What Is The Purpose of a Quick Change Over?

Quick Change Over


The purpose of Quick Change Over (QCO) is to reduce downtime, either planned or unplanned, to a minimum in order to maximise flow and reduce inventories.

Graphic depicting the definition of quick change over otherwise known as SMED



  • Increase stock turns
  • Improve availability
  • Generating excess capacity
  • Improved process lead time and ability to react to market changes

Quick Change Over is a popular method for reducing downtime. It originally started with Shigeo Shingo’s impressive efforts to reduce the die change time on the Toyota presses from six hours to less than 9 minutes.  In those days it was known as Single Minute Exchange of Die (SMED), however,  the versatility of the approach was recognised as being just as effective in other areas such as Planned Maintenance, shut-downs, shift changes and many others, moving it beyond just die press operations.  Quick Change Over (also called pit-stop) became the more common term for rapid turnaround of downtime activities.

Quick Change Over follows a five-step methodology:

  • Observe and Measure – Observe the change-over process in as much detail as possible, capturing the natural elements of work
  • Separate Internals from Externals – A rapid process of evaluating whether an element is Internal (has to remain part of the process) and cannot be done before the downtime activity occurs.
  • Convert Internals to Externals – find ways to externalise stubborn Internal elements, such as heating the dies before stopping the press.
  • Streamline – find ways to improve the remaining internal activities
  • Standardise the new process

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This page was written by Mark Radley in February 2018.
Due for review in 2019.

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