Measuring Your Biggest Opportunity – Changeover

Measuring Your Biggest Opportunity – Changeover

Successful organizations understand one of their biggest opportunities for improvement is to reduce their changeover. Most organizations do not get paid to go from one product or service to the next. Customers at a restaurant do not want to see “clear and reset your table” on the menu.

The measure of changeover is best defined as the time between last good product/service to next good product/service.  There are two key aspects to this definition. The first is the word “good.” The definition of good means the product meets the customer’s satisfaction and the customer is willing to pay for it.

The other key aspect is understanding the clock on changeover starts with the last good product or service is completed. The minute the guests stand-up from the table to leave or when the last good product is packed in the box, the clock starts ticking on changeover.

The gap between last good product and next good product also breaks down into greater important elements: set-up and adjustment.


 Set-up consists of physical changes to the equipment or environment to prepare for the next product or service.  These changes come in a variety of forms.  It may be as simple as removing dirty dishes, replacing the tablecloth, and setting up new plates, silverware, and glasses.  It may be as complex as breaking down the entire tablet filling equipment and scrubbing each component to make sure there is no residue from the last pharmaceutical bottled before the next tablets are filled.  Documented evidence and pictures may be needed to show that the entire room was cleared out and there is no remaining residue, bottles, or labels remaining from the last run.  The key is that the set-up involved the physical changes to the equipment or environment to make the next product or service.

The pitfalls during set-up usually revolve around correctly making the changes in the correct amount of time. This is best achieved with standardized work, a clear understanding of the content, sequencing, timing, and location of each step.


Adjustment consists of getting the new set-up to produce a “good” product or service.  It may be as simple as the manager swinging by the restaurant table set-up to ensure the knives and forks are in the correct spot.  It may be as complicated as trying to get one small speck of contamination out of an otherwise clear bottle.  This may take hours and hours of trial an error with different temperatures and screw speeds to get a “good” bottle.

The pitfalls of adjustment and more often than not, changeover, is (1) understanding that adjustment is still part of the changeover, and (2) understanding that adjustment is a science not an art.

First, the best organizations do not stop the clock on changeover until they have made a product the customer has specified and is willing to buy. They don’t simply walk away feeling good about their changeover when the set-up is complete. To refer to the restraint again, it is not good enough to simply reset the table, you have to seat the next guest. Focusing on that fact can lead to great improvements in revenue and customer satisfaction.

Second, the best organizations standardize the set-up and make it repeatable, but really gain their advantage by turning the adjustment into a science. Science requires an expectation, a trial, and most importantly a reflection on the result.

For adjustment this means setting an expectation for when you expect the first good product and the variables that impact it. Then, and most importantly, reflect on the results.

Help your organization measure all of the elements of their changeover to make sure they take advantage of your biggest opportunity.

Learn more in Patrick’s book, “Facilitating Effective Change,” available online through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.


Patrick Putorti

Patrick Putorti

Patrick Putorti

Latest posts by Patrick Putorti (see all)

Speak Your Mind