SMED (Single Minute Exchange of Die)
SMED (Single Minute Exchange of Die), also known as Quick Changeover, Set-up Reduction, is a systematic approach that enables organisations to dramatically reduce or eliminate changeover time. It is a very important tool in continuous improvement methodologies (eg Lean, Six Sigma, Lean Six Sigma).
The inventor of SMED, Professor Shigeo Shingo, introduced the concept to Toyota and identified inefficiencies in car body-molding presses in the 1950’s. There were reasons for inefficiencies mainly for tools changeover times which was two and eight hours. Whenever changeover was long, the production time lost caused higher cost of production. Toyota also had expensive land for storage. Shingo suggested that tools changeover costs can be reduced and lot size can be shrunk to reduce factory expenses. He was able to shorten set-up times from 1 to 2 hours per each exchange of dies to only a few minutes each, which allowed them to run lesser batches and line up more carefully to customer requirements.
Utilization of SMED can take place within the manufacturing to software development businesses. Various concepts from SMED can be applied to machinery to even human beings. Considering this, every time a person shifts between everyday jobs, they lose concentration and performance may be affected making a potential for making errors. The pit crews in racing industry – NASCAR while preparing each pit stop before it begins has been using a well-coordinated team to perform multiple tasks in few seconds. The team utilizes many techniques used in SMED like a tire changeover now takes 15 seconds, and do take into account the human factor. In fact, the trip from a 15 minute tire changeover to a 15 second tire changeover can be considered a SMED journey.
SMED actions can take place having either external or internal components. Internal steps take place while the equipment or process is ceased. External steps take place while the equipment or process is going on. Both are essential and vital in accomplishing SMED.
In external components the main focus is on getting resources and tools geared up for a changeover. Considering sae example of Pit Stop, the pit crew does not start looking around for the right tires or the fuel hose when a race car drags in. In fine restaurants, chefs do not panic and have to obtain right beef for the burgers upon order. All of the resources are already available through thorough analysis of what is to be needed and then adequate resources and supplies available to produce the required result. This sort of analytical analysis is essential to developing the external part of SMED productive.
The other element is where the capturing the process proves remarkably important. Thorough analysis of how the team manages the elements of a process can support supervisors detect areas of improvements. The part of the process is recognizing internal elements that can be made external, such as for Pit Stop, having tires ready in the place as the requirement arise. Any process that can be done before the actual action takes place should be analysed ad identified. This helps speed up the process significantly.
To sum up, SMED can lead to operations that run more rapidly while also delivering quality. Toyota, pit stop crews and restaurants have been using SMED and it can work for any organization as well.
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