Conference Program 2017


Fifteenth International Conference on Quick Response Manufacturing

June 19-22, Monona Terrace Convention Center, Madison WI

Slash lead times. Grow Revenues. Improve Profits.

Conference Brochure

The QRM 2017 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:

• Over 15 case study talks by industry executives
• Interactive games/discussions for hands-on learning
• Tutorials covering basic and advanced concepts
• Plant tours to see concepts in action
• Social events for networking and fun

Conference Fees:

fees updated

June 19

Pre-Conference Tutorials 

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

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

Rajan Suri, Author and Founding Director, Center for QRM

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.

How to Design for Quick Response

Richard Schonberger, Ph.D., Author, former Professor

Learn about the multi-dimensional aspects of design for quick response (DFQR) that together with customer-focused essentials (e.g., concurrent production) further the cause of QRM and effectively combat weaknesses of lean manufacturing.

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

Become More Agile and Shed Weeks of Lead Time with MCT!

Andrew Porter, Manufacturing Specialist, Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership (WMEP)

Manufacturing Critical-path Time (MCT) metric helps to achieve reduction of total true lead times. Experience from 400 projects in 25 states will be used to illustrate the process, results achieved, and lessons learned.

The Optical Illusion of Product Cost

Joyce Warnacut, Author; former CFO Nicolet Plastics; current Director of Finance, Germanna Community College, Locust Grove, VA

See the misconceptions related to product cost and learn how time-based accounting and time-based metrics can be used in manufacturing. We will also discuss methods to see “white space” in lead times.

June 20

Case Studies (no pre-selection required)

8:20 a.m. - 9:10 a.m.

Pushing the Envelope and Sticking to It

Megan Patterson, Supervisor of Continuous Improvement, Western States Envelopes and Labels, Sun Prairie, WI
Michael Eddy, Plant Manager, Western States Envelopes and Labels, Butler, WI
Tim Bresser, Plant Manager, Western States Envelopes and Labels, Sun Prairie, WI
Eric Schmidt, Vice President of Operations, Western States Envelopes and Labels, Sun Prairie, WI

Western States Envelope and Label addressed challenges of high mix and high volume through QRM cells in the shop floor and office to simplify scheduling and improve customer experience.

9:10 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. 

QRM: It’s All About the “Dough!”

Lodewijk van der Borg - CEO, Kaak Group, The Netherlands

Kaak, a Netherlands - based manufacturer of complex multifunctional bakery equipment, transformed the company using QRM principles and office cells to achieve 30% reduction in lead times and significant increase in sales.

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

Hand Tool Manufacturer Nails It with QRM

Deb Nistler, Director of Operations, Malco Products, Inc., Annandale, MN
Hap Spooner, Safety/Environmental Manager, Malco Products, Inc., Annandale, MN

Malco Products Inc., a manufacturer of custom hand tools used QRM to reduce lead times in assembly cells, improve marketing materials to customers, and change accounting practices.

11:20 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.

There’s No Business Like New Business

Mark Campbell, Plant Manager, CL&D Graphics, Oconomowoc, WI
Kirk Powell, Continuous Improvement Engineer, CL&D Graphics, Oconomowoc, WI
Stephen Langridge, New Business Team Member/R&D Engineer, CL&D Graphics, Oconomowoc, WI

CL&D Graphics, a flexographic and digital printer of labels and flexible packaging, implemented a Quick Response Office Cell to improve success rates for quotes and attact new business and customers.

Interactive Games and Simulations (Choose one option) 

1:45 p.m. - 5:15 p.m. Parallel Sessions - 5

Simulation of Quick Response Office Cells (Q-ROCs)

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

This simulation will illustrate how Quick Response Office Cells (Q-ROCs) improve flow in office operations, reduce handoffs and lead times. This interactive simulation can be an effective way to introduce Q-ROCs to your organization.

Getting People Enthusiastic About Quick Response Manufacturing

Etienne Timmermans, Co-Owner, Censor - for the change (QRM by Censor), The Netherlands

Easy, fun games that illustrate the four core principles of Quick Response Manufacturing and the importance of optimizing the process flow through the whole company.

