Simplicity, efficiency, and consistency. The main goal of lean is to minimize waste and maximize efficiency. Many companies turn to lean manufacturing to enhance customer satisfaction while minimizing waste. We have also covered many different techniques that can help do this, such as Lean Six Sigma, Root Cause and Kaizen.

One way to minimize waste is to reduce equipment changeover time through Single-Minute Exchange of Dies. If the changeover time is shorter, that means downtime decreases drastically. This is important as downtime is a huge waste that must be minimized or eliminated. Single-Minute Exchange of Dies, shortly SMED, is a method used as part of lean manufacturing to reduce the time required to complete equipment changeovers.

Let’s dive into it to discover what SMED is, why it is beneficial, and how to implement the SMED process to improve operations in your company.

What is SMED?

Single-Minute Exchange of Die(SMED) is a method for drastically reducing the time it takes to complete equipment changeovers. The core of the SMED method is to convert as many changeover steps as possible to “external” (performed while the equipment is running) and to simplify and streamline the remaining steps. The name Single-Minute Exchange of Die (SMED) is connected with the goal of reducing changeover times to the “single” digits such as less than 10 minutes.

History of SMED

The founding ideas behind SMED emerged when equipment changeovers were very common. SMED was officially developed by Japanese industrial engineer Shigeo Shingo, who is credited as the father of SMED, between the 1950s and 1960s. Although different companies have different needs, the SMED remains the same across in the automotive, machine manufacturing and home appliances industry.

SMED Benefits

A successful SMED technique will have the following benefits:

  • Lower overall manufacturing cost: Less equipment downtime due to faster changeovers
  • Smaller Lot Sizes: Faster turnover time enables more frequent product changes
  • Improved customer satisfaction: Quicker and better response to customer needs
  • Reduced waste: Mostly wasteful time and workforce are eliminated and directed to value-adding activities.
  • Lower Inventory Levels: Assists kanban techniques with low inventory levels and high turnover rates

All these benefits play a role in the lean manufacturing mindset: maximizing customer value while minimizing waste. Lean manufacturing is one of the best umbrella techniques to use SMED in tandem with.

Implementing SMED

It’s important to mention that this is an outline of the main steps of SMED, not an ultimate checklist or other “must-do” list.

Here are the steps for integrating the SMED manufacturing process into your company:

1. Choose and Identify a Process

Observe and record a process in the company where you want to improve the changeover times. This becomes your structure that you will work to improve.

2. Identify Elements

After identifying the process, determine the classification of the elements. One way to effectively do this is by recording an entire system changeover process and then analyzing it with Khenda tools. Khenda advanced engineering tools largely help in identifying which steps can be improved.

3. Separate External Elements

For the third step, make sure to have a solid understanding of your external elements. You need to identify which steps can be done externally, which means that it is done before the actual changeover.

4. Convert Internal to External

Analyze steps that will be changed from internal to external. Determine which of these changed steps will have a positive impact in terms of cost and time. This will help guide which step change can be applied first.

5. Start Streamlining

This is the last step where the defined steps is streamed to make it faster. With Khenda Industry experts team, you can review the remaining elements on your list and discuss simplifying them. When streamlining, it’s important to consider the potential wasted motion and the time people are kept waiting.

The visual below, it displays how implementing SMED manufacturing can improve operations.

The Takeaway

The implementation of SMED in your company can lower your manufacturing costs, reduce lot sizes, reduce inventory levels, improve customer satisfaction, and reduce overall waste. Now that you have learned the benefits and steps for implementing SMED, it’s time to put it into practice.

If you are planning to implement our award-winning solutions to your manufacturing plants, Khenda can help take the first step.

Schedule a meeting with us today!