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Sep 20, 2014

The Power of SMED

1. What is Single Minute Exchange of Die (SMED)? Single Minute Exchange of Die (SMED) is a simple but powerful Lean technique for reducing waste in a manufacturing process. It is a systematic approach that enables organizations to dramatically reduce set-up time or changeover time. It provides a rapid and efficient way of changing the machine set-up in a manufacturing process from one product to another. 2. Why is the SMED important to improving manufacturing flexibility? SMED reduces the set-up time. Long set-up time resulted in a reduced number of set-ups, larger batch sizes and larger buffering work-in-process inventories and poor process flow and performance. Since set-up activities add no marketable form, fit, or function to the product, they are by definition non-value adding. By reducing set-up time, more set-ups can be completed each day, batch size can be correspondingly reduced, flow can be significantly improved. All these improvement will help to improve manufacturing flexibility. 3. What is the history of Single Minute Exchange of Die (SMED) method? Single Minute Exchange of Die (SMED) method was pioneered by Mr. Shigeo Shingo since 1950 in Japan, but only became popular to the other part of the world in 1980s. 4. What are the 4 stages of Set-up Reduction? Stage 1. Ensure that external setup actions are performed while the machine is still running, Stage 2. Separate external and internal setup actions, ensure that the parts all function and implement efficient ways of transporting the die and other parts, Stage 3. Convert internal setup actions to external, Stage 4. Improve all setup actions. 5. What is the definition of Internal and External activities? Internal activities are those that can only be performed when the process is stopped, while external activities can be done while the last batch is being produced, or once the next batch has started. Examples of external activities include pre-heating of raw material and preparation of tools before the machine stops. 6. What is the best way to see immediate results when implementing SMED technique? One of the best ways to see immediate result of the technique is to perform a kaizen event using SMED technique on a pilot machine. The kaizen event usually takes about 3 to 5 days and will repeat the 4 stages of SMED over several iterations. A good rule of thumb is to target 50% improvement for each iteration, and repeat the process until the target is achieved. 7. How can SMED helps in Lean implementation? Most people's initial reaction to the quantum improvement brought about by SMED is disbelieved, followed by total acceptance and commitment to Lean transformation. So if you need to gain some ground support and buy-in in your Lean implementation, consider a pilot project on SMED for a good head start!
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Sep 8, 2014

Why You Want to be a Six Sigma Master Black Belt ?

The Sigma level of a process describes the performance of a process or product characteristic when compared to a customer specification. A Six Sigma process exhibits no more than 3.4 defects per million opportunities. Very few business processes achieve this level of performance and consequently most organizations endure very high costs and poor quality. Most company processes produce in excess of 6000 (approximately Four Sigma or less) defects per million opportunities which is often simply not good enough for today's competitive environment where customer demands increase exponentially. Achieving a Six Sigma level of performance requires that a systematic customer focused methodology and disciplined project selection and execution framework be deployed throughout your company. To achieve such a deployment people at all levels of the organization must be trained in Six Sigma. Six Sigma identifies Five Key Roles for its successful implementation. These are Executives, Champions, the Six Sigma Master Black Belt, Six Sigma Black Belts, and Six Sigma Green Belts. While all these roles are important the Six Sigma Master Black Belt plays a pivotal role in your companies Six Sigma deployment. A Six Sigma Master Black Belt will coach managers, partner with Champions and guide Black Belts and Green Belts as they work to complete their projects. Master Black Belts possess a unique combination of soft (people) skills and hard (technical) skills. Successful Six Sigma Master Black Belts are your future business leaders. They have advanced knowledge and experience applying Lean, Six-Sigma and Lean-Sigma methods and tools. They can help your company fully internalize your Lean Sigma Deployment and reduce or remove your dependence on outside consultants and suppliers. They consistently solve your toughest business problems. They are able to share their expertise effectively with others and generate infectious excitement around your Lean Six Sigma program. Six Sigma Master Black Belts also facilitate project selection and project reviews. They mentor, teach, coach and lead Black Belts and Green Belts to successful project completion. They consistently deliver exceptional bottom line savings and top line growth for your company. Sigma Breakthrough Technologies offers a comprehensive and challenging Six Sigma Master Black Belt training program for the development of Six Sigma leaders. It is the benchmark for continuing development of Six Sigma training and deployment resources. SBTI's Six Sigma Master Black Belt core training program provides a powerful and unique combination of advanced hard and soft skills training. Early in a Six Sigma Lean deployment a great deal of a companies success results from "picking the low hanging fruit". The tools required to solve these problems typically include a Project Charter, Process Mapping, Cause and Effect Matrix, FMEA, a few simple statistical tools and a Control Plan. These projects are typically localized and are fairly easy to lead and manage. Once the "low hanging fruit" begins to dry up companies are left facing the big chronic business problems that have been plaguing them for years. These business problems often require a combination of advanced statistical skills and superior leadership and people skills. Fifty percent of SBTI's Six Sigma Master Black Belt program focuses on advanced statistical skills. These advanced skills enable the Six Sigma Master Black Belt and the belts they coach to deal with the complex data structures that often underlie a company's toughest business problems. But hard skills are only half the formula to success. The remaining 50% of the SBTI Six Sigma Master Black Belt program focuses on soft skills like managing the Six Sigma Lean program, leadership, leading change, communicating with passion and connection and teaching Six Sigma. The soft skills arm the Master Black Belts with the skills required to lead large multi-functional and/or global teams that are required to solve the tough problems. The combination of advanced hard and soft skills is the success formula that will enable your Master Black Belts to yield large financial returns. Based on a sample of 25 Master Black Belts trained and certified by Sigma Breakthrough Technologies the average savings per Six Sigma Master Black Belt personal project is $2,000,000. In addition, the average annual savings realized from the Black Belts and Green Belts who have been coached by SBTI's Master Black Belts is $7,000,000. This provides a hefty return on investment in excess of 200X for SBTI's Six Sigma Master Black Belt program!
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Sep 5, 2014

