Like a race car driver who finds no value in spending time in a pit-stop, assets (machines, trucks, systems) add no value when they are shut down for set-up changes. Every minute of set-up downtime is a minute you could be producing product for customers, delivering product to customers or providing service. Reducing that set-up time to the absolute minimum is critical in any Lean operation.

Reducing changeover is called many different things (“Single Minute Exchange of Dies or SMED”, “Quick Changeover for Lean Manufacturing”, “Mold Set Reduction” or “Set-Up Reduction”), but the process is fundamentally the same. The goal is to identify the minimum number of steps that have to happen while the asset (machine, truck, IT system) is shut down, and to execute those steps as quickly as possible. This shut-down time is referred to as Internal Set-Up Time.

Reducing set-up time to the absolute minimum is critical in any Lean operation.

There are several supporting Lean tools that contribute to set-up reductions, and often these need to be completed first, for best results. For example, 5S Visual Workplace and Kanban for supply items.

We follow the four main steps of the Quickchangeover Methodology:

  1. Measure: We will collect changeover data through time studies and spaghetti mapping the current state of set-ups. We have found that when teams are engaged in time studies and spaghetti mapping, they generate great ideas for improvements. Also some of the data-gathering effort will come from production performance data such as operating equipment efficiency (OEE) and first pass yield.
  2. Separate: We will review each time element in the current state set-up process and identify if it is value-added or non-value-added and if it is an external or internal activity. This phase will generate a list of “Great Ideas” and highlight potential non-value-added time elements that can be quickly eliminated.
  3. Remove: During this critical step, set-up elements that are currently internal (happening with the machine is off) will be evaluated to see if they can be transitioned to external (happen while the machine is still running). A formal set-up procedure, based on what elements of the set-up will be external and internal will be developed, practiced and tested.
  4. Streamline: Based upon the testing of our procedures, we will work to implement additional actions and create a streamlined quick changeover process. Updates will be made as needed and documented. Once we have fine-tuned that procedure, we can launch it across the organization and measure results.

The use of Set-Up Scheduling Process tool will lead to the final phase of the Quickchangeover project. We will work with planning to develop set-up scheduling guidelines for all assets to further reduce changeover times. The goal will be to utilize your company’s ERP scheduling module, if possible, to help planning/scheduling sequence orders to minimize part-to-part set-up time.