· Just in time, Lean Manufacturing, Kanban systems etc. all depend on increasing the flow of materials through the supply chain and producing in smaller batches
· If you work in batches, your senior managers must champion the continuous drive for reducing changeover times, eliciting help and ideas from the people working the machines
· The discipline of Single Minute Exchange of Dies (SMED) has been developed by Shigeo Shingo to assist in the reduction of changeover times. In overview, it advocates the following steps:
o Changeover tasks should be divided into:
o those that can be undertaken whilst the machine is running – try to maximise these.
o those which HAVE to be performed when machine is stopped -make sure all the equipment needed is available on shadow boards adjacent to the machine
o Standard changeover routines should be prepared and people trained in how to perform the various tasks, capturing ideas for improvement
o Machine start up instructions must be provided, giving clear guidance on adjustments needed to bring the process to optimum quality and speed as fast as possible
o Changeover kits should be prepared to include new production tooling, fixtures, and specialist equipment needed to affect the changeover.
o Teams should practise machine changeovers and video the event to help identify the waste due to waiting, movement and defective parts
o Design teams should be encouraged to restrict the number of tools required for a family of parts to the number available in the tooling carousel
o Common features and fixtures should be adopted whenever feasible
o Machines should be modified to simplify the changeovers. For example: fit manifolds for water, oil, air; eliminate bolts; use standard pallets etc
o Reducing machine changeover times make good improvement projects, allowing teams to develop innovative solutions for tooling, fixtures etc
o Switching production from one family of products to another does not always involve the same amount of effort. Therefore, production planning should take this into account when loading the factory