2006 Shingo Prize Winners


Reliable Plant Magazine

The latest Shingo Prize winners have been announced. Congratulations to them all! And good luck to them all! I hope they realize that their lean journey isn't over, it's only just begun.

Now some have taken issue, rightfully so, with the Shingo Prize. It's possible to have plants that “look lean” and even have the metrics headed in the right direction, while management has totally taken their eye off the ball, business wise. I share the frustration of the Evolving Excellence blog that four more Delphi plants have won the Shingo. At what point does it become embarrassing to the Shingo Prize people that they are giving prizes to a bankrupt company??

I still think the ultimate lean measure is PROFIT. Not just short-term profit, anyone can fudge the budgets and the books to show a profit, but long-term Toyota-style sustained profit. Maybe if I have time, I'll try to research the profitability of the Shingo Prize winners versus their industry peers. (Update 3/10/06 — see my post on “Shingo Investing” here).

Here is a link to a press release from Steelcase, one of this year's winners. Steelcase results include the following. I hope profits are also up!

  • Improved efficiency by 40 percent
  • Reduced cycle time between raw materials and finished goods from 6-8 days to less than 3.5 hours
  • Improved raw material turns by more than 250 percent
  • Reduced inventory space from 250,000 square feet to 75,000 square feet
  • Reduced paint cycle time from 2.5 hours to 85 minutes or less
  • Reduced floor space for finished goods shipping by over 85 percent

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Mark Graban
Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.


  1. I recently worked with a plant that was next to a huge, closed and empty Steelcase plant. That’s one way to decrease your floor space! Steelcase is a great example of what lean should not be, yet they continue to be rewarded with “lean” prizes. This turns those prizes into a big joke. Too bad, because the Shingo prizes could have done some good. Now, the committee has little credibility. The Japan Institute for Plant Maintenance used to hand out TPM Excellence awards to a lot of companies, also. In the end, the JIPM couldn’t even afford to maintain a US office and packed up and went home. What kid of message does that send to the scores of companies that ponied up the $10K (plus) just to apply? The only awards that mean anything are the ones that come from your customers.


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