SMED - Single Minute Exchange of Dies

Improvement Insights Blog

SMED – Single Minute Exchange of Dies

John, a senior executive who went to Japan, saw that his hosts were accomplishing in a single minute a task that took his plant over 45 minutes. After seeing that it was possible, his team managed to collapse cycle time at their plant. If you keep your eyes open, you might see someone solving an “unsolvable” issue.

“Hi, I’m Jay Arthur, author of “Lean Six Sigma Demystified” and QI Macros [software].

“I’ve been telling you my story about John, the senior leader who went to Japan. He said when they were over there they discovered something called SMED: Single Minute Exchange of Dies. So changeover time was a single minute, and that’s what they were trying to get to. [Within] their plants, guess what? It was taking 45 minutes to an hour to do this.

“It was just a shock that anybody would think that you could do this in this amount of time, but guess what? They went back and started changing how they did die changes (or whatever changes), and guess what? They collapsed their cycle time by doing that.

“So sometimes just one idea, and if you see that somebody else is doing it, you can [say], “What? That’s… how did that happen?” So I want to encourage you: keep your eyes open, keep your ears open, just don’t throw things out. Somebody somewhere is doing something that would be very useful to you.

“Let’s create a hassle-free America, hassle-free healthcare. Let’s go out and improve something this week… maybe you need SMED.”