Experience System Dynamics and MCT Calculations

Ruben Sørensen, QRM Coach, QRM Danmark, Denmark

Hands-on exercises and simulations that illustrate the impact of spare capacity and reduced variability on flow. Attendees will also learn about measuring lead times (MCT - metric) using Little’s Law, ERP data and tagging.

QRM Coming to Life via QRM Simulation

Greg T. Sandeno, Manufacturing Specialist, Alexandria Technical & Community College, Alexandria, MN
Ben Bomstad, Corporate Training Manager, Alexandria Industries, Alexandria, MN
Jeff Cypher, Director of Business Integration, Alexandria Industries, Alexandria, MN

Understand the four key principles of QRM through a simulation involving manufacturing of Lego airplanes that help you visualize the benefits of lead time reduction and the limitations of traditional manufacturing methods.

Making Products Using POLCA and Kanban

Ananth Krishnamurthy, Professor, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI

A hands-on simulation exercise that illustrates POLCA – a visual card-based capacity control system for high-mix, low-volume manufacturing.The exercise will demonstrate similarities and differences between kanban and POLCA.


June 21

Case Studies (no pre-selection required)

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

Raising the Bar Higher with QRM: The Banner Story

Mark Redding, President/CEO, Banner Service Corporation, Banner Medical, Carol Stream, IL
Joseph Ariola, General Manager, Carol Stream Operations, Banner Service Corporation
Chris Roeder, Operations Manager, Strongsville, OH and Charlotte, NC, Banner Service Corporation

Banner Service and Banner Medical, providers of comprehensive metal bar solutions, reduced lead times at their three main facilities and leveraged their learning while building a green field facility based on QRM concepts.

Ready, SET, Go: An FTMS-based Approach to Reduce Lead Times and Increase Shipments

David Navin, President & CEO, Spee-Dee Packaging Machinery, Inc., Sturtevant, WI
Adam Mulder, S Cell Project Manager and Sales Administrator, Spee-Dee Packaging Machinery, Inc., Sturtevant, WI
Danny Harmann, E & T Cell Project Manager, Spee-Dee Packaging Machinery, Inc., Sturtevant, WI

Learn how Spee-Dee Packaging Machinery, Inc., a manufacturer of custom equipment, used S, E and T product families (as the FTMS) to create cells for office, machining, and assembly operations, reduce lead times and achieve 50% increase in shipments.

Growing the Custom Biotech Business Using Quick Response Strategies

Kristina Pearson, Senior Manager, Manufacturing Operations, Promega Corporation, Madison, WI

To grow the custom order business with shorter lead times, Promega Corporation, a manufacturer of enzymes and other biotechnology products, created shop floor and office cells that have complete ownership of the process from customer inquiry to shipping.

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

Using QRM Concepts to Reduce Lead Times for Custom Hydraulic Systems

Michał Wróblewski, Chief Operation Officer, Rockfin, and Karol Bak, Consultant, 4Results, Poland

Rockfin, a manufacturer of custom hydraulic systems, created cells based on focused target market segments, used high level MRP planning and visual systems to increase shipments and improve delivery performance.

QRM Cells and POLCA Drive Lead time and Overhead Reduction for Custom Crafted Cylinders

Lynn Van Dyke, Continuous Improvement Manager, Rosenboom, Sheldon, IA
Derek Bailey, Enterprise Resource Planning Manager, Rosenboom, Sheldon, IA

Rosenboom, a manufacturer of custom crafter cylinders, used a combination of cells and POLCA in fabrication and assembly, and Quick Response Office cells to reduce lead times, simplify scheduling and cut overhead costs.

A Bridge to the Future: The Impact of QRM

Kurt Spaeth, Manager, Removable Cell Products, Dental Crafters, Marshfield, WI
John Brost, Production Manager, Dental Crafters, Marshfield, WI

Dental Crafters, a provider of dental restoration services, leveraged QRM to create a cellular organization. Investments in cross training and smarter use of ERP systems have reduced lead times and inventory, and increased profits.

