Managing The Critical Window

Is your organisation challenged to offer a range of products or services on time?  Do you avoid regular changes in routines to avoid problems or quality issues? 

Is the response time and lead time offered by your organisation too long?  Would you like more flexibility?  Would you like to reduce stock holding or the number of orders in your system?

SMED icon

SMED (Single Minute Exchange of Dies) and Managing the Critical Window is a methodology providing a rapid and efficient way of converting a process from executing one item to executing the next item.  Consequently, this rapid changeover is key to reducing batch sizes and improving workflow.


Over a period of several years, Toyota reworked fixtures and components to maximise their common parts, minimise and standardise assembly tools and steps and utilise common tooling.  Wherever the tooling could not be common, steps were taken to make the tooling quick to change.


In short, this workshop presents the concept of SMED and how it can be used to reduce changeover times to enable shorter runs.  The methodology can also be applied to minimise time lost in ‘critical windows’ in any operation.

SMED is a methodology devised to reduce the time taken in  a manufacturing process from running the current product to running the next product. This rapid changeover can reduce production lot sizes and reduce uneven flow, production loss and output variability.

This methodology can be applied in service functions or organisations to reduce critical time windows – the lead time normally taken to address a request or order.

Improve the Quality of your Product or Service

Expand your Services with Less

Shorten Customer Fulfilment Lead Times

Create a More Focused and Profitable Business

SMED tools

“I felt that this course really emphasised the value of organisation and structure within the workplace.  In addition, some significant improvements can be made when utilising lean methodology whether it be 5S, Kanban or SMED.  I would definitely recommend this course to learn valuable insight into Lean systems.”

“A very worthwhile and enjoyable experience. Putting what you learn immediately into practice in what you are trying to achieve really paid off.”

SMED man working with tools

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Changeover and Critical Time
  • Five SMED Process Steps
  • Preliminary Stage – Data Collection
  • Internal & External Activities
  • Streamlining all Activities
  • Documenting Procedures
  • Typical SMED Results
  • Ideas for Improvement
  • Understand how SMED can increase productivity and reduce downtime
  • How to record and document a changeover process or critical window
  • Understand the difference between internal and external elements of this process
  • Techniques to consider to convert internal elements to external elements
  • Demonstrate significant time savings using SMED by means of a practical demonstration
  • Streamline and standardise internal elements
  • Streamline external operations

This programme is aimed at any personnel engaging in business process improvement.

All participants receive an ETAC Certificate of Attendance.

This programme is designed for online learning and mentor sessions. Please contact us for further details.

Contact us for further details.

Case Studies

You can also read our case studies to see how our clients used SMED to improve their business.