What is SMED?

Lean Six Sigma SMED meaning (Definition: Single Minute Exchange of Die) is a system that dramatically reduces the time required to complete equipment changeovers. It aims to make as many of the changeover steps as possible “external” (performed while equipment is still running) and to streamline and simplify the rest. Single-Minute Exchange of Die is named after the goal of reducing the time it takes to changeover (e.g. less than 10 minutes).

SMED Benefits

The following are the benefits of a successful Lean SMED program:

  • Lower Manufacturing Cost: faster changeovers mean less equipment downtime
  • Smaller Lot Sizes: faster changeovers enable more frequent product changes
  • Increased responsiveness to customer demand: Smaller lot sizes allow for more flexible scheduling
  • Lower Inventory Levels: Smaller lot sizes mean lower inventory levels
  • Smoother Startups: Standardized changeover processes increase consistency and quality, resulting in smoother startup.

Quick Changeover Event on a Mold Setup Process

One of the events that we mentored was a Six Sigma SMED (Definition: Single Minute Exchange of Dies or Quick Changeover) Event on the Mold Changeover Process in a Casting Area.


The newly formed Operational Excellence (OpEx) was skeptical that they were going to achieve any significant reduction in the Changeover. This was their first SMED event.

We (SSDSI) said that the changeover can be reduced by at least 50% (from 2 ½hours to under 1 hour and 15 minutes). As the 5-day event progressed, the OpEx team started to see the Waste that the SSDSI Master Black Belts initially discovered.

The OpEx team exceeded their goal of 30% reduction. The setup was reduced to 50%+ with a range from 55-75 minutes.