This long established English pet food manufacturer had asked WBS to conduct a planning and operational assessment to identify areas for cost savings. One recommendation from the assessment was to reduce the changeover time on three packaging machines using the SMED methodology. This reduction in downtime would improve capacity and give the shop floor the flexibility to better execute the production plan. WBS were asked to initiate a SMED implementation programme with a targeted changeover time reduction of at least 50%.
The SMED Programme
The programme was designed as a joint effort between client staff and the WBS team. WBS designed the programme, led the first event at the first machine and supported the first event at the second machine. Skills and knowledge transfer from WBS had then enabled the client to run all further SMED events on their own.
Each SMED project comprised:
- Communication to management and operators about the SMED initiative
- Gathering baseline data for current changeover times
- SMED training of operators, technicians, and supervisors
- Videoing a typical changeover
- Analysis of the changeover video involving operators, technicians, and supervisors
- Trial changeover following new agreed process
- Implementation of changeover time monitoring tool and reporting
- Adjustments of new process and creation of time boxed activity plan to achieve further time reductions
As expected, the SMED programme identified a series of mechanical/technical issues whose resolution would further reduce changeover times. Health and Safety procedures and packaging designs were also challenged.
Step by Step
Video a changeover
Analyse video and trial run
Monitor and sustain results
The initial changeover reduction on the first packaging machine resulted in:
- Skills and knowledge transfer to client staff
- Operator involvement and accountability
- Improved morale
- Increased capacity
- Increased operator efficiency
- Redesign of existing processes (from 99 to 34 process steps)
- Development of new lean and fast processes
- Implementation of monitoring and management tools
The client continued this SMED process on a further two packaging machines and achieved similar results.