Quick changeover, also known as Single Minute Exchange of Die (SMED), is a lean manufacturing technique that aims to minimize the time it takes to switch a production process from producing one product to producing another. The goal is to reduce the time it takes to make a changeover to a single-digit number of minutes or less.
By reducing changeover time, companies can produce smaller batches of products more efficiently, which can lead to reduced inventory levels, improved responsiveness to customer demand, and increased productivity. Here are some tips for implementing quick changeovers:
Analyse the changeover process: Start by analysing the current changeover process to identify opportunities for improvement. This may involve breaking down the process into smaller steps and looking for ways to simplify or streamline each step. Map the process. Eliminate unnecessary steps/waste.
Separate internal and external activities: Separate internal activities, which can only be done when the machine is stopped, from external activities, which can be done while the machine is running. This allows for more work to be done while the machine is running. This allows for more work to be done during the changeover process and reduces downtime.
Convert internal activities to external activities: Look for ways to convert internal activities to external activities by designing tools and fixtures that can be pre-positioned, so they are ready to use when the machine stops.
Standardise the changeover process: Develop a standard process for changeovers that can be followed consistently. This includes documenting the steps, developing checklists, and using visual controls to ensure that each step is completed correctly.
Train employees: Train employees on the new process and provide them with the skills and knowledge they need to complete changeovers quickly and efficiently.
Continuously improve: Continuously monitor and improve the changeover process by measuring the time it takes to complete each changeover and looking for ways to further reduce that time.
Implementing quick changeovers requires a commitment to continuous improvement and a willingness to challenge the status quo. By following these tips, companies can reduce changeover times, improve productivity, and ultimately, deliver greater value to their customers.