17th International Conference on Quick Response Manufacturing

As manufacturers compete in an increasingly challenging global market, they need to provide customers with customized, high-quality products that can be delivered fast! Quick Response Manufacturing (QRM) provides an enterprise-wide strategy that can help manufacturers compete on speed and achieve positive financial results. For almost 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 September 19-20 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 tutorials 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.

An added bonus for the 2022 conference is that it will be held jointly with the UW E-Business Consortium. Conference attendees will be able to take advantage of joint sessions and offerings in parallel tracks related to supply chain, marketing, information technology, and customer service.


Jump to the end of the page to view the full agenda and some frequently asked questions about the conference.

Pre-conference Workshops

Choose from two different topics for an optional pre-conference workshop, held on September 19 from 1:30-4:30pm at the Monona Terrace. 

Pascal Pollett and Eli Alef

System Dynamics in Action:  A Hands-on Simulation Game

Pascal Pollet, Sirris, Belgium, QRM Institute Chairman
Eli Alef, Tailwind, Israel, QRM Institute Member

System dynamics describes the complex interactions between machines, workers, products, and tasks in a manufacturing system. Understanding and exploiting system dynamics leads to improved operational decision-making and increased manufacturing system performance. This workshop demonstrates the effects of manufacturing system dynamics on throughput, work in process, and flow time of a simulated manufacturing plant, called the “Tailwind Factory.” Each “plant team” will be able to modify its operational strategy and observe the results as the simulation game progresses.


Dr. Charlene Yauch, QRM Center Director

Continuous Improvement Methods:
What to Use and When
Charlene Yauch, Director, Center for Quick Response Manufacturing

Since the 1990s, numerous methodologies have been created for continuous improvement of manufacturing systems, including Lean Manufacturing, Quick Response Manufacturing, Agile Manufacturing, and Theory of Constraints. This workshop provides an overview of each of these improvement methodologies, distinguishes key features, highlights anticipated performance improvements, and helps attendees understand the production and business context where each is most appropriately applied.

Note: There is a $165 fee to attend a pre-conference workshop, which is not included in the conference registration price.

Register Now!

Conference Details:

When: September 19-20, 2022

  • September 19: Choose from 2 Pre-Conference Workshops, 1:30-4:30pm
  • September 20: Conference is held from 8am-5:00pm

Where: Monona Terrace, 1 John Nolen Dr., Madison, WI

Cost: Register early for the best price!

  • Early Bird Pricing (ends Aug 5)
    • Members: $495
    • Non-members: $595
  • Regular Pricing (Aug 6-Sept 20)
    • Members: $595
    • Non-members: $695

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!

richard walters  danielle weatherly

Session Presenters

Richard Walters, CEO

Danielle Weatherly, Pre-Production Manager

New Ravenna Mosaics
Virginia Beach, VA

Stopping the Doom Loop: How QRM and POLCA Saved Us from Chaos

Presentation Topics: 

  • We implemented QRM across all of New Ravenna’s manufacturing operations initially and then to some of our production-related office operations such as sales and production planning.
  • Our goals were to focus the organization on continuous improvement, reduce lead times, improve cash flow and rebuild credibility with our customers.
  • We implemented POLCA as the second phase of our implementation after we became more comfortable with the concepts of QRM.
  • Our experience showed the huge improvements in lead time reduction that are possible even in a company whose product mix is 70% make-to-order. We also learned the critical importance of a QRM mindset, the impact of office operations on lead time improvement, and the necessity of daily problem-solving.
  • QRM and POLCA transformed New Ravenna. Within 3 years we went from the company’s worst year ever financially to its best despite the pandemic

About the Presenters: 

Richard Walters: Richard Walters is the CEO of New Ravenna, which he has led since 2016. Prior to joining New Ravenna, he worked in the finance, IT, and government services industries. He also served as a US Army officer. Mr. Walters has an MBA from London Business School, an MA from Oklahoma University, and a BS from Georgetown University.

Danielle Weatherly: Danielle Weatherly heads New Ravenna’s production planning team. In this role she is responsible for scheduling all orders across a complex routing system, identifying capacity limitations, and assisting manufacturing leaders in resolving production problems. Mrs. Weatherly helped implement New Ravenna’s QRM and POLCA systems. She has worked at New Ravenna since 2001in a variety of roles, including as a mosaic artisan.

