One of the best ways I’ve found to explain various lean and six sigma topics to others is to use examples from real life.
After all, not everyone makes cars or the mirrors that go on cars… so many of the examples we read about in the various lean and/or six sigma books mean next to nothing to most of us.
Along these lines, one of the concepts many folks seem to struggle to understand is single minute exchange of dies, or SMED.
I’ve written about SMED before… so in case you missed that article you can find it here.
As a quick review, one of the key tenets of SMED is to do as much prep work as possible while the machine is running… that way when the machine has stopped producing product you can quickly get it going again.
I am over simplifying things here… so again please read this article if SMED is new to you.
So tonight I thought I’d discuss some real-life examples of SMED principles most people can relate to.
1. Laying clothes out before going to bed.
When I was a kid my Mom used to always make me lay my clothes out before I went to bed. Whenever I have a super early morning I still follow this rule!
Who needs old Japanese guys yelling and spitting at them when their own Mom is there to teach them lean principles.
2. Washing dishes while dinner is cooking.
Instead of standing around watching the TV, why not wash up as many of the dishes as possible before dinner. You’ll still have the plates and glasses and things like that to deal with after dinner… but taking care of some of the “preparatory” pots and pans will save you lots of time.
3. Pre-sorting dirty clothes before washing.
Inspired by my awesome wife, I recently wrote about this idea here. It is definitely a brilliant idea and massive time saver when it comes to doing laundry.
Let’s hear from you…
Can you think of any more real life examples where some of the principles associated with SMED apply? If so, feel free and empowered to shout ’em out in the comments section below!