Shingo Prize for Excellence in Manufacturing

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The Shingo Prize for Operational Excellence is awarded annually by the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University, to companies around the globe that "achieve world-class operational excellence status." It was established in 1988 and is named in honor of Shigeo Shingo. Dubbed the “Nobel Prize of Manufacturing” by Business Week,[1] the Shingo Prize is recognized as the premier award for operational excellence in North America.

Summary of The Shingo Prize for Operational Excellence[edit]

The Shingo Prize for Operational Excellence is a not-for-profit organization housed at Utah State University and named after Japanese industrial engineer Shigeo Shingo. Dr. Shingo distinguished himself as one of the world’s thought leaders in concepts, management systems and improvement techniques that have become known as the Toyota Business System. Dr. Shingo received his honorary Doctorate of Management from Utah State University in 1988, the year the prize was initiated.


The mission of The Shingo Prize is to create excellence in organizations through the application of universally accepted principles of operational excellence, alignment of management systems, and the wise application of improvement techniques across the entire organizational enterprise. The Shingo Prize does this by teaching correct principles and new paradigms that accelerate the flow of value, align and empower people, and transform organizational culture.


The vision of The Shingo Prize for Operational Excellence is to be the global standard of excellence in every industry. Because The Shingo Prize roots are in organizational recognition, they have learned three very important principles:

1) Evaluating organizations for recognition requires a clearly defined, very high and universally consistent standard of excellence. 2) True excellence cannot be fleeting; therefore, assessment must determine the degree to which the principles that create excellence are deeply embedded into culture. 3) For any organization to be successful, they must be focused on a high standard of excellence (No. 1 above) and be honest in their assessment of where they are in the development of a high performing culture (No. 2 above).

These lessons have been learned by observing the sometimes successful, but mostly unsuccessful, improvement efforts of hundreds of great organizations over 23 years.

When these new paradigms are well understood and acted on, cultural transformation can be accelerated. The new paradigms are: There is a clear and strong relationship between principles, systems, and tools. Operational excellence requires focus on both behaviors and results. Business and management systems drive behavior and must be aligned with correct principles. The principles associated with operational excellence and the associated Shingo transformation process apply in any industry, any geography, and at any time. These principles are ultimately most of the “Why am I doing this?” behind Lean, Six Sigma, Total Quality Management, Just-in-Time, Quality Circles, and other programs for business improvement.

Recognition Awards[edit]

The Shingo Prize[edit]

The Shingo Prize is awarded to organizations that demonstrate a culture where principles of operational excellence are deeply embedded into the thinking and behavior of all leaders, managers, and associates. Performance is measured both in terms of business results and the degree to which business, management, and work systems are driving appropriate and ideal behavior at all levels. Leadership is beginning to focus on ensuring that principles of operational excellence are deeply imbedded into the culture and regularly assessed for improvement.


Shingo Silver Medallion[edit]

The Shingo Silver Medallion: is awarded to organizations that demonstrate strong use of tools and techniques, have mature systems that drive improvement, and are beginning to align thinking and organizational behavior with correct principles of operational excellence. At the silver level the scorecard has a broad spectrum of measures and is beginning to include behavioral elements. Key measures are stable with mostly positive trends and all levels understand how to affect the measures appropriately for their areas.


Shingo Bronze Medallion[edit]

The Shingo Bronze Medallion: is awarded to organizations that demonstrate strong use of tools and techniques for business improvement and are working to develop effective systems to create continuity and consistency of tools application throughout the business entity. Key measures have begun to stabilize with trends being mostly positive with some backsliding still evident. There are goals being set in many areas outside of operations. Alignment may still be weak in areas other than operations but efforts are being made to improve and work toward aligning the entire enterprise. Silos are beginning to fall.


Public Sector Prize[edit]

In the past this prize was given to the public sectors that achieve world-class manufacturing status. This award no longer exits.

Research and Professional Publication Award[edit]

This award recognizes research and writing regarding new knowledge and understanding of lean and operational excellence. It is given in four categories: (1) unpublished papers, (2) published articles, (3) books & monographs and (4) applied publications / multimedia programs.


The following table is not complete. Click here for a complete list.