Interactive Discussions (Choose one option) 

10:10 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.

How Does a Company Use Book Clubs to Help Start, Support and Sustain QRM?

Scott Forest, VP Operations & Continuous Improvement, RenewAire LLC, Madison, WI
Tammy Schmieden, Director of Human Resources, RenewAire LLC, Madison, WI

RenewAire leads a session on the importance of a QRM book club program, how to structure such a program and measure its success.

The Balanced Scorecard and Time-Driven, Activity-Based Costing

Ella Mae Matsumura, Professor of Accounting, The Wisconsin School of Business, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI

Learn about balanced scorecard methods of performance measurement, time-driven, activity-based costing methods and their applications in manufacturing.

Why You Need Spare Capacity and How to Justify It

Pascal Pollet, Principal Engineer, Sirris, Belgium
Peter Leenders, Owner, Leenders Consultancy, The Netherlands

Understand why planning systems fail if you do not have spare capacity, find easy ways to create spare capacity and justify investments.

Case Studies (no pre-selection required)

1:00 p.m. - 1:50 p.m.  

The Big Impact of QRM on Small Organizations

Patty van Broekhoven, former CEO, Deventer, The Netherlands

Deventer, a manufacturer of custom frames for doors and windows, implemented Quick Response Manufacturing principles across all departments to reduce lead times by 40% and increase throughput by 30%.

Applying the Concepts of POLCA in a Pharmaceutical Environment

Susan Ferris, Director, Production, Patheon, Canada
Justin Bos, Manager, Operations Strategy, Patheon, Canada

Patheon, a global manufacturer of pharmaceuticals, shifted from finite scheduling to implement POLCA, a visual capacity control system, to achieve dramatic improvements in throughput and reductions in inventory.

Quick Product Development:  How Can QRM Help Increase Your Speed to Market and Pace of Innovation?

Neal Werner, Director of Engineering, RenewAire LLC, Madison, WI
Scott Forest, VP Operations & Continuous Improvement, RenewAire LLC, Madison, WI

RenewAire, a manufacturer of energy recovery ventilators, leveraged ten years of QRM success to launch a Quick Product Development program that synchronizes product selection, development and annual budgeting.

1:50 p.m. - 2:40 p.m.  

Using Time and Business Velocity to Widen Your Economic Moat

Brian Sobczak, Corporate Quality and Continuous Improvement Manager, Trans-Coil International (TCI), Milwaukee, WI

TCI, a manufacturer of power quality solutions, used QRM principles for over 20 years to drive improvements throughout their business. The presentation will share results achieved, challenges faced, and plans for continued growth.

Capacity Clusters Simplify Real Time Planning

Antoon Van Nuffel, CEO, 3rd Wave, Belgium
Mario Vervaeke, Managing Partner, 3rd Wave, Belgium

JB Dedecker, a manufacturer of kitchen and bathroom furniture, simplified capacity planning using capacity clusters and High Level MRP to achieve 80% reduction in lead times and reduction in overhead costs.

Developing and Manufacturing Products at Light Speed

Alex Stoltz, Manufacturing Engineering Manager, Electronics Theatre Controls, Middleton, WI

Electronic Theatre Controls, a manufacturer of entertainment and architectural lighting systems, has applied lead time reduction principles to drive vertical integration and improvements to product development, office operations, manufacturing, and assembly operations.

Interactive Discussions (Choose one option)

3:10 p.m. - 4:45 p.m.  

MCT Maps: Who, When and How

Michal Riege, Project Engineer, John Crane Engineered Bearings, Grafton, WI
Joel Kelling, Group Leader QRM Cell, John Crane Engineered Bearings, Grafton, WI

John Crane leads a session focused on measuring Manufacturing Critical-Path Time (lead time). The discussion will focus on issues related to acquiring data and establishing ownership of the metric.

Change Made Easy (Yeah, Right!)

