Sample Business Paper on SMED Concept

Toyota Production System: The Concept of SMED

SMED is an acronym for the Single-Minute Exchange of Dies. The concept is a
technological advancement in production that dramatically minimizes the time taken to
complete equipment changeovers in a manufacturing process. Essentially, SMED is a
revolution in the manufacturing industry because it enhances rapid and efficient changeover
from the current product to the next running product. Consequently, it reduces production lot
sizes and improves flow, which significantly impacts the manufacturing economics positively
due to lowered production costs and increased flexibility within a process. In sum, SMED
refers to the theory and techniques in the Lean Production System used to eliminate
wastefulness alongside non-added value activities to improve manufacturing economics.
The methodology development is a brainchild of Shigeo Shingo, a Japanese Industrial
Engineer. The objective of the engineer was to accomplish the setup times in under ten
minutes. Shingo developed SMED in 1985 as a universal scientific approach for set time
reduction that is applicable in any industrial unit and for any type of machine (Conrad, 2016).
Shingo developed the novel system at the time when Taiichi Ohno served as the executive
managing director of Toyota. Coincidentally, Ohno was involved in an aggressive pursuit of
an ideal production system, for which SMED perfectly offered a solution. Ohno's tenure at
the apex of Toyota management was integral for adopting and incorporating the technique
because he readily understood the impact it would bring to the company's production
efficiency goal (Conrad, 2016). Upon evaluating the system, the executive director
established a close connection between the principal aspects of the company's production
system and SMED system. Ohno's overarching objective was to reduce the setup times in the
manufacturing process (Da Silva & Filho, 2019). Thus, the conviction he got after exploring
SMED's effectiveness as a solution motivated his decision to demand that the company adopt
the system to reduce die changeover time to three minutes.

Before embarking on developing SMED, Shingo had initially teamed up with Ohno to
create another definitive innovation called the Just-In-Time system from which the whole
idea of SMED was founded. They would later collaborate to advance the innovation that has
significantly shaped the global production process (Da Silva & Filho, 2019). While
conducting research on how to reduce changeover time, Shingo made a number of
conclusions that pointed out the necessity of a sophisticated SMED system
(Brito, Ramos, Carneiro & Gonçalves, 2017). First, he inferred that it is impossible to
eliminate the waste of overproduction without SMED. Second, SMED is crucial to help in
achieving shortened cycle times which demand small-lot production. Lastly, he realized that
achieving SMED is compulsory for manufacturers intending to build requisite capacity to
respond to changes in consumer demand effectively (Charles, Fred & Dan, 2018). Contrary to
the popular assumption that know-how is important during the initial steps of implementing
SMED, Shingo submits that it is equally important to know why. He explains that when
people understand why they are implementing SMED, they will have a reason to engage in
the process, which is critical because it helps to cope with changing situations (Da Silva &
Filho, 2019). However, if people only leverage their know-how, they become vulnerable to
failure in their attempt to implement SMED. It is a challenge to effectively apply SMED in
their own operations in situations where production characteristics are incongruent to those at
The system revolutionized production mechanics and economics within the Toyota
production system because it helped explore and improve various basic factors necessary to
eliminate inventory. The SMED introduction was also important to actualize the relentless
efforts made to cut human resources costs that translate to higher production expenses that
affect product prices in the market (Talekar, Patil, Shinde & Waghmare, 2019). According to
Shingo, SMED best suits Toyota because it aligns with the company's production systems'

significant principle and unique features. Total elimination of waste was fundamental to
Toyota because it constitutes one of the Toyota production system's basic principles.
SMED is important in the Toyota production system because it improves the process,
inspection, setup, and transport. Additionally, it eliminates storage, process delays. In process
improvement, SMED methodology helps to eliminate process delays and lot delays.
Manufacturing technicians employ value engineering to redesign and maintain product
quality while at the same time, minimize the cost of manufacturing (Godina, Pimentel, Silva
& Matias, 2018). Apart from product quality and cost of production, engineers using SMED
methodology in the manufacturing process also device techniques to improve the product
manufacturing process by improving inspection (Sabadka, Molnar & Fedorko, 2017).
Informative inspection processes are of different types, and they are all purposed to reduce
the defect rate. The essence of improving the inspection process is to increase the chances of
identifying possible errors in the production process that may compromise product quality
(Godina, Pimentel, Silva & Matias, 2018). Detecting the defects and errors in early provides
an opportunity for the plant engineers to correct the processing method or condition to
minimize losses by preventing further production of defective products (Dombrowski,
Richter & Krenkel, 2017). Additionally, production engineers also work on eliminating
transport as an improvement to the overall production process (Filla, 2016). Transport has
been identified as one of the costs that do not add value to products. The idea is to improve
the layout of the process by eliminating the transport function. Therefore, SMED
technology's fundamental principle is to eliminate all redundant and irrelevant traditional
production functions that do not add value to the end product.
The improvement of production mechanics and economics, as solved by SMED
methodology, lies in eight techniques. Plant technicians are instructed to isolate internal from
external setup actions. Secondly, machine operators should convert internal setup actions to

