Setup Time Reduction-Auditing the Start-Up After Changeover and Overcoming the Resistance, Part VIII

Your goal in reducing setup time is to set up more often; therefore, reliability of the setup is most important.

Step 16 - Auditing the Start-Up After Setup

Your goal in reducing setup time is to set up more often; therefore, reliability of the setup is most important. A fast setup and a slow start-up are not the results desired; a fast setup and a fast start-up are. An audit of the start-up after setup will help ensure that you get the benefit expected.

Identifying Your Setup Expert

Some companies have designated setup employees as setup experts. Within other companies, the manufacturing or industrial engineers become your setup experts. Still other companies put those operators who are the best at setting up in charge of developing setup procedures and reviewing improvements to the setup documentation. It is important that the setup expert is respected by other employees - especially operators. Setup experts are a resource for improvement in setup time.

Selecting the Auditor

The purpose of the audit is to identify any reason for stoppage after the setup. The auditor should be unbiased and record every occurrence. Typically, the auditor is not the setup expert. The auditor could be anyone that is available during start-up. As the auditor watches the start-up, a record also should be kept of what was done to solve the problem. This record can then be analyzed by your setup experts to determine what should be done differently in the setup to eliminate the cause of stoppage.

Causes for Stopping

Any solutions during start-up - including changes to items that were changed during setup - should be noted and the change documented as completely as possible. For example, if the feedrate was set during setup and was changed during start-up, the audit should identify the feedrate that was finally set and the setup experts should document that feedrate in the changeover documentation and use that feedrate for future setups.

Adjustments During Start-Up

In some cases, the machine is not stopped while adjustments are made during start-up. These adjustments should be recorded the same as stopping. The final adjustment is the one that should be recorded and become the standard for the next setup. 

There may be disagreements between the operator and the setup expert as to the best settings. Adjustments after setup should never be done based on opinion alone. Your goal is to start-up after a changeover with no stoppage or adjustments. If the operators disagree with the settings, they should work it out with the setup expert. If they are unable to resolve which setting is best, a trial should be conducted in which both settings are tested. The one with the better results should be used during setup and run. 

Updating the Documentation

While the setup documentation should be updated whenever necessary, it should not be updated based on the opinion of one individual when others disagree. Likewise, it is unnecessary to have extensive discussions or meetings before your setup documentation can be improved. Keep it simple. Agreement before updates will enable your setup documentation to be current at all times. Part of your documentation should include baseline settings. 

Baseline Settings

Baseline settings are known locations and reference points that can be used during setup and run. You should maintain a document with these baseline settings as reference locations and set points. These baseline settings may not need to be referred to during every setup, but should be used when developing documentation for a setup. Baseline settings should not be changed very often.

Step 17 - Overcoming the Resistance

Beware the naysayers, they may kill your improvement potential! It seems that every company that embarks on reducing its setup time will meet some resistance from a few of the employees. Fortunately, the resistance only comes from one or two percent of the employees. But, it is surprising how much impact they have. If you are going to achieve world-class levels of setup time reduction (95 to 98 percent reductions), you are going to have to eliminate the resistance. Your best plan is to expect the resistance and overcome it as soon as it appears. 

Frequently Heard Responses

So often when recommendations are made to companies on how to reduce their setup time, the same responses are heard over and over again. These responses should never be accepted or ignored. It is recommended that you set the record straight and gain commitment no matter how trivial or insignificant the negative responses are. Many companies have reduced their setup times to less than five percent of the time they originally took by separating themselves from the negative influences. 

Here are some of the more common responses not to ignore:

  • "It only takes a few seconds to do that part of the setup."
  • "It doesn't take that long to set up."
  • "I have to wait anyway, so why speed up the setup?" 
  • "That won't work!"
  • "It costs too much."
  • "Management won't support setup time reduction."
  • "We can't recommend that."
  • "We have to wait anyway, why spend the money to reduce this part of the setup?" 
  • "You are trying to eliminate jobs."


Working with the employees to over-come any of these or other misconceptions while developing a true setup time reduction emphasis in your company is a successful plan of action. If outside assistance is needed to reduce setup time, your employees may resist because they believe they can do it on their own. Maybe they can, so give them a chance, but don't wait forever. There are many cases where employees are capable, but never get the task done.

Improvements Involving Redesign

Some of the improvements to reduce setup time involve the redesign of change parts - including fixtures, molds, guard removal, etc. Oftentimes, in brainstorming sessions an agreement is reached on solutions that employees later say can't be done. Don't give in! If redesign is in order, make it happen without fail. Once it is done, you will have faster setups.

Setup Procedures and Baseline Documentation

It is strongly recommended that you document setup procedures along with baseline settings. It also is recommended that pictures are used in both of these documents to simplify the explanation. You also should include a check sheet - to be used during setup to ensure that no steps are overlooked or incomplete. 

Stressing the Importance of Reducing Setup Time

By emphasizing the importance of reducing setup time and the need to make setups as quick as possible without skipping any steps or generating scrap, you will be sending a message to your employees. Many times this emphasis in itself will begin to reduce setup time. Not having a setup procedure will result in wasted motion, excessive walking around and unnecessary activity. 

Remember that attitude is everything. This certainly applies to your efforts in reducing setup time. The right attitude will get important improvements that result in rapid setups. Auditing the start-up after changeover and overcoming the resistance will help you achieve this initiative.

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