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Achieving Lean Changeover by John R. Henry

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163
Chapter 8
Develop and Implement
a Program
It is not enough to know how to improve and reduce changeover. A pro-
gram must be developed and implemented. How the program is imple-
mented is perhaps the major factor that will determine success or failure.
Any lean changeover (LCO) program must be carefully thought out in order
to achieve maximum buy-in by the participants. Absent buy-in, no program
will be successful.
The first person, or group, who must buy in is top management. Without
management support, the program cannot succeed. With support, it is hard
to fail. Everyone in the plant does, or should do, what is expected of them
by their boss. The bosss priorities become the subordinates priorities,
and this is how it must be for any organization to run smoothly. If LCO is
a priority for management, it will be a priority for everyone. This support
will take several forms. One is managerial or moral support. They must let
everyone in the organization know that the LCO program is important to the
company and thus important to all the people in the company, even if they
do not see a direct connection.
As a first step in any LCO program, management must have a clear idea
of why they are embarking on the program. There are a number of reasons,
including increased throughput, faster response to customers, more flex-
ibility, better capacity utilization, reduced costs, or a combination of all of
these. In some cases, the reason may be as simple as an imposition from
the corporate hierarchy. The reason for the program is important because
it will inuence the focus of the LCO efforts. If the reason is not clearly
164 ◾  Achieving Lean Changeover: Putting SMED to Work
understood, it will be difficult or impossible to set goals, and an unset goal
is an unachievable goal.
Management must be ready to direct other departments to provide
support to the LCO team. The finance department must be directed to
develop cost models (discussed in Chapter 2) to allow financial justification.
Purchasing may need to be directed to purchase higher-quality/less-variable
materials. Engineering may need to be directed to modify equipment or facil-
ities. Other departments will need to be directed to provide support as well.
Members of the LCO team will need to be relieved of some of their
regular duties to allow them time to participate in the LCO program. This
will include periodic, perhaps weekly, team meetings, training courses, and
workshops, as well as time to develop and implement the improvements.
Absent management support, immediate supervisors may be reluctant to
allow this. Their goal is to get production out the door. If their people are
taken away to work on changeover, this can interfere with this goal, at least
in the short term.
Finally, management must provide material support to the changeover
team. This can include funding for books and instructional materials, on-
and off-site training, benchmarking visits to other plants, attendance at trade
shows, and the like. It may be hard to show a direct return on this type of
expenditure. Management must provide a reasonable level of funding for it
without requiring a direct cost justification.
As improvements are identified, the team will need money for implemen-
tation. Much of this will be relatively minor expenses that may be available
from operating budgets. Specific cost justifications may or may not be neces-
sary, depending on the amounts and company policies. Other improvements
may require larger, capital, expenditures. The team must be expected to pro-
vide financial justification for all of these expenditures. Management must be
disposed to support these expenditures when they are justified.
Process or Project?
There are two ways that any improvement program can be implemented.
Both have the same goal but different approaches. One is a process or
open-ended approach which often goes under the umbrella of “continuous
improvement.” The basic concept is that the program will go on in perpe-
tuity. The drawback to this approach is that nothing ever continues in per-
petuity. Team members come and go. They remain on the team but lose

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