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Jun 23, 2012

The Benefits of SMED

In manufacturing, one of the manager's never ending duties is to find ways to continually optimize and streamline the facility's operations. Even little incremental changes can have a huge effect in improving worker efficiency and output flow. Every level of the assembly line must be analyzed for weaknesses and problems so that the issues can be properly addressed. Anything that can cause a slowdown or pause during any phase of production is an enemy of any factory setting. One common source of work stoppage is the routine shift and employees changes. Aside from creating a backlog that can be very difficult to recover from, such occurrences also cost the company precious time and money. Lost profits can easily amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars through accumulated interruptions. One excellent way administrators can deal with this matter is with the introduction of Quick Changeover Simulations into their Human Resources Department's employee curriculum. Also called SMED games, these simulations are classroom activities that can be practiced during regularly scheduled HR appointments, or dedicated company-wide team building excursions. A SMED offers many advantages to any firm running an assembly line in the manufacturing industry. Foremost among its many gifts is its ability to instill in employees the proper techniques that can reduce shift change downtime to its very minimum. Through constant practice and repetition, workers get to understand firsthand the actual reason why certain protocols are in place instead of just blindly following their boss's instructions. This is useful when you want to institute stricter measures, but don't want it to negatively affect workforce morale. Running a SMED will also provide employees a safe venue to fail and mess-up operational processes without having it threaten the wellbeing of neither the company nor the workers themselves. In this way, people can learn how to avoid repeating their mistakes without hurting anyone. Finally, a SMED is also an effective team building tool. It allows the workers to build relationships and a sense of camaraderie with each other. This leads to increased employee morale which statistics show has a direct effect on a person's work rate, efficiency and production output. Never forget that happy companies are also profitable companies.