About New Ravenna: 

New Ravenna is America’s premier designer and manufacturer of custom stone and glass mosaics for both residential and commercial installations. The handcrafted mosaics are fashioned into decorative borders, murals, fields, and medallions. Mosaic materials are polished, tumbled, honed, and cut to create distinctive styles and subtle shade variations and textures. The installations are custom works of art in mosaic tile, which often incorporate the designs of architects, interior designers, and their clients.

New Ravenna mosaics are found in homes, restaurants, hotels, casinos, and businesses around the world, and are available for purchase through designer showrooms across the country and internationally. New Ravenna has approximately 120 employees and is proudly located on Virginia’s Eastern Shore.

     amy schweinhart

Session Presenter

Abby Schweinhart, Manufacturing Engineer, Sierra Space

Schuette Metals
Rothschild, WI

Office Cell Combines Design & Manufacturing Engineering for New Part Implementation

Presentation Topics: 

  • Representing 75% of sales, repetitive parts are components that will be fabricated multiple times over the lifespan of a product and require detailed preparation to guarantee consistent and repeatable production
  • Goal: Design a QRM office cell (Q-ROC) to reduce new repetitive part implementation by 50%, ensuring on-time production and the ability to meet customer promises
  • Swimlane diagrams and MCT mapping played a key role in visualizing the existing implementation process, revealing just two core departments essential to new part implementation
  • A conventional Q-ROC design estimated a 35% reduction in lead time but was complex and heavily reliant on time-slicing to incorporate all relevant areas of expertise
  • In lieu of a conventional Q-ROC, creating paired-work teams of project and manufacturing engineers is a simple approach to reduce the recurring theme of communication delays identified by the Q-ROC design process

About the Presenter: 

Abby Schweinhart is a Manufacturing Engineer at Sierra Space in Madison, WI. While earning her M.S. in Industrial Engineering at UW-Madison, she collaborated with industry partners such as Schuette Metals on QRM cell design to reduce lead times for manufacturing and office operations.

About Schuette Metals:

Schuette Metals is a leading full-service metal fabricator with 175 employees located in Rothschild, WI with a reputation as the go-to metal fabrication company for complicated manufacturing. Since 1957, Schuette Metals has used advanced technologies to manufacture components used in finished products by a variety of OEMs in sectors including architectural, agricultural, construction, defense, industrial, and access equipment.

karen jones  megan patterson

Session Presenters

Karen Jones, Commercial Operations Manager

Megan Patterson, Master Scheduler

Sentry Equipment
Oconomowoc, WI

Office Cell Delivers Rapid Response and Motivation for Additional Cells

Presentation Topics: 

  • Express Lane QROC was our first cell and now we’re moving on to a shop floor and office cell that have the same FTMS and another shop floor cell. Working on the low-hanging fruit first in each area.
  • The objective of the QRM effort was initially to reduce lead times in our office operations.
  • Education with book clubs, presentations, and online trainings prior to launching our first cell.
  • The principles of Ownership and Collocation of the first cell have been key to the success of the cell.
  • Process improvements are always at the top of the QROC’s mind. Even after a year, they are working on more and more improvements, which they can share with other areas as well.
  • Robust Steering Committee that helps to move our QRM efforts forward.

About the Presenters: 

Karen Jones is the Commercial Operations Manager and has been with Sentry for 16 years. She has held positions in Purchasing and Materials Management before moving to the Commercial side. Karen earned her CPIM with APICS and is passionate about process improvements and improving employee experiences while creating excellent customer experiences.

Megan Patterson, the Master Scheduler at Sentry Equipment, has successfully implemented QRM at three companies now. Megan has experience in Continuous Improvement with QRM, Lean, and Six Sigma principles. Outside of work, you will find Megan behind a camera, working out and spending time with her daughter and husband.

