Learning SMED (Quick Changeover) Through Simulations

Many studies show that a guided practical application is more effective than just PowerPoint presentations. That holds true when teaching Lean tools and concepts. However, finding good Lean simulations has been difficult. Here are some of the available resources that you can use to teach SMED:

  • SMED DIE simulation game: This Slideshare shows a nice, simple and practical version of a SMED simulation game. I learned this simulation from the Kaizen Institute Europe team few years ago. It really helps to explain the SMED steps very well. Since then I have been using this simulation with good results. It usually takes about 2-3 hours to go through all the steps. You can purchase it. An alternative metal version of this simulation game is also available in Slideshare but you would have to build your own.
  • SMED printing simulation video 1: This video shows an alternative version, a little more complex though, but still simple and practical. I learned about this video last week thanks to Laszlo Sipos. 
  • SMED printing simulation video 2: This version developed by a UK-based team appears to be a fun but a little more complex option. Jose dos Reis Vieira developed a SMED printing simulation that resembles the previous simulation. Here are two videos: Before and After

Breakdown into elements during
a SMED kaizen event
Regardless of the simulation kit you have, use it to teach the SMED process in a way that relates to the actual application in your workplace. Simulations are simplified versions of actual problems which objective is to prepare teams to do the real thing efficiently.

A well conducted SMED simulation should explain the "WHY", the "HOW" (SMED steps) and should link to the actual condition in which it would be used. For instance, how to break a changeover process in elements and how to identify internal and external elements are two critical steps that require additional experience and explanation.

In the picture to the right, the SMED simulation was used to explain how each element should be identified using strips of paper and what information should be written down during a kaizen event conducted in a plastic molding facility.

If you know of any other simulations or resources for SMED simulation, share your experiences. I would like to know them and share with others!

Few more good ideas for SMED simulation: 7/22/2014
Here some good ideas for SMED simulations I learned from some of you after initially posting this blog
  • The dragster: Here is a video of this very fun SMED simulation game shared by Jules Attard. Although in Spanish, you can still have a good sense of the simulation.
  • Changing a car wheel: David Reid suggested to use an actual car to change a tire as he has done to teach SMED. I can see the benefits of doing that: you can always find a car and you might need to learn how to change a flat tire! However, I do have concerns about keeping this simulation safe for the participants. Changing a tire requires safety precautions and good tire alignment and balancing job after the simulation. So I found this fun short video that shows SMED using a tiny car: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LqlcBUsr5tE     
I look forward to hearing more of your experiences.

Here an interesting video showing the Pit stop: Pit stops 1950 vs 2013


  1. SMED printing simulation thanks to Productivity Inc. circa 1985

  2. Great blog and I love what you have to say and I think I will tweet this out to my friends so they can check it out as well. I like what you have to say.
    Paddle Wheel Flow Meter

  3. This is really an important blog with many helpful information. I have been searching for a long time for this types of content. Keep up posting more and thanks for your great staff.
    Battery Operated Ultrasonic Level Sensor

  4. Thanks, You wrote awesome, I have learn lots of things from your article. Its really helpful for any readers.
    Battery Operated Flow Meter

  5. Thanks for posting the useful information.
    Manasmicro.com is best magnetic flow supplier in all over India. It is the best magnetic flow meter manufacturers company in pune India.
    magnetic flow meter - Manasmicro