Integral Logistics Management — Operations Management and Supply Chain Management Within and Across Companies

6.2.1c Reduction of Variants, Modular Product Concept, Single-Minute Exchange of Dies (SMED) — Lead Time Reduction through Setup Time Reduction and Batch Size Reduction

Intended learning outcomes: Describe harmonizing the product range through reduction of variants and a modular product concept. Explain single-minute exchange of dies (SMED).

Continuation from previous subsection (6.2.1b).

3. Harmonizing the product range through a modular product concept:

Harmonizing the product range is reducing the number of different compo­nents and process variants required to manufacture a range of products, at times involving the reduction of the product range itself.

Harmonizing the product range thus means reduction of variants. The cost advantage is a reduction in overhead (see Section 16.4). Moreover, it simplifies logistics, because it leads to a more balanced flow of goods. A reduction in product variants results, namely, in goods production in sequences of similar operations. With identical goods, this reduction will even result in production with frequent order repetition. Each of these allows successive orders to be processed without major change in equipment, such as machines, for example. Setup times in the system decrease. In addition, because of fewer different processes, setup tasks become easier, because they repeat themselves and can be better automated. Also, frequent order repetition entails a more continuous demand of components, and thus a reduction of “mura,” as well as more simple techniques of materials management (see Figure

Conversely, a modular product concept (here see Section 1.3.3) allows offering larger product families without increasing the number of components and operations. By standardization of interfaces between the (families of) components and the product family, variants of one component family can be combined with variants of another component family on a bigger scale.

4. Reducing idle time of production facilities:

The term single-minute exchange of dies (SMED) refers to methods aimed at reducing idle time of production facilities, according to Figure

Fig. Concepts of reducing setup time. (Source: [Wild89]).

These methods were developed primarily in Japanese industry (see [Shin85] or [Shin89]). In principle, there are two kinds of setup operations:

  • Internal setup (time) or inside exchange of dies (IED) takes place when the workstation is stopped or shut down.
  • External setup (time) or outside exchange of dies (OED) takes place while the workstation is still working on another order.

SMED is composed of the entire setup process, including insertion and removal of special setup devices, or dies. SMED reduces idle time of the system by means of shifting portions of IED to OED. This method is comparable to a pit stop during a formula-one race. SMED encompasses measures for reducing all 3Ms. (Example: Pit stop at Sauber (Text in German followed by the corresponding text in English))

Course section 6.2: Subsections and their intended learning outcomes