2023 International Conference on Quick Response Manufacturing

18th International Conference on Quick Response Manufacturing

Join us and Celebrate 30 years of QRM at Our Annual Conference

October 17, 2023

Today’s customers demand customized, high-quality products that can be delivered fast. This requires manufacturing firms to simultaneously compete on multiple strategic dimensions – speed, quality, agility, and more!  Quick Response Manufacturing (QRM) provides an enterprise-wide strategy that helps manufacturers compete on speed, become more flexible, and achieve positive financial results. For 30 years, the Center for Quick Response Manufacturing at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has helped over 300 companies from a variety of industries implement strategies for lead time reduction in manufacturing, assembly, quoting, engineering, order processing, purchasing, and supply chain. Companies have reduced lead times by over 90% and costs by over 30%, while improving on-time deliveries to 99% and increasing productivity by over 50%.

Join us on October 17 in Madison, Wisconsin for this year’s international conference to hear industry executives and QRM experts from across the world share case studies on results achieved and offer advice on the application of QRM principles. Learn how others have used QRM to achieve dramatic results, transform their companies, and race ahead of their competition.

Conference Agenda | 7:30-8:30 am Registration & Continental Breakfast | 8:30-8:40 am Welcome | 8:40-8:55 am History and Evolution of the QRM Center | 8:55-9:50 am Overview of QRM Strategy & Principles| 9:50-10:10 am BREAK | 10:10-11:00 am InSource Technologies Presentation | 11:00-11:50 am InSource Technologies Presentation | 11:50 am - 1:10 pm LUNCH | 1:10-2:00 pm QRM Institute Presentation | 2:00-2:50 pm Woodway USA Presentation | 2:50-3:10 pm BREAK | 3:10-4:00 pm NOV Presentation | 4:00-4:50 pm Axon Energy Services Presentation | 5:00-7:00 pm Networking Reception & Celebration of QRM Center's 30th Anniversary

Conference Presentations and Speakers

Use the tabs below to view the different presentation topics and speakers we will have at our conference. Continue to check this website as additional information will be added in the coming weeks!

Photo of Caleb Will, Joe
L to R: Caleb Manz–Sourcing/Quoting Assistant, Will Manz–Director of Harness Business Unit, Joe Grant–Production Coach


InSource Technologies
Northwest Ohio

How QRM Enabled A Labor-Intensive Industry to Keep Jobs in the USA

Presentation Topics:

  • QRM was applied to a Wire Harness Business Unit on the shop floor and in the office.
  • The primary objective was to be competitive in the wire harness market, but stay in the USA, while providing stable jobs in our local community.
  • Great results have been achieved. We have a thriving wire harness business in northwest Ohio, throughput is up and WIP is way down, we satisfy our customers with responsiveness, and we have not had layoffs through several expansion/contraction cycles.
  • We learned that QRM cells encourage employee engagement, suppliers can help reduce Manufacturing Critical-path Time (MCT), and putting spare capacity into the schedule makes a big difference.

About the Presenters:

Will Manz – Director of Harness Business Unit
Will has 20+ years of experience in the wire harness industry in production and management. Became aware of QRM principles in 2015 and after several years of experimentation, began to champion the strategy in his areas of responsibility. He is pursuing a QRM certificate and enjoys teaching others about principles that work.

Joe Grant – Production Coach
Joe has worked at Insource Technologies as the Wire Harness Production Coach for 4 years. Before joining Insource, Joe spent 4 years as an elementary school teacher. In his role at Insource, Joe gets to use his passion for education in training and developing employees.

Caleb Manz – Sourcing/Quoting Assistant
Currently working as an assistant in the wire harness shop as well as a member of the SMT purchasing team. Graduated high school in 2021 and is currently attending Purdue University Fort Wayne, pursuing a degree in Business Marketing.

About InSource Technologies:

Insource Technologies opened for business in 1997 as a contract manufacturer in Northwest Ohio. They have grown to employ around 280 team members serving industries such as Agriculture, Fire/Rescue, Forestry and Automotive A/C Repair. Main products include Electronic Control Modules, Refrigerant cooling systems, Wire Harnesses and PCB’s.

Gautam Malik–President and CEO


Jason Lewandowski–Generał Manager


Stevens Point, Wisconsin

Leveraging Speed to Gain Market Share with Quick Response Office Cells (Q-ROCs)

Presentation Topics:

  • Gamber-Johnson has created quick response office cells (Q-ROCs) for all product families.
  • The company’s goal when implementing Q-ROCs was to break down departmental silos and increase speed and responsiveness in all office functions.
  • An important element of success was to set clear boundaries and establish expectations.
  • The company has leveraged speed to gain market share.
  • The Q-ROC journey continues, and next steps will be shared.

