My younger son loves to play cricket. Recently the (main) summer season ended but my son enrolled for a winter season tournament – he just can’t get enough of it! I was helping the team to scout for a cricket ground which is a challenge in winter. Councils convert them to soccer and footy fields by turfing over the cricket pitches.
After checking out a few grounds, I came across one with a pitch – problem solved! This ground has two soccer fields on either side of the cricket pitch (highlighted in the photograph). Therefore, they can keep the pitch intact. Most other grounds, which don’t have the luxury of space, perhaps due to poor planning, are forced to keep changing over from cricket to soccer/footy and back to cricket every season. This set up has got the ultimate flexibility and zero downtime for changeovers!
This got me thinking – how much time do you lose in changeovers in your operation / business? And running for longer periods without changeovers is not the answer. Here are few points to explore improving agility:
• Build products synergies – create products with the same base product, same cartons, similar configuration, same individual pack dimensions etc.
• Start the changeover early – you don’t have to wait until line is stopped to start changing over. Preparation is key. Can you afford to have a second conveyor ready to go for the next product and move into position quickly? Can you get the material brought down from the warehouse onto the line early? Can you start producing the new product separately while still running initial product?
• Improving changeover efficiency – focus on activities that occur when the line is stopped for the changeover. Bring people in from other lines. If possible, assign the changeover towards the end of a shift and ask for the next shift to come in a tad early, to have more hands on the deck.
The changeovers need to occur with the same level of precision and efficiency of a Formula1 pitstop crew. Did you know that Southwest airlines once benchmarked the turning around an aircraft (remember them?) at the airport gate, from arrival to departure, against a Formula1 pitstop crew? They did that not because it was their goal to turn the plane around in less than 5sec, but to adopt the mindset of an F1 pitstop crew.
How are you supporting your team to adopt the mindset of a Formula1 pitstop crew for changeovers?