What Is Single Minute Exchange Of Dies (SMED)?

Single minute exchange of dies is a system that allows you to alter your manufacturing process quickly and can involve many techniques or combinations of techniques. Most SMED strategies include making changeover steps external. External changes to the manufacturing process don't require stopping the production process to initiate them.

The system first was created by a man named Shigeo Shingo. Shigeo Shingo worked as an industrial engineer in Japan, and he was a very influential figure who helped many companies to develop lean manufacturing strategies.

Single Minute Exchange of Dies (SMED)

Why Are These Strategies Called Single Minute Exchange Of Dies?

Single minute exchange of dies strategies can reduce the time it takes to alter the manufacturing process down to less than ten minutes and is why it's called the single minute exchange of dies. While many business owners initially see this as unrealistic, it can be possible to reduce the amount of time it takes to alter your manufacturing by as much as twenty-fold.

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What Are The Benefits Of Single Minute Exchange Of Dies?

Cutting back the time it takes to alter your manufacturing process can do several things for your business.

Here are some benefits of reducing the time required to change your manufacturing processes

1. Lessen The Cost Of Manufacturing

When machines are idle, and nothing is being produced, the company isn't making any profit. This can cause overhead costs to have a significant adverse effect on your business. Reducing the number of times that machines are idle drastically reduces the expense that's often associated with altering your manufacturing process.

2. You'll Be More Able To Respond To The Needs Of Your Customers

Sometimes, a significant number of loyal customers will want products that you don't currently sell. It can be difficult to accommodate their needs if changing your manufacturing process is difficult. If you implement single minute of dies strategies, it might be possible to respond to the needs of these customers quickly.

When customers feel that they have a voice with your company, they are likely to become even more loyal customers. Furthermore, they may be more likely to encourage other people to buy your products.

3. Streamlining Your Inventory

If you can change your manufacturing process quickly, you'll have the opportunity to shrink your inventory. This can reduce the need for storage space, which often is a significant component of overhead costs in manufacturing. It's also easier to organize a smaller inventory.

4. Improvements In Quality

SMED strategies can make it possible to improve the quality of your products. This will make your products more appealing to your customers, and it can allow you to grow your company.

Are There Ever Disadvantages To Using Single Minute Exchange Of Dies?

There are cases when it isn't recommended to use the single minute exchange of dies strategies. If you aren't able to create a 20% reduction in the amount of time that it takes to alter your manufacturing process, it's typically best not to use a single minute exchange of dies type strategy. In these cases, creating a single minute exchange of dies system may use up too much of the company's time and resources.

How Can You Implement A Single Minute Exchange Of Dies Program?

Certain crucial steps are involved in implementing a single minute exchange of dies process in your business' manufacturing process. Here are the basic steps that you should follow to apply a single minute exchange of dies program into your business' manufacturing process:

1. Determine Where You Will Implement The Strategies

To do this, you must carefully look at your manufacturing process and all parts of it. Your process will enable you to pinpoint parts of this process that can be changed, but there are also will likely be parts of the process that are best not changed.

If the amount of time that a step in the manufacturing process takes varies between batches by some hours, this is a sign that changes could be made to streamline it. These parts of your production process are often some of the most important ones to optimize.

Furthermore, it's important that you'll be able to train your workers to integrate the changes to the changeover process. Also, make sure that the starting changeover time that you're dealing with isn't particularly overwhelming. If it is, it might not be possible to streamline the process effectively. Also, make sure that it will be immediately possible to shorten the changeover time.

2. Make Your Final Preparations To Implement The Changes

When you are preparing to make changes to a changeover process, it's important to be aware of everything that takes place during the changeover. There are many ways that you can do this, but one of the best ways is to videotape the process. This can allow you to see small details in the process that might otherwise be ignored. Furthermore, it's important to take notes on the videotape of the changeover process. In addition to paying close attention to the steps themselves, it's important to take note of the order they're performed in.

It's important to know what parts of the process can be changed without stopping the equipment at all. If certain parts of the process involve making alterations in the equipment, try to see if it's possible to alter these parts of the manufacturing process without stopping the equipment. This can help to shave a substantial amount of time off of the changeover.

3. Implement The Changes

The next step is to apply the changes and provide your employees with any necessary training. In some cases, this can uncover unexpected problems that must be solved. As you use the single minute exchange of dies strategies more frequently, it will become easier to perform the necessary steps for implementing SMED in changeover processes.

4. Be Open To Continued Changes In The Process

It's possible that you may not find everything that could be streamlined right away, and there may be some things that your employees help you to notice. Therefore, it's essential that you encourage your employees to come to you if they have any ideas for how the manufacturing process may work more efficiently. Therefore, you should always remain approachable and encourage your employees to come to you if they have ideas.

Furthermore, you should regularly examine the manufacturing process to look for things that could be streamlined. It's also a good idea to seek the continued advice of engineers and manufacturing experts at your company to figure out how the process could be simplified. Also, be on the lookout for any unexpected problems with the production process that could come up.

What Is An Example Of Single Minute Exchange Of Dies Strategy?

One example of single minute exchange of dies strategy in action is the speed in which tires are changed during NASCAR races. This change often takes place in a matter of seconds, but it would take an average person as much as 15 minutes or so to change a tire. This is possible because the SMED type strategies has been implemented. There are several SMED strategies that are implemented in this example.

For instance, the process of getting the tools is streamlined. The process of jacking up the car is also streamlined. The process of actually changing the tire is done as quickly as possible due to extensive practice. Furthermore, the process of putting the equipment away is streamlined. However, it's streamlined in such a way that the mechanic is easily able to repeat the process if another tire needs to be changed. This SMED example is possible due to a combination of training of employees, organization, and the appropriate equipment, which is typical of SREM strategies.

Is There Assistance Available For Companies To Integrate SMED Strategies?

Manufacturing consultants can provide you with advice on how you can incorporate SMED strategies into your manufacturing process and luckily, there are many consultant firms out there. However, it's essential that you choose a manufacturing consultant agency that has been reviewed well by other companies and offers a good price.

Manufacturing consultants may be able to identify parts of the changeover that can be streamlined that you wouldn't recognize. Often, this type of analysis leads to business owners realizing that there is more that can be streamlined than they realize.

Furthermore, it's essential that the manufacturing consultant firm that you choose provides training to your employees in addition to just assisting you in changing your equipment. It also is important to ensure that the manufacturing consultant that you choose is experienced in the industry that your company does business in.

There also are courses that you can take where you can learn more about SMED. Some courses are available online, but there are also books that you can read on the subject and can help you to become better informed about how you can integrate SMED strategies into your business.

Author: Eric Raio

Eric Raio is one of the founders of Factory Solutions. When he isn't plotting new ways to create awesome software. He likes to geek out about flying drones and technology.

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