Say No to "Quick Changeover"…


You might be surprised to see that phrase. Say “no” to quick changeover?? That's a core method in the Toyota Production System, right? Well, a method called “SMED” or “Single Minute Exchange of Dies” is. Why the distinction in terminology?

I recently was contacted by John Henry, who has the website. He says this:

At, we don't believe in “quick” changeover. Too often, this simply means trying to do the same thing quicker by making associates work harder and faster. This doesn't lead to any lasting gains and may cause more problems than it solves.

We believe in lean changeover.

Lean changeover is changeover from which all wasted effort, motion, tasks and, most importantly, time, have been removed.

Great point, SMED isn't about rushing through your work or doing it the “same way, but faster.”

Henry advocates what he calls “ESEE”:

We believe that changeover should be ESEE:

Eliminate all non-value added tasks

Simplify all tasks that cannot be eliminated

Externalize changeover as much as possible

Exactly! Make all changeover settings precise and repeatable

There is a presentation (PDF format) that talks about SMED and racing pit crews, take a look.

Henry also pointed out that the old Henry Ford book, “My Life and Work” is available for free download on the internet. Nice free resource there.

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Mark Graban
Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.


  1. It’s a good presentation with nice photos and explanation of basic quick changeover principles. I wonder how many of us would agree that “quick” implies “rushed” or working harder, instead of something that is done in a short amount of time and effort. “That was quick” is generally a positive statement.

    I would argue that “lean” is more misunderstood, and implies in the minds of many that people are asked to do more with less resources (as opposed to by wasting less resource).

    By the same argument would “small lot size production” be bad, while “lean lot size production” good, since “small” implies an unreasonable reduction in lot sizes, while lean is based on cutting out waste? Likewise “quick delivery” is bad, but “lean delivery” is good?

    ESEE (easy?) changeover sure sounds better than SMED. But keep quick changeover.

    The Henry Ford book download is a GREAT find. Thanks for sharing that.


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