improvement strategy primarily aimed at improving quality of processes and outputs by identifying and removing the causes of defects (errors) and minimizing variability in manufacturing and associated business processes. Six Sigma offers a variety of tools that are very useful in analyzing systems and driving improvements. QRM builds on these concepts, but argues that there are certain types of variability in an organization that cannot be eliminated, but in fact need to be managed or exploited. Recognizing the different types of variability and addressing each type using the right combination of Six Sigma and QRM tools is the right approach for any organization.

TOC (Theory of Constraints)

Theory of Constraints (TOC) is an improvement philosophy that aims to identify, exploit and manage the critical constraints within an organization that limits its ability to improve throughput. Constraints could be in the form of equipment, labor or operating policies and buffers of different kinds could be deployed to manage constraints that cannot be eliminated. A common challenge faced by manufacturers in high mix environments is that constraints could change on a frequent basis. QRM methodologies provide insights based on organization structure and system dynamic principles to address the challenges posed by constantly changing constraints.

TQM (Total Quality Management)

Total Quality Management (TQM) is a management philosophy aimed at continuous improvements in the quality of products and processes. TQM is based on the principle that process and product quality is not the responsibility of one individual or a department, but the collective responsibility of everyone involved with the development or use of the products and services delivered by an organization. QRM builds on the concepts of total quality management, kaizen and employee involvement by providing specific targets and guidance for driving these improvement efforts in complex manufacturing environments and across the extended supply chain.

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