Professor Suri's primary interest is improving the competitiveness of manufacturing companies. He is the founder of Quick Response Manufacturing (QRM), a company-wide approach to lead time reduction. QRM involves reducing the time to introduce new products to market, as well as the time to manufacture and deliver existing products. QRM has provided significant competitive advantage for manufacturing companies, both large and small, in many different industries. Professor Suri founded the Center for Quick Response Manufacturing, a joint venture between the university and a number of manufacturing firms, and served as its director from 1993 to 2007.
A second area of his research is new strategies for material control in manufacturing systems. Lean manufacturing strategies, along with Kanban and flow methods, do not work well in systems with low-volume, high-variability, or custom-engineered products. Dr. Suri has developed a new material control strategy called POLCA, which is better suited to these environments and also works very well within the overall framework of QRM. His ongoing research involves partnering with manufacturing companies in implementing POLCA on the shop floor, as well as investigating the performance properties of POLCA in different situations.
A third interest involves development of analytical models of manufacturing systems. His earlier work in this area resulted in the "rapid modeling technique" which is used by many companies and universities for manufacturing systems analysis. This technique was also used by the World Bank to evaluate the impact of alternative technologies on industries in developing countries.