Strategos Lean Briefing

The Newsletter of Lean Manufacturing Strategy
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Kansas City

28 FEB 2003

Issue# 08

Setup Reduction & SMED

Related Seminar

Rapid Setup Blitz

My last message discussed lot sizing and small lot production. With small lots, Kanban functions better and conventional scheduling is easy and flexible. But, small lots require fast, inexpensive and predictable setups. If your people and equipment already do this, Rapid Setup is of little concern- otherwise, read on.

In many industries, such as printing, setup reduction is a hot topic but the discussion mostly involves expensive technology. Significant setup reduction rarely needs new technology.

We recently conducted setup reduction training for a printer of labels. Their team's analysis identified quick and easy changes that reduced setups ("Make Ready" in the printer's vernacular) by 60%-70%.

In most cases, manufacturers can cut their setup time in half without a lot of new equipment, tools and fixtures. Sometimes the improvement is even greater. For examples go to .

For more on how to cut setups see our series of articles starting


A Kaizen Blitz is an effective way to start setup reduction. These events are exciting and dramatic. They produce fast, spectacular results. There is more at:

Unfortunately, setup reduction is a more mundane aspect of Lean Manufacturing. It does not have much glamour. But it can be critical for the success of a Lean Manufacturing strategy. Don't ignore it!

All The Best-

Quarterman Lee

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