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Sep 29, 2010

SMED Kaizen - Rapid Improvement in few Days!

Single Minute Exchange of Die (SMED) is a lean kaizen event designed to reduce the changeover times between production runs. It's measured as the time from the last good product of the current production run to the first good product of the next run. Two different companies have used this SMED Kaizen to improve their business performance within the last month.

One is a molding company, where the changeover times on a molding machine averaged 8.8 hours before the kaizen. A team of 18 people attacked this problem. The team was subdivided into three groups:
a) A mold preparation team,
b) A quality assurance team, and
c) A scheduling team.

The results achieved on this kaizen were:
1. Reduction of mold preparation time from 8.8 hours to 4.2 hours,
2. Reduction of quality assurance time from 2.8 hours to 45 minutes, and
3. Scheduling changes to run products in a more logical sequence in smaller batch sizes.

The other is a medical devices company, where the changeover time on a packaging line averaged 18 minutes and there were approximately 30 changeovers per 24 hour day. A team of 18 people (coincidently the same number) was divided into three groups to attack this problem:
a) A TPM (Total Productive Maintenance) team,
b) A SMED team, and
c) A scheduling team.

One surprising discovery of the TPM team was that OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness) on this particular packaging line was only 28.8%. This means the line was only producing good product 28.8% of the time it was scheduled. The largest loss of effectiveness was in minor stops and jams, averaging 38%.

The results achieved on this kaizen were:
1. Improve throughput in packaging by 30%,
2. Reduce the changeover time from 18 minutes to 9 minutes, and
3. Increase OEE from 28.8% to 37%.

Although #3 was a modest gain at best, it was determined to conduct a special TPM Kaizen as soon as possible on this packaging equipment to eventually achieve 85% OEE, which is world-class.