Single-Minute Exchange of Die: Purpose & Principles

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  • 0:00 Switching Gears
  • 0:58 Single Minute Exchange of Die
  • 1:50 Why This Is Useful
  • 2:33 Example
  • 3:23 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kevin Newton

Kevin has edited encyclopedias, taught middle and high school history, and has a master's degree in Islamic law.

When producing goods, efficiency matters not only when you're making goods but also when changing the tools needed to make those goods. Single minute exchange of die offers a guideline to increase efficiency.

Switching Gears

Imagine you're driving a car. As you may know, a car's transmission actually has a number of different gears to help you make the most efficient use of the energy that your engine produces. Sometimes a lower gear is necessary to provide the power to get uphill or even to get your car moving. Other times, such as when you're on a highway, you'll want the higher gear so as to go faster with less wear and tear on your car. It's really the same theory behind different gears on a bike. You have them available so as to make your car as efficient as possible.

Now think about a factory. A factory can do a lot of different things, if it can switch gears. Some new machines may need to be brought in, but a factory that produces cars can just as easily produce minivans. It just needs to switch gears. In manufacturing and logistics, this ability to change the machines to produce a different good is known as an exchange of die. In this lesson, we're going to look at single minute exchange of die.

Single Minute Exchange of Die

Let's go back to your car. You can quickly change the gear in your car, but imagine if you had to stop what you were doing to change the gear? That would be horribly inefficient.

However, for years, that is how factories worked. In order to change the production - even to a related good - the whole line would have to shut down for hours, if not days. Then car companies got to thinking what if we could do this quicker. That would mean a faster turnaround, which meant more goods and more profits.

Therefore, the idea for single minute change of die came around. This concept allowed companies to change their machines and processes in a matter of a few minutes. Note that it does not require everything to be done in a minute; instead, changes should occur in less than ten minutes, to the point where the total time is still measured in single minutes.

Why This Is Useful

As you may be able to guess, single minute change of die has some major direct and indirect impacts on the manufacturing process. First of all, it increases efficiency on the production line. Before, employees would sit idle while changes were made. Now, many changes can be made much more quickly. This means more goods are made. With more goods, there is less of a likelihood of inefficiency further down the production and sales line.

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