Do you know, that Operational Excellence concept of Quick Change Over is equally being used in Formula One Race since 1900s?
In the year 1950, in one of the races of Indianapolis 500 when Bill Holland pulled in for a pit stop during Formula 1’s inaugural season, there were only 4 crew members including the driver who were allowed to work on the car which took 67 seconds in the pit, which was too long for them to cover up the time to win.
Modern Formula 1 still is a game of ten seconds even with the ban of refueling, it was clear that there was still a chance of making pit stops even faster. Currently, considering the importance of value adding time is on the track and not in the pitstop, the pitstop time is always focus of improvement. Apart from the pair of jack men, the lollipop man, and a guy tasked with fire control, the pitstop crew consists of 12 members for just swapping of the tires, with one man at each corner to remove a wheel, and one to place the new wheel, and third one to loosen and tighten single nut holding the wheels on. This reduced the stop of the driver at the pitstop from 67 seconds to 1.5-2 seconds.
Comparing Red bulls stop with McLaren stop in the year 2012 at German Grand Prix, the 2.4 second stop was about a second faster than other teams that day. By the next year, Red Bull had reduced the record time at under 2 seconds. Remember, this is for changing four tires on a hot race car under heavy pressure, with around 20 crew members where all are working in harmony. It’s a stunning effort, one that’s the result of decades of refinement. It’s hard to imagine that a team could possibly get faster, but then again, we’ve been saying that for years. It would have been difficult to compete, forget to win the race if all the Quick Change Over (SMED) efforts would not have been applied.
These Quick Change Over (SMED) methods are in practice for more than 100 years. Same can be applied to the equipment change overs – which are inevitable in todays dynamic world where lot size is shrinking and customers are more demanding! Are you practicing it and getting better each day?