About Sentry Equipment:

Sentry Equipment is an employee-owned manufacturer of sampling equipment, that provides customers with custom solutions for safely monitoring processes. Sentry has been serving customers for 98 years and has been 100% employee-owned for 36 years. Sentry Equipment has 170 employee-owners with headquarters in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, and another manufacturing site in Houston, Texas. Sentry serves customers in all 50 states and in 55 countries across 6 continents. A few of the markets Sentry serves are Food and Beverage, Power, Pharmaceutical, Hydrocarbon Processing, and more. Some of the major customers include Hormel Foods, Pepsi, Cargill, Exxon Mobil, and Shell.  Sentry proudly safeguards people and processes for a better world.

dominique andreux  rodolphe barbaray

Session Presenters

Dominique Andreux, CEO
Quick Response Enterprise,
Lyon, France

Rodolphe Barbaray, Jewelry Business Unit Director

Plailly, France

How QRM is Transforming a Luxury Fashion Company

Presentation Topics:

  • Welcome to DESRUES, a company driven by creativity, a universe that combines know-how & excellence.
  • QRM was identified as the transformation strategy needed to smooth operations in an extreme HMLV environment and to support double-digit growth in the market of ready-to-wear buttons, customized jewelry, and fashion accessories.
  • This case study is about an enterprise-wide QRM application: from design to development and industrialization, production, and delivery.
  • The complexity is mindblowing: 8 collections per year, 100% of the product portfolio renewed every 6 weeks, extreme variety and variability of components, including 80% subcontracted operations.
  • Started 1.5 years ago, the results of this QRM transformation are already amazing:
    • Lead time reduction of 25% to 50% from show date to delivery date to boutiques
    • Reduction of shop floor lead time with a QRM Number of 300 thanks to a QRM-POLCA self-steering system
    • Onboarding of ALL company associates (almost 300 people) including QRM training to understand and apply QRM principles
    • Onboarding of local and Far East partners/suppliers to initiate QRM transformation in their operations and at the interface with DESRUES

About the Presenters:

Rodolphe Barbaray is the Jewelry Business Unit Director, Leader of the QRM transformation at DESRUES. Rodolphe started his career as a Process Engineer at Toyota (in France and in Japan).  After more than 10 years in the automotive and aeronautics industry as a Technical and Operations Manager, he joined the luxury fashion world to lead a deep transformation in a high variability environment.

Dominique Andreux, CEO, Quick Response Enterprise (QRE), is recognized for his transformational leadership. Dominique founded QRE 10 years ago, a French organization aiming to help companies grow in fast-moving and volatile environments, by deploying Quick Response solutions that engage people in agile, collaborative, and sustainable ways of working.

Prior to this entrepreneurial adventure, Dominique led transformations in various industry sectors such as fast-moving consumer goods (MARS Inc.), Automotive (VALEO), and Mining. Partnered with Rajan Suri, Dominique is the Vice-Chairman of the QRM Institute in Europe. He published in 2014 the French adaptation of “It’s About Time” named “Faites du Temps votre allié !”



DESRUES was founded in 1929 by Georges DESRUES. The 295 employees contribute to the creation, development, and production of buttons and jewels for the luxury fashion industry, for clients including Chanel and Celine.

About Quick Response Enterprise:

Quick Response Enterprise is a consulting organization located in Lyon, France, that helps companies grow in fast-moving and volatile environments, by implementing Quick Response solutions, and focuses on engaging people in agile practices – a collaborative and sustainable way of working.

     QRM Center Founding Director, Rajan Suri

Dr. Rajan Suri
Professor and Founder,
Quick Response Manufacturing Center,
and Inventor of POLCA

POLCA – The People-Friendly Visual Production Control System

POLCA (Paired-cell Overlapping Loops of Cards with Authorization) is a card-based visual control system that manages the flow of jobs through the shop floor: at each operation, it controls which job should be worked on next to meet delivery targets. POLCA ensures that upstream operations use their capacity effectively by working on jobs that are needed downstream, while at the same time preventing excessive work-in-process (WIP) build-ups when bottlenecks appear unexpectedly.

POLCA is particularly suited to companies manufacturing high-mix, low-volume, and custom products, for which Kanban systems do not work well. These companies often struggle with long lead times, late deliveries, and daily expediting. POLCA has delivered impressive results: 50-75% reduction in inventory and lead times, and on-time delivery improved to over 98%. Attend this Master Class and learn directly from Rajan Suri – the inventor of POLCA!

