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Achieving Lean Changeover by John R. Henry

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1
Chapter 1
Introduction
This book is about changeover, principally about changeover of manufac-
turing, packaging, and assembly processes. The general concepts as well as
many of the examples will be useful in other industries that require turnover
of processes, such as airlines, hospitals, operating rooms, food service, and
others. More specifically, this book is about converting changeover down-
time to productive uptime. It is about the practical implementation of the
single minute exchange of dies (SMED) philosophy developed by Shigeo
Shingo at Toyota.
Quick changeover, sometimes called QCO, is a popular term for this
practice, but that is not what this book is about. It may seem to be semantic
nitpicking, but the use of the word quick in this context can be counterpro-
ductive. When teammates hear the term quick changeover, they are likely
to hear that they will be asked to do the same thing that they have always
done, but to work harder and faster to accomplish it more quickly. This
almost guarantees that gains will be less than the maximum possible, short-
lived, and annoying. While orientation and training can help counter this
initial impression, it is better to avoid it by not using the word quick at all.
This book recommends the use of the term lean changeover (LCO)
instead. Most readers will be familiar with lean manufacturing. Lean manu-
facturing is like lean meat. It is manufacturing from which all the fat in the
form of nonproductive, non-value-adding waste has been removed. Lean
changeover applies that same concept to changeover. Lean changeover is
not about doing the same things faster, it is about eliminating the waste in
changeover. Eliminating the waste will result in faster changeovers with less
effort. Lean manufacturing philosophy focuses on eliminating the Seven
2 ◾  Achieving Lean Changeover: Putting SMED to Work
Wastes or TIM WOOD, as the acronym has it. Lean manufacturing and lean
changeover both focus on eliminating wasted transportation, inventory, and
materials (TIM) as well as waiting, overproduction, overprocessing, and
defects (WOOD). Focusing on waste elimination rather than speed, per se,
helps stimulate a more positive attitude. The end result is that changeover
time is reduced, but on a sustainable rather than a temporary basis. The end
result is that teammates see themselves as part of an effort of which they
can be proud, rather than being pushed harder by management.
Years ago, Robert Heinlein wrote a short story called “The Man Who Was
Too Lazy to Fail.
*
The story is about a “lazy” boy growing up in Appalachia.
In his laziness, he reasoned that it was easier to go to school than work in
the fields with his father. In his laziness, he decided to go to college rather
than work in the coal mines. Laziness pushed him to become a navy pilot
rather than other options requiring harder work. Because he was lazy, he
invented an autopilot making it easier to fly the plane. Because he was lazy,
he led a very successful life. (Need citation)
The tagline of the story is: “All progress is made by a lazy person looking
for an easier way.” The goal of lean changeover is laziness. Not laziness in the
sense of leaving tasks undone, and not laziness in the sense of sloppy work.
The goal is laziness in the sense of finding an easier, better way to accomplish
changeover. When this is done, when changeover is made easier and better,
the amount of time required will shrink as surely as day follows night.
Changeover made ESEE
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*
Heinlein, R. (1973). The man who was too lazy to fail. In R. Heinlein, Time Enough for Love
(pp.5477). New York: The Berkely Publishing Group.

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