How to reduce the set up time?

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KEYWORD: Kaizen tools

The objective of this article is to suggest Kaizen ways and methods reduce the setup time in your manufacturing process with time-tested and handpicked Kaizen tools selected for the purpose of this piece.

Set up time at the machining centers from such processes as machining, inspection, loading, unloading, deburring, etc. Kaizen tools, which are identified with the Toyota Production System, (TPS), are primarily applied to bring about quality improvement in the manufacturing operations.  It is a methodology as well as a philosophy. Meaning ‘change for the better. The Kaizen tools offer effective means to carry out the task. And also improve the communication between the workforces by fostering a team spirit.

Kaizen is premised on the belief that every organization is besieged with problems, which opens up opportunities for change. Due to these, Kaizen is described as both a methodology and philosophy that has relevance on a continuous basis to eliminate wastes and improve productivity, which results in a constant improvement in manufacturing, (CIM).

Kaizen focuses on eliminating eight wastes:

  1. defects
  2. extra processing
  3. excess inventory
  4. unregulated motion
  5. overproduction
  6. transportation
  7. unutilized talent
  8. unnecessary waiting period. By eliminating these wastes in a gradual manner, it is possible for you to lower the downtime, eliminate it totally and bring about continuous improvement in your manufacturing, which would not only reduce the setup time but also would enhance productivity.

The two methods that discussed more elaborately on five Kaizen principles, which are:

  • Knowing Your Customer, (KYC)
  • Allowing the flows to take place seamlessly in the work area.
  • Performing Gemba walk regularly. Gemba is a Japanese term, which roughly translates into ‘real place’. It is a walkthrough undertaken in the workplace not only to observe the employees in the discharge of their tasks but also to seek their opinions, implement such of those that are relevant, which would translate into productivity gains.
  •  Empower people, which naturally follow from the previous principle
  • Practice transparency

Two of the most effective and popular Kaizen tools chosen for you:

Single Minute Exchange of Die (SMED):

Introduced by the Japanese consulting expert, Shigeo Shingo in the year 1969. It considers being a highly effective method for reducing the overall setup times.

He broke down the setup and changing over time into basic elements, which facilitate analysis of each of them with the objective to eliminate, externalize and simplify them.

Internal activities are the set-up tasks, which carry out only when the machines that stop, while the external ones carry out without resorting to such stoppages.

You can apply the SMED to identify the internal and external activities and separate them. Thereafter, you can continue with the external activities as they would not entail the stoppage of the machinery. Those that form internal activities, you can convert them into external so that machines’ downtime is eliminated.

Continuous improvements require reducing the internal activities and convert them into external ones. While doing so, your focus ensuring reliability maintained on the production lines. This can be accomplished by developing a planned maintenance system. Creating procedures for preventive maintenance that would minimize and eliminate emergency and unscheduled maintenance. In addition, it aims at the total involvement of the workforce by continuously training and equipping them with knowledge, skills and making them equipment conscious.

PDCA Cycles

Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycles come in handy for executing Kaizen strategies by providing a structure as well as allowing for the assessment of the effectiveness of them in serving as a framework for driving continuous improvement. They can apply irrespective of the levels in your business structure and they also fit well as an introduction to lean manufacturing.

It can be concluded that these approaches help in bringing about continuous improvements by conferring at least three crucial benefits that are:

  1.  reduction in wastes
  2. improvement in quality
  3. increase in productivity.

Other Keywords: KAIZEN, ELIMINATE, IMPROVEMENT, REDUCE, Kaizen tools, EXTERNAL, MANUFACTURE, TOOL, continuous improvement, Internal activities


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