When Mr. Ritsuo Shingo - whose father developed the process of SMED (Single Minutes Exchange of Die; a literal translation) - visited Cambridge last week, we were treated to an overview of how the process was implemented to be part of the famed Toyota Production System.
To watch a brief summary of his presentation to Cambridge employees and Lean tour guests, click here.
The operational engineers at Cambridge, having been familiar with SMED through their Lean training, found the first two opportunities to perform our own SMED events in the M-Series and S-Series lines.
First, the facts. Our S-Series testing process was clocking in at 2 hours and 13 minutes from start to finish. To be able to review the whole process, we set up a tripod equipped with an iPhone to record the tester and equipment as they would naturally unfold. Then, a group of engineers, team leads and testers watched the footage to identify areas of improvement, leading to some easily obtainable adjustments such as moving one test to another line and using battery powered tools rather than hand tools for adjustment.
Five minutes have been shaved off so far in this SMED event, though other opportunities for improvement were noted and are in differing stages of implementation.
Similarly, the M-Series SMED event was able to cut 9 minutes from their testing time - from 2 hours and 48 minutes to 2 hours and 39 minutes.
All in all, we’d call these first two SMED events for Cambridge a success as total process time was cut down. We are looking forward to conducting a Kaizen event to improve the process of Design through Cutting.