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Changeover Time – Identifying and reducing the length of changeovers in business

There are lots of excellent examples where organisations have adopted principles to reduce changeover times.  A race car team is probably the most visual and clearly understood. Its where fractions of a second can actually be the difference between losing and winning the race.  Teams practice changing tyres, simplifying the process, e.g. having one large nut holding on the wheel instead of 4 or 5 small nuts spread around the wheel. Have the driver stop exactly where he needs to so the Pit Crew don’t have to move.

They have written down every task and determined what can be done before the race car arrives in the pit lane. Who is best positioned to do each activity, so movement is minimised.  Who is going to do what is identified and allocated. Having tools and resources at hand where they need them, and finally practice and practice so it becomes almost a reflex action and they don’t have to think about what they are doing for those few seconds the car is stationery, it’s the only way they know.  These principles can be applied in every workplace to help us eliminate waste and prevent TIM WOODS from taking up residence.

I think most of us can see and understand there are lots of opportunities within a manufacturing organisation.  I’ve certainly witnessed where teams applying a systematic approach to a changeover, get outstanding results, hours turn into minutes with very little expenditure.  All this time adds up and it reduces each form of waste in our acronym TIM WOODS.

However, there are many more workplaces which aren’t manufacturing: service; office; health; government; not for profit; etc., every workplace has changeovers, we just don’t know how to see them, and we often just think they are part of our job.  

A changeover occurs when you change from one activity to another, e.g. you may be paying a batch of supplier invoices, when that task is finished your next task is to reconcile the bank account.  The two different tasks require a changeover to move from one to other.  The invoices need to be packed away or closed, and the bank statement found and/or opened so you can match payments and deposits etc. The thought processes to complete each task are different and require you to undergo a changeover.

How many times have you started a job and don’t have all the information to complete it.  You have had to send an email, go and ask someone for something and in the end you have to close the task you are currently doing while you wait for the answer, going on to the next task in the list of responsibilities within your role.  Again, another changeover.

Over the next couple of days, I would like you to consciously take notice of what you are doing and when and how often you are changing from one task to another or performing a changeover.  We all do them, they take time and offer us an opportunity to drive waste (TIM WOODS) out of our organisations.

If you require any assistance identifying changeovers or want assistance reducing the number and length of changeovers, our expert Business Advisors are only to willing to help.  They will coach and train you on changeover reductions techniques which will allow you to improve your overall business performance.  Contact Workplace Partners on 1300 116 400 to get the support you need.

Grant Winter
Leader Business Advisors

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