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Rapid changeover

Also known as Quick changeover, Machine changeover, Single Minute Exchange of Dies (SMED) and One Minute Exchanges of Dies OMED), this principle that enables reduced lot size and hence more flexible manufacturing was developed at Toyota by Shigeo Shingo. SMED and OMED are actually specific instances of rapid changeover which Shingo spent much time perfecting.

Many processes have two parts: the setup process that happens once, and the operational process which may happen many times. In a manufacturing situation, setting up a machine may include such as inserting new dies, cutters, etc. In many situations, the setup process runs so infrequently that it is not critical whether it is very efficient: in such cases, the operational process is the main target of improvement activity and it can be useful improvement trick to move work from the oft-repeated operational process into the once-repeated setup process.

However, where the setup process is run frequently, the setup process becomes a significant target for improvement. This is the case in flexible manufacturing, when you want to change the operation of machines far more frequently.

Aside: Setup also appears in business processes: planning is essentially a setup process, being the preparation before the main event occurs. When pressures such as faster whole product lifecycle turns become significant, then principles from rapid changeover may be used to help improve these business processes also.

Achieving rapid changeover is not magic. It includes such activities as creating process flows and checklists and using principles of prior action and parallel operations to ensure that everything is to hand when it is needed.

See also:

Lean systems

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