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SMED Implementation Step by Step

This is Part 1

Click Here for Part 2

From my point of view and 20+ years of experience, this has been by far the most productive and quick-results rendering tool of all the Toyota Production System arsenal.  

SMED or “Single Minute Exchange of Dies” created by Shigueo Shingo and his group, and inspired by the car races’ pit-teams is a very applicable strategy and the more we use it the more applications we will find for it.  

The purpose of SMED is to create more flexibility and reduce WIP (Work in Process) inventories that have many devastating effects.  

I will try to describe SMED here Step-By-Step. This information does not substitute for a professional consulting-training service that may help you implement in a shorter period of time and especially for the first project, give you more effective results. It is convenient to make everyone aware that in a SMED setup we will most of the time use the help of more associates than in the traditional mode, but for periods of time that will continuously get shorter, increasing machine uptime. 

OK let us get started… 

  1. One important consideration in any Kaizen Event even for a minimal improvement project, is taking pictures of the current condition. I don’t know how many times I have used the “before and after” pictures to make the motivation contagious to other associates even if they did not participate in that particular project.  

  2. Find a strategic location for a video camera so you can take a timed video recording of the current setup procedure. Start recording at the time of finishing the last piece of the previous run. Keep recording until the first acceptable piece of the new run is completed. Measure precisely the total machine downtime. If your video camera does not have time recording, no problem, have a stop watch started and show it in front of the camera once in a while.

    Educating time. 

    1. Now we will bring together all the actors of the setup including the operators of the equipment even if they did not intervene in the setup process. The team must be comprised of the machine operator(s) and if available, setup experts or maintenance technicians. Add to your team a couple of outsiders. Some times administrative people can be of great help. 

  1. Now we will explain to them 
    the basic principles of SMED

    Internal and External operations of the Setup.

    1.  Usually, in the traditional Setup processes, all kinds of operations start taking place only after the machine has stopped, and continue all the way until they are finished, then the machine is re-started and hopefully in the first few cycles the output is completely acceptable and in compliance with specs. That is when the setup can be declared “Finished”

    2. This is not acceptable in the Lean Manufacturing environment; therefore the SMED process was developed. We all understand that there are a good number of those operations that we could group as “Preparation”, meaning they can be performed even while the machine is still working on the ending run.

    3. Some examples of these preparation operations:

                         i.      Bringing all the tools and materials (rags, cleaner fluids, spatulas) that we may need to perform the setup, close to the machine

                        ii.      Having handy all new parts, components, dies, cutters, etc, that need to be installed for the next run.

                       iii.      Have all the team members who will intervene in the setup prepared and made aware of which actions each one will perform. In some cases of complex setups, a rehearsal is convenient. Even professional pit teams do that before each and every race.

                      iv.      Have the members of the team discuss and then write on flipchart pages in detail and best possible order each of those preparation operations, step by step. Use as many pages as needed. We want those to be easily read from every seat in the classroom.

    1. These preparation operations will be considered “External”, since they do not need for the machine  to stop in order to be performed. 

    1. Now, let us think of the operations that can and must be done only when the machine is out of service.

                            i.      Now have the team list all those operations in clear detail, step by step, on one or more new flipchart pages.

                           ii.      For now do not try to put any pressure to reduce times.

                          iii.      These operations will be called “Internal”

    1. Finally, we will go through the series of operations that can and should take place after the machine is ready to run, these can be clean-up the area, putting back in place the tools, parts, components that were removed. All these operations will be grouped as “After-Setup” and are also considered “External”, since the machine can be back in operation with the new run while they are performed.

    2. Just as in the two previous groups, have the team discuss and list in flipcharts these operations.

  1. Make sure they all are having fun as they do all of the above. Now, if possible have some popcorn prepared to bring in for the next step:

  2. Viewing of your video recording…

    1. This part of the workshop is critical as they all will be able to realize how much time they could have saved in downtime, especially now that they have learned about External and Internal Operations.

    2. Remember to prevent any criticism or bad comments against any individual. All problems are due to the system, not the person.

    3. Have the members decide how the next setup can be prepared and staged, if needed make marks on the floor to decide where the tools, materials, parts should be staged in advance to the new setup.

    4. Same thing about the parts and tools being removed, they must find an appropriate spot where to be put while the machine can get started.

    5. For c. and d. we have found appropriate to use carts. If heavy parts will be handled make sure the cart is strong and stable enough to assure safety for everyone.

    6. At this point we need to decide if some of the Internal Operations can be simplified, coordinated to be done by more than one person, even eliminated. Feel free to skip or Fast-Forward the video when no relevant observations can be done.


      Click Here for Part 2

      Also Read:

      Success report on SMED a Case Study in the Ceramics Industry

      SMED in Food Packaging Case Study



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