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How to Use Manufacturing Critical-path Time (MCT) for Continuous Improvement and Lead Time Reduction See upcoming dates


Learn to Use QRM’s Precise Metric for Lead Time Measurement

In partnership with industry, the Center for Quick Response Manufacturing (QRM) has developed Manufacturing Critical-path Time (MCT), a precise time-based metric designed to capture how engineering, order processing, manufacturing, raw material procurement and shipping are linked while fulfilling customer orders. The metric allows you to discover new improvement opportunities by highlighting system-wide waste such as stockpiling finished goods and partially completed components.

Speakers from John Deere and the University of Wisconsin-Madison will explain the MCT metric and feature hands-on exercises to demonstrate how to create MCT maps to prioritize opportunities for continuous improvement to support better order fulfillment. Focusing on Manufacturing Critical-path Time has helped companies cut lead times by over 80%, improve on-time delivery to over 99% and reduce costs by 10-15%.

What you will learn:

  • Definition of Manufacturing Critical-path Time (MCT)
  • Understanding the business impact of MCT reduction: reduced operating costs, improved quality, and better on-time delivery
  • How to use MCT to identify opportunities to improve operations in the shop floor, office and supply chain
  • “Hands-on” exercises to teach you how to calculate MCT
  • Tools for MCT Mapping, including an Excel-based tool available free to attendees
  • How MCT analysis focuses and complements your Value Stream Mapping (VSM) efforts
  • Using MCT Mapping to communicate opportunities and convince management


Rajan Suri

Rajan Suri is Emeritus Professor of Industrial Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He received his Bachelors degree from Cambridge University (England) and his M.S. and Ph.D. from Harvard University.

Professor Suri is the Founding Director of the Center for Quick Response Manufacturing (QRM) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, through which around 300 companies have worked with the University on developing and implementing QRM and POLCA strategies. Dr. Suri is author of several books on QRM. He is also the inventor of POLCA and author of the first book on this system: "The Practitioner's Guide to POLCA".

Dr. Suri has consulted for leading firms including Alcoa, Boeing, AT&T, Danfoss, Ford, Harley-Davidson, Hewlett Packard, IBM, John Deere, National Oilwell Varco, Pratt & Whitney, Rockwell Automation and TREK Bicycle. Consulting assignments in Europe and the Far East have given him an international perspective on manufacturing competitiveness.

Professor Suri has received awards from the American Automatic Control Council, The Institute of Management Sciences and the IEEE. In 1999, Suri was made a Fellow of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME), and in 2006 he received SME’s Albert M. Sargent Progress Award for the creation and implementation of the Quick Response Manufacturing philosophy. In 2010 Rajan Suri was inducted into the Industry Week 2010 Manufacturing Hall of Fame.

Charlene Yauch

Charlene A. Yauch, Ph.D., P.E., has been an engineering educator for over 20 years at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) and Oklahoma State University. Her notable honors include five teaching awards and a National Science Foundation Career grant. She has taught a wide variety of classes, including Manufacturing Systems Design & Analysis, Materials & Manufacturing Processes, Computer Numerical Control Machining, Automation Technologies, and Engineering Economy.

Her professional interests relate to the implementation of manufacturing system improvements, such as Quick Response, Lean, and Agile Manufacturing, with emphasis on the human, social, and organizational aspects. Prior to her doctoral degree, she worked in industry for six years, performing a wide variety of tasks for manufacturing firms, including simulation modeling, facility layout, and process improvement. She has also advised numerous student projects related to manufacturing system improvement.  Dr. Yauch has a multi-disciplinary educational background with a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from Purdue University, and graduate degrees in sociology (M.S.), manufacturing systems engineering (M.S.), and industrial engineering (Ph.D.) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Nathan Stoflet

Nathan Stoflet Manages the North American Metal Supply Council of the Agricultural and Turf Division at John Deer Harvester Works in East Moline, Illinois. His areas of expertise include operations management, supply chain management, Lean and Quick Response Manufacturing.  He is a frequent contributor to the QRM Center’s instruction of the Manufacturing Critical-path Time metric.

Nathan started at John Deere as a supplier development engineer in 2003 and in 2006 was appointed supervisor, responsible for aligning and improving supplier order-fulfillment capabilities and providing increased flexibility and responsiveness, improved utilization of assets and lower overall costs.  Prior to joining Deere, he was a continuous improvement engineer at Pella Corporation.

Nathan holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville and an M.S. in Manufacturing Systems Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Upcoming dates (1)