Team Leaders' Resource Library

***For Karl McCracken's personal (mainly triathlon) blog, please visit This blog is an alternative way for you to get access to our TeamTips series of articles. TeamTips is a short, fortnightly article that's aimed at TeamLeaders. Each edition covers a subject that's important for Team Leaders' performance - both in technical issues and man-management.

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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Formula One: A SMED Lesson.

Set-ups and changeovers are important to most of us, but for some industries they’re absolutely critical.

One such ‘industry’ is Formula One Racing. F1 teams are expensive to run (£80M a year - that's around $150M) and rely on sponsorship to survive and the more successful teams demand a higher sponsorship. These days, as cars become more equal and more reliable, races can be won and lost in the pit lane.

In our training programmes and workshops we use the analogy of a Formula One Pit Crew to get across the need for planning, organisation and structure (hence the name of the newsletter).

You can download our article about the lessons from Formula 1 from our main site, in pdf format. There's also a lot more information on our SMED training and SMED consulting pages.

Goodbye TeamTips . . . Hello Pitstop.

To focus our writing more towards the stuff we do for business, we've changed the subject for our fortnightly newsletter. The new publication, PitStop is all about reducing machine set-up times. If you work in the print industry, you probably call this make-ready time. Or in metal-bashing (pressing etc), it's changeover time.

Whatever you call it, the fact is that these activities are a major pain. They add no value, and take up time and production capacity, forcing you to make bigger batches than you'd ideally want.

The techniques in PitStop are all about how to reduce these times, boosting capacity, reducing costs, and pushing up profits. You can read the first edition at, which talks about the basic concepts of SMED - the technique we use.

If you liked reading my more rambling thoughts, go to