Skip to main content

SMED (Single Minute Exchange of Dies)

I heard a statement recently about how SMED was something you do to ‘polish’ a process, after you have done everything else you need to do to that production process.

When I worked through the experience part of gaining my Engineering Chartership I had never heard of the term SMED, it was just something you did to streamline a process – to remove the ‘dead time’ when changing over. Since the lean movement has grown (where I first heard the term SMED) we understand better the need for flexibility within production environments and how quick changeovers can really help.

As you can imagine, I disputed the statement that SMED was something you do at the end. I’m sure that you agree that it is just good working practice.

If you aren’t familiar with SMED it is a really useful method for taking the work out of a changeover and minimising the time where the process is not running at full speed. A common approach is to:

1 - List all of the activities required to changeover.
2 - Reorganise the activities so that there are less to do when the process is stopped (see diagram below).
3 - Find ways to eliminate adjustments (so that it ‘just works’ once the changeover has been completed).
4 - Eliminate variations, ideally so only one type of changeover takes place and so efficiency is gained from practice and consistency.
5 - Find ways to reduce the overall level of effort required – come up with smarter ways of doing the tasks that are still left.


If you are looking to undertake SMED activities in your business please don’t forget to include all of the activities and machines / people that are involved with the changeover. Sometimes the process that is holding everything back is an ancillary piece of kit, so include everything!


Giles Johnston
Smartspeed Consulting Limited
Taking the frustration out of on time delivery.

Popular posts from this blog

Stop firefighting, start performing!

Another weeks passes and another example of unnecessary fire fighting demonstrated by a business I have been to help. If you have this taking place in your business, let me ask you a few questions: 1. What keeps on happening? Regain control with this practical book Can you pin down what it is that you keep having to do, to get out of trouble? If you can't, is there a pattern you can observe? 2. Do you want it to stop? Is it causing you enough of a problem that you want it to stop? If the answer is yes, keep reading, if not park it for another day. 3. Find out what is going on Do you know why you are having this issue? If you aren't sure where the issue is arising from, then take a few minutes to have a look around. When you have some idea, go to the next step. 4. Cause and effect Do you know what is truly causing the fire fighting situation? If you spend the time to get to the root cause of the situation , you have a good chance of permanently eliminating this situation. Most p

Kaizen improvements need to be specific

Do you find that your Kaizen improvements don't always go to plan? If you do, then you're with the majority! Whilst there is great deal of 'trial and error' there is a simple approach that can help. Available from Amazon Being specific about critical parts of your improvement can uplift your results. So, how do you go about doing this? The most direct route is to be clear about which parts of your improvement are critical. From here you can explain, in detail, what you want for those items. This might take some practice as many of us have become lazy in this regard. We take it for granted that our team 'get us' and will know what they need to do. If you ever feel that something basic is missing from an improvement ask this question: "What does good look like?" The answer should put you back on track. About the author: Giles Johnston is a Chartered Engineer who specialises in helping businesses to grow and improve through better business processes and

Are your teams clear?

I have recently finished working with a team that were struggling. They were struggling to meet their production schedules. They were struggling to respond to customer enquiries on time. They were burnt out and frazzled. After some prodding and poking it became clear what their issues were. In particular, it became obvious that expectations of the team weren't clear or defined. Defining what you expect from teams is a standard management approach. The problem with most teams is that leadership describe the standards in vague terms . So, what happens if you get the standards crystal clear? You should expect to see the team produce the right outputs. They should produce the outputs at the right time. And, they should produce them in an agreed way. Be clear with your teams. Ask the question: What does good look like? If you want to get some more ideas on how to define effective standards and visions, get your copy of my book today . What does good look like? is a practical guide to h