In the first three phases of the REDUCE methodology, required data is established, the value stream is engaged for a deeper understanding and internal and external activities are differentiated or separated as defined in the SMED system. The first two phases are largely gathering information and analysis while the second begins to separate tasks and define what can be done while the machine is running and what can be done while the machine is stopped.
We must acknowledge that the act of internal setup is a business necessary activity. It essentially adds no value to the product or service but is in fact necessary. Because of this, we must focus on reducing these internal activities. This requires two steps:
Understanding the function and purpose of every task involved in your internal setup involves looking at activities as they occur, not as they should occur. Remember you have taken a gemba walk and gathered information, video recorded the setup in its entirety and mapped the process out. This valuable information will allow you to look at the setup process as it is, in the current state. As you do this you will likely find that these common techniques will work quite well for you:
Preparing your working conditions in advance of the actual internal activity can drastically shorten your changeover time. As part of the undergo conversion phase of REDUCE, this step looks to ensure that these activities are performed externally and not during the internal phase of your changeover. Some examples of this technique are:
One very practical example is when shakes are made. If you go into a shake shop you will notice that the majority of these shops need to have high volume and be able to meet the wide variety that customers want. You will notice that berries, powders and liquids used in making the shakes are kept at specific temperature even before the changeover begins. In addition to this preparation you may notice that fruits are either pre cut or pre packed based on the needs of the different shakes. One last thing to note about a typical shake shop is that materials, tools and equipment are typically not hidden away where people can’t get to them. They are more than likely left out in a standard position that reduces as many forms of waste as possible. We even see this in our indy example. Tires and tools have correct settings in advance. Tools are brought to the point of use. People are positioned appropriately and the gas is ready to go all in advance of the car actually stopping, or, starting the internal portion of the changeover. This example shows clearly how time can be reduced by preparing operating conditions in advance of the internal portion of your changeover.
Standardization of essential functions
Another powerful technique that can be used to effectively reduce the time spent on internal activities is the standardization of essential functions. As a setup or changeover begins tools and supplies will be needed to complete portions of the internal setup activities. Oftentimes when tooling is disassembled and new tooling is attached the tools required to complete this operation are different. This is an essential function because it must be performed, but it is also business necessary because it is not transforming the materials or information that the customer is willing to pay for. This causes operators to run back and forth to find the correct tools and make adjustments that eat up time and sometimes do not produce the desired output. To combat this problem and continue your conversion of internal activities to external ones the REDUCE methodology borrows from the SMED method with an approach referred to as function standardization. Function standardization, requires only uniformity in the parts and features necessary for setup operations. The functions identified by Shingo in his book: A Revolution in Manufacturing: The SMED System, are:
Use of intermediary jigs.
Another way that internal activities can be reduced is through the use of intermediary jigs. A jig is a type of custom-made tool used to control the location and/or motion of parts or other tools. In this case a custom jig can be made or purchased to quickly attach tooling. Oftentimes if the jig is standardized it can be left on machines so that tooling can be attached even quicker.
These are some proven techniques that can be used to undergo your conversion of internal activities to external. Remember to use information from the gemba and other observations you may have observed. As you understand what each of those functions truly need to do you and your team will likely find ways that are unique to your conversion process. That is ok. To Learn More About Improving Setup Times, Enroll in the Quick Changeover with REDUCE Course Today.