Rajan Suri

Professor Emeritus

3161 Engineering Centers Building
1550 Engineering Drive
Madison, WI 53706

Ph: (608) 262-0921
Fax: (608) 265-4017
suri@engr.wisc.edu


Profile Summary

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.

Education

  • PhD 1978, engineering, Harvard University
  • SM 1975, engineering, Harvard University
  • BA 1974, engineering, Cambridge University (Emmanuel College), Cambridge, England

Research Interests

  • lead time reduction and quick response manufacturing
  • POLCA and other alternatives to Kanban for material control
  • queuing network models for manufacturing systems analysi

Awards, Honors and Societies

  • 2006 Albert M. Sargent Award from the Society of Manufacturing Engineers for significant contributions to manufacturing industry through the creation, development and implementation of the Quick Response Manufacturing (QRM) philosophy.
  • Appointed Fellow of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers in 1999.
  • 1994 IEEE Control Systems Technology Award for the creation, development, implementation and management of the manufacturing automation planning software, ManuPlan and its derivative MPX, during the period 1986-1993 (jointly with G.W.W. Diehl).
  • 1990 Outstanding Simulation Publication Award from The Institute of Management Sciences (jointly with co-authors Heidelberger, Cao and Zazanis).
  • Member of University of Wisconsin Team that received the 1988 LEAD Award (for Leadership and Excellence in Application and Development) from the Society of Manufacturing Engineers.
  • 1981 Donald P. Eckman Award from the American Automatic Control Council for outstanding contribution by a person under the age of 30

Publications

  • Suri, R., It\'s About Time: The Competitive Advantage of Quick Response Manufacturing, Productivity Press, 2010.
  • Suri, R., \"Going Beyond Lean: Focusing on time, not cost, can save your company a bundle,\" Industrial Engineer, April 2010, pp. 30-35 (Cover Story).
  • P. D. Ericksen, R. Suri, B. El-Jawhari and A. J. Armstrong, \"Filling the Gap: Rethinking Supply Management in the Age of Global Sourcing and Lean,\" APICS - The Performance Advantage, February 2005 (Cover Story).
  • Suri, R., \"Don\'t Push or Pull--POLCA,\" APICS - The Performance Advantage, pp.32-38, November 1998.
  • Suri, R. (Ed.), Quick Response Manufacturing: A Companywide Approach to Reducing Lead Times, Productivity Press, 1998.
  • Suri, R., Diehl, G.W.W., de Treville, S., & Tomsicek, M., \"From CAN-Q to MPX: Evolution of Queueing Software for Manufacturing,\" Interfaces, pp.128-150, September-October 1995.
  • Suri, R., Sanders, J.L., & Kamath, M., \"Performance Evaluation of Production Networks,\" Chapter in Handbooks in Operations Research and Management Science, Vol. 4: Logistics of Production and Inventory, Elsevier, pp. 199-286, 199

Profile Summary

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.


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