Single-Minute Exchange of Dies at a Kaizen Event

Single-Minute Exchange of Dies at a Kaizen Event

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-4062-5.ch006


Lean concepts play a fundamental role in the promotion of continuous improvement in the workplace. This chapter seeks to assess the impact of Kaizen events on an organization's bottom line, in the case of Single-Minute Exchange of Dies (SMED) that is a system for dramatically reducing the time it takes to complete equipment changeovers. In this case study, SMED was used in combination with other lean tools such as 5S and standardized work in a bid to promote continuous improvement of the “flawed” operations that occur in a world-class manufacturer plant. This analysis is critical in determining whether the path to achieving continuous improvement process for the team in the organization can be achieved through the use of SMED. The results have shown that a lean strategy like SMED, coupled with other lean strategies like 5s and TPM, plays a fundamental role in reducing process inefficiencies in the plant.
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Single-Minute Exchange of Dies (SMED) is a critical lean production method that is concerned with the reduction of waste in a manufacturing process (Dave & Sohani, 2012). The application of SMED is aimed at the achievement of the optimization of machine utilization, reducing the production times, stocks, and machine adjusting times, as well as the time that the machine is not operational, and it also works towards having small lot sizes (Ulutas, 2011). The concepts that are critical to SMED are put to work when trying to achieve a reduction of the setup times. An analysis of the set uptime is the first step that is done to assess the current state. This is followed by the elimination of the inefficiencies that are present as far as time is concerned. The next step then requires the identification of the internal and external setups, after which, the internal setups are converted to external ones. The final step requires standardization, where improvements were identified and plan to eliminate process wastes are provided. In combination with other lean tools like 5s, TPM, and standardized work, more as far as process improvements can be achieved with the application of SMED.

The essence of the SMED system is to convert as many change-over steps as possible to “external” (performed while the equipment is running) and to simplify and streamline the remaining steps. SMED can be said to be a process-based innovation that was brought to the publishing scene in the mid-1980s (Carrizo & Campos, 2011). SMED plays a fundamental role in instigating productivity in the firm (Carrizo & Campos, 2011). SMED is essential when it comes to converting a manufacturing process from running one product to running the next, in what is termed as a rapid change-over (Dave & Sohani, 2012). The rapid change-over is imperative in reducing the lot size and improving the production flow (Dave & Sohani, 2012).

When narrowing down to looking at what SMED in fact means, it is essential to note that the term is drawn from the goal that is concerned with the reduction of the changeover time, to the single digits, less than ten minutes to be precise (Vorne, 2016). This is possible, especially where the elements of a given changeover are analyzed to ensure that they can be eliminated, streamlined, moved or even simplified (Vorne, 2016).

One aspect that stands out in SMED is the essence of a quick changeover, which mainly captures the concept of time. It is essential to address what is, in fact, meant by the term “quick changeover.” A quick changeover is a process that is aimed at reducing the time that has elapsed from the production of the last good part to the production of the next good part after a set-up (Manufacturing Terms, n.d). In actuality, a quick changeover is an essential concept given that it allows the necessary flexibility that matches the production mix, to the existing demand (Velaction Continuous Improvement, 2016). Quick changeovers facilitate the production of smaller batches, and the presence of continuous flow (A Lean Journey, 2010).

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