You have a process in place to ensure changeover times are as short as possible
Short changeover times are the foundation of successful high variety, low volume manufacturing. If they can be reduced to near-zero then the economics of low volume manufacturing approach those of high volume. This, linked to the benefits of the increased flexibility, provides real competitive advantage
Key Issues
·         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
Factors for Success      
Factors to  Avoid
1.     Teams continually think about how to reduce changeover times
2.     Management provide tools and equipment that assist the process
3.     The benefits of producing in smaller batch quantities are fully acknowledged
4.     Time is allocated for training, practice and continual improvement
1.     Management rhetoric without support
2.     Allowing changes to be implemented without full technical/risk assessments
3.     Compromising safety or quality in the drive for rapid changeovers
Who does this apply to?
Production managers, team leaders/supervisors, design teams operators
Realisable Benefits
Improved flexibility to deliver in lower volumes, reduced inventories, released cash


Logistics co-ordinationLogistics co-ordination

Logistics co-ordination

Uninterrupted material flowUninterrupted material flow

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Responding to changes in volumes and product mixResponding to changes in volumes and product mix

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Make versus buyMake versus buy

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The supplier approval processThe supplier approval process

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Monitoring supplier performanceMonitoring supplier performance

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Sharing information with suppliersSharing information with suppliers

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Managing inventory throughout the supply chainManaging inventory throughout the supply chain

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Improving the delivery performance of suppliersImproving the delivery performance of suppliers

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Material flow and the factoryMaterial flow and the factory

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Production scheduling processProduction scheduling process

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Calculating production capacityCalculating production capacity

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Visual managementVisual management

Visual management

Health and safetyHealth and safety

Health and safety





Ensuring equipment is availableEnsuring equipment is available

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Consistent manufacturingConsistent manufacturing

Consistent manufacturing