About the Presenters:

Gautam Malik
As president and chief operating officer at Gamber-Johnson, Gautam is responsible for the operations and global sales for all five Gamber-Johnson companies. Since starting with Gamber-Johnson in 2004, Gautam has been focused on improving the company’s operational performance, developing talent, and driving positive change throughout the entire organization.

Jason Lewandowski
In his role as General Manager, Jason oversees the day-to-day operations of the company. In his previous role as Vice President of Engineering, he was responsible for the company’s product development efforts. Jason has been with Gamber-Johnson since 2004 and has a passion for talent development and implementing business strategies.

About Gamber-Johnson:

Established in 1954, Gamber-Johnson is an award-winning manufacturer of technology mounting solution products used by public safety, enterprise, military, warehouse fleets and AV professionals worldwide. The 310 Gamber-Johnson employees are dedicated to fulfilling the company’s promise of “supporting technology to help save the world.”

Pascal Pollet, Principal Engineer Smart and Digital Factory, Sirris, Belgium
Pascal Pollet, Principal Engineer Smart and Digital Factory, Sirris, Belgium



The Rise of QRM in Europe: Amazing Success Stories

Presentation Topics:

  • This presentation talks about the rise of QRM in Europe in the last 10 years and the remarkable successes that several companies have achieved.
  • You can expect to learn some new tricks on how to spread QRM in your organization and take your QRM journey to the next level!

About the Presenter:

Pascal Pollet
Pascal Pollet works as a principal engineer at Sirris, the collective center of the Belgian technology industry, where he started doing research on POLCA in 2005. Pascal Pollet has been pioneering the introduction of Quick Response Manufacturing in the Belgian industry and has helped many companies to radically shorten their lead times with Quick Response Manufacturing. He currently serves as the chairman of the QRM Institute, a European network of organizations who work together to spread Quick Response Manufacturing (QRM) to as many companies and professionals as possible. Pascal Pollet obtained a Master’s in Electrical Engineering at Ghent University in 1995.

About the QRM Institute:

The QRM Institute is a European network of organizations who work together to spread Quick Response Manufacturing (QRM) to as many companies and professionals as possible. The QRM Institute organizes workshops and conferences, provides educational materials and certifications, conducts research and publishes articles.

Okan Gurbuz–Vice President of Operations and Supply Chain

Axon Energy Services

Houston, Texas

Knocking on the Wrong Door: How QRM Taught Me to Reduce Lead Times by 90% and Costs by 40%

Presentation Topics:

  • How knocking on the wrong door changed my life and my thinking towards manufacturing.
  • Importance of concentrating on reducing lead times – short case studies from Varco / LeTourneau / Axon Energy Services.
  • How being fast has allowed Axon Energy Services to beat its competition, including overseas companies.
  • The impact of effective management of the relationship between engineering, supply chain, accounting, warehouse, quality, and operations.
  • Everybody knows what we are manufacturing and for whom: the key in a high-mix low-volume manufacturing environment.
  • Results: Lead time reductions of up to 90%. Cost savings of up to 40%. Not losing a single penny during the Oil and Gas Industry’s worst downturn in 2020.

About the Presenter:

Okan Gurbuz – Vice President of Operations and Supply Chain 

A student of Rajan Suri, Okan Gurbuz has been implementing QRM principles in the Oil and Gas Industry for the last 20+ years. He has held positions at Varco International/NOV and LeTourneau Technologies, and is currently employed at Axon Energy Services in Houston Texas. He is a degreed Industrial Engineer with a Master’s degree in Manufacturing Systems Engineering from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. He also has an MBA and is a Certified Six Sigma Black Belt.

About Axon Energy Services:

Axon Energy Services has been in business for over 10 years and provides equipment for the Oil and Gas Industry, such as Blow Out Preventers, Manifolds, Connectors, Chokes, and Control Units. The company has around 100 dedicated employees that generate around $50 million in yearly revenues.

Since being acquired by Pelican Energy Partners in late 2018, AXON Pressure Products has re-emerged as AXON Energy Services. We have a new management team, a new mission and vision for our business and our customers. We have launched many new initiatives to streamline operations, grow where growth is needed, and ensure that our customers are treated with integrity and transparency. Our common mission is to provide energy equipment and responsive global service tailored to each customer’s specific needs for success.