How to Ensure Quality Control on your Products ?

In the manufacturing, most suppliers strive for their own production of a level of quality control in every product category. There are a lot of different ways or measures to ensure the quality of interlining merchandises, ranging from the actual product performance itself to the physical composition components of the product. Though there are many ways to improve quality control. Here is a list of some ways that you can rely on to improve the control on quality of the interlining products. Firstly, of all the measures and ways to ensure the quality of interlining products, quality control tests and inspections are the greatest ones. Traditional interlining suppliers only have live inspector or testers to perform an audit of control on quality. However, pioneer interlining suppliers like Interlining Source also perform an automated inspection. The option of a live test or an automated inspection depends on the manufacturing process and the type of the products. For example, some types of woven interlining need a live test, while others require both. This is also true to non-woven interlining and fusible interlining. The testing procedure itself is also a key factor to determine the option. In addition, It is recommended the interlining supplier to train the individual employees within the company in quality inspection, rather than hiring a live inspector. This is already becoming a popular option for the interlining suppliers. Not only the company can save money on the additional head count, but also quality control training for the production workers will help improve the quality of the products. This is because that control on quality improvement has become an additional assigned task for the employees in the production lines for products like woven interlining, non-woven interlining and fusible interlining. By this training way, the company will not only get merchandises manufactured and quality improvement inspection done with the same employee at the same time, but also lower manufacturing costs. Secondly, another way you can apply to ensure quality control on interlining products is computer software. There are many leading software providers that help the interlining suppliers to manage control on product quality. Some software is very helpful in increasing the product performance. For example, leading software can track the quality of products to the RoHs Directive. Indeed, if the interlining suppliers need to adhere to restriction of the use of specific hazardous substances in their quality control testing, such software might be helpful in improving the control on product quality. A third way to ensure quality control of interlining products is using charts and graphs. By applying the charts and graphs, the interlining suppliers can map out whether their products like woven interlining, non-woven interlining and fusible interlining are meeting quality specifications. Generally these maps and charts are applied after the quality control inspection, test, or quality experiment is completed. By following comprehensive analyses and stringent observation on the charts and graphs, the interlining suppliers can get a betting idea on weakness point of the quality control on the products in interlining industry. All these ways are only a starting point to get an idea to ensure the quality control on interlining products such as woven interlining, non-woven interlining and fusible interlining. The pioneer supplier like Interlining Source is striving for the linkage between six sigma management and the interlining manufacturing. This is, perhaps, the current ultimate way to ensure control on the product quality.
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