SMED: Beyond Quick Changeover: Driving Value from Hidden Nonproductive Time

Andrew Wheatcroft

Lean Deployment & Strategic Planning Manager at Caterpillar

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"Lean is simple, to quote Taiichi Ohno ""All we are doing is looking at the time line, from the moment the customer gives us an order, to the point when we collect the cash "". SMED (Single Minute Exchange of Die) is a technique developed by Ohno's partner in Lean, Shigeo Shengo. The west has been slow in adopting SMED and has become asset rich which translates to ROI and cash flow poor, with low agility.

It does not have to be complex or complicated. 80% of the benefit of SMED can be achieved by less than 20% the perceived effort. Uncovering both hidden and obvious non-productive time often has a much greater impact than the risks and yields of focusing solely on productivity improvement. Too often significant Asset Utilization (ROI), Throughput (Profit) and Inventory (Cash Flow) may be hidden in plain sight.

Key Takeaways:

  • Traditional Economic Batch Theory is fatally flawed, SMED disrupts this logic

  • Focusing on no productive time may be more valuable and effective than focusing on process efficiency

  • 4 simple Steps, 7 simple rules to transforming asset utilization and flexibility

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