Conduct a SMED Event to Reduce Setup Times

Conduct a SMED Event to Reduce Setup Times


One of the most powerful lean manufacturing tools available to manufacturers is the SMED event.

In a nutshell, SMED enables manufacturers to identify—and remove—the waste in their changeover processes. All manufacturers, regardless of size, can benefit from SMED. You don’t need any special equipment to conduct a SMED event, although Amper certainly makes it easier.

Time Commitment: Medium

Features Required: Downtime Labeling, Setup Module (helpful but not required)

Notes: Before you put the time and effort into conducting a SMED event, you want to first understand if setup and changeover times are a leading cause of downtime at your factory. Many of our customers have been inspired to conduct a SMED event after they completed a few weeks of downtime labeling. The data helped them understand just how much time was wasted during the changeover process and justified a SMED event.


For more information about SMED events, download our eBook and watch the recorded webinar.

To conduct a SMED event, you will need to follow these steps:

  1. Choose a target process. The process you choose should be one that has a high number of changeovers and setup times.
  2. Create a cross-functional team. The team should include representatives from all areas that are affected by the process, such as production, maintenance, quality control, and engineering.
  3. Map out the process. This will help you understand the current state of the process and identify areas where you can make improvements.
  4. Identify internal and external setup activities. Internal activities are those that must be done while the machine is stopped, while external activities can be done while the machine is running. Focus on converting as many internal activities to external as possible.
  5. Test and implement improvements. Once you have identified areas for improvement, test out different solutions and implement the ones that work best.

Remember, the goal of a SMED event is to reduce setup times and increase efficiency. Keep this in mind as you work through each step of the process.

Here are some examples of improvements we've seen in the past:

  • Reduce adjustment times
    • Create jigs for simple adjustments
    • Use duplicate jigs
    • Pre-adjust tooling
    • Use quick release mechanisms or other types of functional clamps
    • Reevaluate engineering tolerances on parts to reduce fine adjustment time
  • Quality takes too long to approve
    • Autonomous gauging by operator. Create simple go/no go gauges that ops can use instead of needing number measurements by quality
    • Andon call for quality
    • Setup system where you can start running new job while quality approves, if they approve then those pieces go into production approved zone, if they don't approve then you scrap them (need to do cost analysis on how often quality rejects first piece and whether you can take the hit if quality rejects at that rate)
  • Cleaning after finishing job
    • Add guarding to enable safe cleaning while the process is running
  • Takes too long to gather setup materials
    • Kitting setup carts
    • Point of use storage for setup tools
    • 5S
  • Setup person doing another setup/something else
    • Have dedicated setup techs
    • Create parallel operations
  • Setup employee doesn't know machine is ready for setup
    • Andon calls for setup techs