Bob Mueller, Operations Manager, Rexnord Corporation, Milwaukee, WI

Rexnord Corporation leads a session about essential change management for QRM implementation – identifying the key elements, dealing with resistance, common blunders and how to avoid them.


How to Survive a Down-turn in the Market and Come Out Stronger

Sameer Gaur, Process Engineer, National Oilwell Varco, Orange, CA

National Oilwell Varco - Orange leads a discussion session about challenges due to down-turns in the market and discusses strategies to emerge stronger from the tough times.

Brewery Tour and Tailgate Dinner (Optional selection)

Brewery Tour and Tailgate Dinner

Beer GlassWisconsin Brewing Company LogoBrewers Vats

Building on Wisconsin’s rich brewing heritage - 12 ounces at a time - the Wisconsin Brewing Company has been crafting award-winning beer just south of Madison since 2013. Join us for the quintessential Wisconsin experience: a tour of their state-of-the-art brewing facility followed by a classic tailgate dinner featuring brats and burgers. And, of course, beer!

June 22

June 22: Plant Tours (Optional selection)

8:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

See QRM in action by taking one of three plant tours.  Please indicate your choice during your registration process. 

Important Note: Only registered participants at the QRM Conference can attend the plant tours.

TCI Facility Tour

TCI BuildingTCI Logo Red

TCI is a manufacturer specializing in products and services which improve electrical power quality and efficiency in commercial and industrial settings. During this tour you will see Quick Response applied throughout many areas of the organization, including TCI’s Customer Response Team (QROC) comprised of inside sales, technical support, scheduling and purchasing and TCI’s product-focused manufacturing cells.

Tour Departs Madison at 8:00 a.m.

Tour Returns to Madison at 2:00 p.m.


Electronic Theatre Controls

ETC extETC Mazo front deskETC Town Square

Electronic Theatre Controls Inc. is a global leader in the manufacturing of lighting and rigging equipment, ETC employs over 1000 people across 10 countries and has been in business for 41 years. The world headquarters and manufacturing operations located in Middleton, WI are 300,000 sq ft  and the manufacturing operation in Mazomanie, WI are 350,000 sq ft. These operations including: 4 automated surface mount circuit board assembly lines, laser cutting, punching and forming sheet metal fabrication, LED light fixture assembly, electronics assembly and automated product testing.  ETC products can be found in small and large venues worldwide, such as theaters, churches, hotels, schools, television studios, casinos, theme parks, and opera houses. ETC Inc has been a member of the Center for Quick Response Manufacturing for close to 20 years.

This tour highlights how QRM allows ETC to drive improvements in manufacturing, assembly, engineering and purchasing.

Tour departs Madison at 7:45 a.m.

Tour returns to Madison at 2:00 p.m.


Western States Envelope & Label

WSEL Label DivisionWSEL Logo Large

Western States Envelope & Label is one of the largest manufacturers of envelopes and labels in the United States and one of the Top 50 privately held companies in Wisconsin. The Sun Prairie, WI location has 70 employees and manufactures over 15,00 unique products a year in an extremely high-mix environment.  This operation has applied QRM principles extensively with their pre-manufacturing teams and has started applying QRM within manufacturing.

Tour departs Madison at 9:00 a.m.

Tour returns to Madison at 1:00 p.m.

Plant Tour Instructions:

  • Safe shoes must be worn when touring facilities. Safe shoes are identified as hard sole, covered toes, without high heels. Tennis shoes or other lightweight footwear are not acceptable.
  • Safety glasses will be provided.
  • No smoking is allowed on the premises.
  • Taking pictures of or within the manufacturing facilities is prohibited.
  • Additional instructions may be provided before the beginning of the tour.

Hotel & 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 a surprising 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 2017 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 Group Rate or click here for a dedicated event reservations page. Cut-off date for the group rate is May 19, 2017.

Park Hotel

22 South Carroll Street
Madison, Wis. 53703

Call  1-(608) 285-8000 and request the QRM  2017 Conference Block rate or click here for a dedicated event reservations page. Cut-off date for the group rate is May 18, 2017.


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.


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