Paul Diedrick – Director of Operations


Erik Melberg – Senior Project Engineer


Thomas Griep – Industrial Engineer


Sean Runyon – Senior Industrial Engineer


Woodway USA
Waukesha, Wisconsin

Reducing Lead Times for Engineering Change Notices

Presentation Topics:

  • QRM principles were applied to reduce the time needed for review, approval, and implementation of Engineering Change Notices (ECNs).
  • Analysis of the current state was accomplished through tagging and creation of an MCT map.
  • Recommended changes included time slicing of relevant staff and transferring more ownership to the engineers rather than the engineering manager.
  • The processing time for ECNs was reduced by 5 to 60% depending on the complexity, with the greatest impact for the more routine types of changes.
  • Throughput increased significantly, with the number of ECNs completed increasing by 44%.

About the Presenters:

Paul Diedrick – Director of Operations
Paul Diedrick is the Director of Operations for Woodway USA, Fluid Power Energy Inc., and Filtration Systems Inc. (three companies under the same corporate umbrella). He has spent over 35 years in Operations for a wide variety of manufacturing companies. Paul was previously the Senior Manager of Manufacturing Services at National Oilwell Varco and the Manager of Technical Service for Joy Global. He is a recognized leader in Manufacturing who drives process improvements and cost reductions. He has introduced Quick Response Manufacturing (QRM) concepts at several companies.

Erik Melberg – Senior Project Engineer
Erik Melberg is a Senior Project Engineer for Woodway USA. Graduation from UW-Platteville with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering led to a job opportunity at Woodway in 2016. Since starting, he has focused on new product development, as well as continuous and quality improvements. After being trained in How to Implement QRM and working with QRM graduate students, he has continued to take a leadership role in the completion of engineering projects.

Thomas Griep – Industrial Engineer
Thomas Griep is an Industrial Engineer for Woodway USA. His responsibilities include process improvement, quality control, and problem-solving. Thomas graduated from UW-Platteville in December 2019 and previously worked as a machine operator at Standard Process Inc.

Sean Runyon – Senior Industrial Engineer
Sean Runyon is a Senior Industrial Engineer for Woodway USA, Fluid Power Energy Inc., and Filtration Systems Inc. Since 2018, Sean has held a variety of responsibilities across the 3 companies, from leading cost reduction projects, developing analytics & dashboards for management and cost accounting, to new product development implementations. He has also been heavily involved in procurement for the last 3 years with Fluid Power and Filtration Systems.

About Woodway USA:

WOODWAY began its journey in Germany in 1974 when the technical director envisioned a revolutionary slat-belt treadmill design, which was a class apart from the conventional conveyor belt designs available at that time. In 1988, a U.S. license was granted to a small, well-established manufacturing company in Waukesha, Wisconsin.

WOODWAY USA is proud to be the primary manufacturer of WOODWAY Treadmills worldwide, exporting treadmills for international distribution, in addition to serving its domestic customers and clients. Today, WOODWAY’s design and manufacturing facilities in the United States, Germany and Japan make WOODWAY the largest specialized treadmill manufacturer in the world.

Joel Mattos – Quality Analyst


National Oilwell Varco (NOV)
Macaé, Rio de Janeiro – Brazil

Boosting Sales by Applying QRM to Quoting and Ordering Processes for Aftermarket Parts

Presentation Topics:

  • This project focused on the office tasks involved in quoting and processing orders for aftermarket parts.
  • The primary goals of the project were to improve throughput and generate more revenue, achieve a higher hit rate for quotes, and improve on-time delivery.
  • They created an MCT map of the current process and identified delays and their causes.
  • The company then created a virtual quick response office cell (Q-ROC) to handle the quoting and order processing.
  • The employees involved believe the project was a big success because they are processing orders faster and are managing the system more effectively. Quantitative results will be collected in July or August.

About the Presenter:

Joel Mattos – Quality Analyst
Joel earned his Bachelor’s degree in Business Management in 2013 and his Master’s of Business Administration in Total Quality Management in 2016 at the Universidade Federal Fluminense – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. His career has been focused in the Quality area, working in solutions for QA, QC and metrology. As an ISO 9001 and API Q1 auditor, he has good knowledge of Oil and Gas industry standards and has worked with process improvement, implementing and analyzing management systems, with a solid 12 year long career. Joel became aware of QRM principles recently, after attending a QRM training course in 2022, and then started applying the knowledge to his work at NOV in Brazil.

About National Oilwell Varco (NOV):

NOV provides oilfield equipment, technologies, and expertise that answer the challenges of oil and gas customers worldwide with safety and efficiency.

For more than 150 years, NOV has pioneered innovations that empower the global energy industry, enabling customers to safely produce abundant energy while minimizing their environmental impact. The energy industry depends on our deep expertise and technology to continually improve oilfield operations and assist in efforts to advance the energy transition towards a more sustainable future.