Introductionto Rapid Customer Response The ability to respond to the customer with the right product, quantity, priceand location at minimum cost has been cited as the hallmark of the 'world-class'manufacturing business. In the 1990s, this operating paradigm is called efficient customerresponse (ECR). Before, this had been associated mainly with the retail side ofdistribution. Retailers know that the product must be on the shelf when needed. Theyrealize the need to minimize shortages, they offer high quality and increase margins. Thismust be done while they search for ways to reduce the amount of stocked inventory. Forthem, slow delivery and product shortages cause customers to go elsewhere.