Available time for changeovers per period (Ta∆), also called available time for (internal) set-ups, represents the time per a given period day, shift, week, etc. during which a machine, equipment, or resource (i.e., room) can be changed over from one product to another, prepared for a different medical procedure, cleaned for another customer, etc. Ta∆, is foundational to every part every interval (EPEI), changeover distribution, and kanban sizing calculations.

A rather simple sounding but often vexing challenge that faces lean practitioners is: What is the optimal physical route for pickups and/or deliveries? This is especially true for a fixed interval, variable quantity material replenishment system design for water spider (a.k.a., waterspider, material handler, mizusumashi, etc.) conveyance. 

Interestingly enough, the same question and logic applies when designing the best neighborhood snow plow route. 

Recently, a handful of us fellow-lean bloggers had the opportunity to chat about the voice of the customer (VOC). This was not an abstract discussion about someone else’s customers. We were focused on our own – the folks who comprise our blogging community, the lean learning community.

Yes, we were talking about YOU…and whether we were (at least) meeting your needs. Hopefully, your ears weren’t burning.


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