external (Gorecki & Pautsch, 2018). The instruction is to focus on standardizing functions
instead of shapes. Technicians should either choose functional clamps or seek to eliminate
fasteners altogether (Bin Che Ani, M. N., & Bin Shafei, M. S. (2013). In the production
process, intermediate jigs and fixtures should be used. Machine handlers should adopt
parallel operations and eliminate adjustments (Skotnicka-Zasadzień, Wolniak & Gębalska-
Kwiecień, 2018). Finally, mechanization or automation should be adopted as the last resort
when other steps prove ineffective. In short, the eight listed techniques are essential in
achieving the goal of implementing a functional SMED system.
In conclusion, SMED technology is a scientific breakthrough that profoundly impacts
both production mechanics and economics. The system is an innovative brainchild of
Japanese engineers Shingo and Ohno, who developed it to keep the manufacturing process
fast, efficient, and dependent on low capital input. The system is universally applicable in all
manufacturing settings and different types of machines. The technology benefits production
with multiple gains, such as guaranteed cost savings as a consequence of equipment
downtime. It also facilitates more product changes in a Just-In-Time-Manner. The Just-In-
Time facilitation helps to reduce inventory. SMED system is fundamental to companies that
intend to achieve product quality optimization due to tighter tolerances in die exchanges that
eliminate waste in production lines. In sum, SMED methodology is a scientific advancement
to achieve efficient and cost-effective production.



Bin Che Ani, M. N., & Bin Shafei, M. S. (2013). The effectiveness of the single minute
exchange of die (SMED) technique for productivity improvement. Applied
Mechanics and Materials, 465-466, 1144-1148.
Brito, M., Ramos, A., Carneiro, P., & Gonçalves, M. (2017). Combining SMED
methodology and ergonomics for the reduction of setup in a turning production
area. Procedia Manufacturing, 13, 1112-1119. doi:10.1016/j.promfg.2017.09.172
Charles, P., Fred, W., & Dan, P. (2018). Basics model assessment—SMED: Single-minute
exchange of die (SMED). Implementing Lean, 149-158.
Conrad, R. W. (2016). Single minute exchange of die (SMED). ifaa-Edition, 51-56.
Da Silva, I. B., & Godinho Filho, M. (2019). Single-minute exchange of die (SMED): A
state-of-the-art literature review. The International Journal of Advanced
Manufacturing Technology, 102(9-12), 4289-4307. doi:10.1007/s00170-019-03484-
Dombrowski, U., Richter, T., & Krenkel, P. (2017). Interdependencies of Industrie 4.0 &
lean production systems: A use case analysis. Procedia Manufacturing, 11, 1061-
1068. doi:10.1016/j.promfg.2017.07.217
Filla, J. (2016). The single minute exchange of die methodology in a high-mix processing
line. Journal of Competitiveness, 8(2), 59-69. doi:10.7441/joc.2016.02.05
Godina, R., Pimentel, C., Silva, F., & Matias, J. C. (2018). A structural literature review of
the single minute exchange of die: The latest trends. Procedia Manufacturing, 17,
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Gorecki, P., & Pautsch, P. (2018). Single minute exchange of die (SMED). Lean
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Sabadka, D., Molnar, V., & Fedorko, G. (2017). undefined. Advances in Science and
Technology Research Journal, 11(3), 187-195. doi:10.12913/22998624/76067
Skotnicka-Zasadzień, B., Wolniak, R., & Gębalska-Kwiecień, A. (2018). Improving the
efficiency of the production process using SMED. MATEC Web of Conferences, 183,
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Talekar, A. A., Patil, S. Y., Shinde, P. S., & Waghmare, G. S. (2019). Setup time reduction
using a single-minute exchange of dies (SMED) at a forging line. 1ST International
Conference On Manufacturing, Material Science, and Engineering (ICMMSE-2019).