About the Presenter: 

Rajan Suri is Emeritus Professor of Industrial Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He received his Bachelor’s degree from Cambridge University (England) and his M.S. and Ph.D. from Harvard University. Rajan is the Founder of the Center for Quick Response Manufacturing (QRM) and the inventor of the POLCA system. He is the author of several books on QRM and POLCA. He has worked with companies throughout North America and Europe on implementing QRM and POLCA. Rajan has received awards from The Institute of Management Sciences and the IEEE. In 1999, he was made a Fellow of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME), and in 2006 he received SME’s Sargent Award for the creation of Quick Response Manufacturing strategy. In 2010 Rajan was inducted into the Industry Week Manufacturing Hall of Fame.

Conference Agenda

The QRM Conference will be co-located alongside the UW E-Business Consortium’s Annual Conference. Your registration allows you access to offerings from both conferences, and some of the sessions are shared between the two simultaneously.

All events on this agenda will be held in person at the Monona Terrace and streamed live to our virtual audience. Instructions on how to access the virtual conference, both for the day of and to view content after the conference date, will be shared with you after registration.

All times listed are in Central Time and are subject to change.

QRM Conference Offerings UWEBC Conference Offerings
Continental breakfast; Networking and Sponsor Booths Open
Grand Terrace
Opening Plenary Session
Welcoming Remarks: Mark Jerffires, Conference Emcee
Keynote Presentation
Exhibition Hall
Break; Networking; Visit the Sponsor Expo on the Grand Terrace
QRM Welcome

Community Terrace
Strategic Briefings
                      Hall of IdeasQRM Welcome

Community Terrace
QRM Conference Speakers

Community Terrace
Track Speaker Presentations
Customer Service
Speakers 1 & 2
Information Technology
Speakers 1 & 2
Speakers 1 & 2
Supply Chain
Management Track
Speakers 1 & 2
Master Class Presentations
Hall of Ideas
Lunch and Table Topic Talks
Exhibition Hall
Break; Networking; Visit the Sponsor Expo on the Grand Terrace
Strategic Briefings
Exhibition Hall
QRM Conference Speakers

Community Terrace
Track Speaker Presentations
Customer Service
Speakers 3 & 4
Information Technology
Speakers 3 & 4
Speakers 3 & 4
Supply Chain
Management Track
Speakers 3 & 4
Closing Session: Distinguished Executive Panel
Exhibition Hall
5:00-6:00pm Bonus: Join us on the Grand Terrace Rooftop for additional networking and fun!

Frequently Asked Questions

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Where is the conference located?

The conference is located at the Monona Terrace, 1 John Nolen Dr., here in Madison, WI. The opening and closing sessions will be in the Exhibition Hall, while QRM-specific speakers will be in the Community Terrace. A schedule will be available prior to and on the day of the conference, and all rooms will be clearly marked.

What time is the conference?

There are also 2 pre-conference workshops you can choose from on September 19 from 1:30-4:30pm.

Official conference programming on the 20th runs from 8:00am – 5:00pm, but you are welcome to join us for optional breakfast and networking starting at 7:00am.

Where can I park?

There is a public parking ramp structure connected to the Monona Terrace with 375 spots. The parking rate is $3.00 per hour with a max daily rate of $16 to park in the ramp. Here are directions to the ramp, which can be accessed from either John Nolen Drive or from Wilson Street.

Other public ramps nearby may also be available.

I'm coming from out of town. Where can I stay?

We have a room block reserved at the Hilton Madison Monona Terrace. Hilton has provided us with this booking link so you can book directly in that block online. Please note that your hotel reservation is not included in the price of the conference and will be your responsibility.

Is food provided?

Yes! There will be an optional breakfast prior to the conference start time as well as a full lunch and refreshments provided throughout the day. We will ask for your dietary restrictions when you register, so please pay attention to that field on the registration form.

Do I need to bring anything?

Just yourself! We’ll give you a nametag when you get there with your personal QR code which will grant you access to all our sessions. Food and beverage is provided throughout the day.