Lean Setup Time Reduction

Of the many MUDAs (waste in Japanese) often identified in a manufacturing operation, setup or change-over time is considered one of the key time wasters.  Because an operation has to be stopped during a change-over from one product to another, or during start-up phase in the beginning of a job (setup), productivity is directly affected by the downtime as a result.

World-class companies – regardless of their size – recognize the importance of setup reduction and therefore invests significant amount of time and resources minimizing the setup or change-over times.  They understand that for every minute of setup time reduced, they gain one minute of usable, production time.

Unlike some simpler Lean Manufacturing methodologies, setup or change-over reduction (also called Single Minute Exchange of Dies or SMED for short) requires a structured, disciplined approach to systematically take the waste out of the process.


Benefits of reducing set-up time:

  • Faster throughput, reduced lead times, and lower labor costs
  • Faster customer delivery
  • Reduced overhead and operating costs
  • Improved cash flow
  • Increased production capacity (both equipment and employee availability)
  • Greater flexibility in dealing with customers’ low-volume, high-variety demand


Topics to be covered:

  • Batch vs. one-piece-flow processes
  • Single Minute Exchange of Die (SMED)
  • Types of setup activities
  • Techniques for applying SMED
  • Standardization