Year Category Recipient Object of the Prize
1992 Undergraduate Research Stephen Brown and Christian Sterling Overcoming Resistance to Change within a Continuous Improvement Program
1999 Books & Monographs Mike Rother and John Shook Learning to See
2000 Books & Monographs Takahiro Fujimoto The Evolution of a Manufacturing System at Toyota
2001 Unknown Stefan Thomke and Takahiro Fujimoto The Effect of ‘Front-Loading’ Problem Solving on Product development Performance.
2001 Books & Monographs Stephen A. Ruffa and Michael Perozziello Breaking the Cost Barrier: A Proven Approach to Managing and Implementing Lean Manufacturing
2003 Books & Monographs Mike Rother and Rick Harris Creating Continuous Flow
2004 Published Articles Rachna Shah and Peter T. Ward Lean Manufacturing: Context, Practice Bundles, and Performance
2005 Books & Monographs Norman Bodek Kaikaku, The Power and Magic of Lean
2005 Books & Monographs Jeffrey K. Liker The Toyota Way
2005 Research article Robert Conti, Jannis Angelis, Colin Gill, Cary Cooper, Brian Faragher The Effects of Just-in-Time/Lean Production on Worker Job Stress
2007 Books & Monographs Thomas Jackson Hoshin Kanri for the Lean Enterprise: Developing Competitive Capabilities and Managing Profit
2007 Books & Monographs Satoshi Hino Inside the Mind of Toyota: Management Principles for Enduring Growth
2007 Books & Monographs Peter Middleton and James Sutton Lean Software Strategies: Proven Techniques for Managers and Developer
2007 Books & Monographs James Morgan and Jeff Liker The Toyota Product Development System: Integrating People, Process, and Technology
2007 Books & Monographs Patrick Graupp and Robert Wrona The TWI Workbook: Essential Skills for Supervisors
2007 Unpublished Papers H. Thomas Johnson Lean Dilemma: Choose System Principles or Management Controls-Not Both
2008 Books & Monographs Jerry Solomon and Rosemary Fullerton Accounting for World Class Operations
2008 Books & Monographs Jean Cunningham and Duane Jones Easier, Simpler, Faster – Systems Strategy for Lean IT
2008 Books & Monographs Pascal Dennis Getting the Right Things Done: A Leader's Guide to Planning and Execution
2008 Books & Monographs Allen Ward Lean Product and Process Development
2008 Books & Monographs Matthew May The Elegant Solution: Toyota's Formula for Mastering Innovation
2008 Unpublished Papers Mike Martyn and Brad Parker Applying TWI to Retail Sales: Developing a Sales Boot Camp at La-Z-Boy Furniture Galleries


The Shingo Prize recognizes that true lean transformation requires significant education and training. However, it is vital for organizations to become self-sustaining not only in the tools and systems of lean but also in the development of their own people. For this purpose, The Shingo Prize offers face-to-face training workshops intended to provide organizational leaders with the necessary understanding of the Shingo model and its principles, systems, and tools. In addition to workshop, The Shingo Prize offers study tours, conferences and an Executive Education Certificate Program.

Executive Education Certificate Program[edit]

The Shingo Executive Education Certificate Program is a 12-month, highly integrated and intensive learning experience. Through a series of modules at different company sites, The Shingo Prize creates a holistic and dynamic view of leadership. The program integrates practical knowledge of tools, systems, and principles with a comprehensive application in your own organization.

Between the face-to-face learning modules, small groups are constructed to support and help accomplish various assignments with the end goal—to drive a principle-based culture. Using online tools and media we keep the team engaged and accountable.

The program is designed to help leaders acquire a new framework by exploring Shingo Prize recipients and other host organizations to translate best practices to your own organization. Participants will work with elite industry peers and interact with key faculty of The Shingo Prize and the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University.

Participants will attend as a cohort. A new cohort is formed every quarter.

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Study Tours[edit]

The Shingo Study Tours are designed to open your eyes, broaden your vision and deepen your understanding of how the principles of operational excellence are being applied around the world. Participants get a first-hand experience on how the principles of operational excellence are being applied by visiting several Shingo recipients companies among others. Participants will gain a deeper understanding of how to define principle-based behavior and what to look for. Participants will also understand the key elements of behavior as we further discuss and look at what drives the behavior, the system in place. These tours create a new lens for many to truly see beyond the tools and discover what are at the roots of great continuous improvement cultures

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Workshop participants will gain an understanding of the Shingo model and the underlying principles behind The Shingo Prize philosophy and approach. Participants will learn and gain experience in aligning your organizational principles and core values with your systems. There will be group activities that help develop skills in assessing alignment and also how to address misalignments by embedding your principles into your work and management systems.

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Participants will learn how to select high impact systems to drive ideal behavior, scientifically experiment with adjusting systems, re-align systems to eliminate work-a-rounds/fire-fighting, and build system reliability (monitor behavior).

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Participants will focus on the emerging and changing role of leaders in building the culture of operational excellence based on correct principles. Participants will learn what leaders can do to become more personally centered around the principles of operational excellence and how they can deepen the understanding and application of these principles within their senior leadership teams. Participants will learn how they can effectively communicate, inspire, organize, and hold accountable others in the organization to align the management, work, and improvement systems to drive behaviors consistent with these principles. Participants will learn why these competencies are more important in leading the development of a lean culture than participating directly on Kaizen project teams.

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The most common missed link between the Shingo model and driving lean principle behavior is understanding the entire alignment of tools, systems, and principles; being able to map ideal behavior tied to lean principles and how your systems are created to support those principles; and finally how your tools where selectively chosen to support those systems.

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See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "And the Shingo Goes to ...". Business Week: 38b. 15 May 2000.