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The Shingo Prize is a recognized Excellence award in the field of operational excellence. With 4 categories of criteria, the Shingo Prize focuses on the transformation of the corporate culture into the search for perfection.


According to the Business Week, the Shingo Prize is the ” Nobel Prize for Operational Excellence. Created in 1988 in honor of Shigeo Shingo, the award rewards companies of all sectors (industry, service, administration, health…) capable of demonstrating a culture where the principles of operational excellence are deeply rooted in the thoughts And the behaviour of all staff, management as operational.

The results are measured via a 4-dimensional decomposed scoring grid described below, and gives an assessment on three levels: the Shingo Prize, the silver medal and the bronze medal.

1. The evaluation criteria

For the Shingo Institute, the desire to improve has always more or less existed in time and does not consider it as the custodians. For the Shingo Institute, companies wishing to succeed in the long term must have built a culture that respects the principles of the Institute. It is from studies carried out over 25 years on the various initiatives of improvement (quality circle, just in time…), that the Shingo Institute has discovered that the problem is not in the concepts but in the quality of the programmes Implementation and tool-oriented deployment of these.

So the whole point is to know ” What is the final organisation to be obtained and what are the architects of this transformation ‘. In this question, the Shingo Institute replies that the transformation of the company appears only when the management has understood and invests personally and durably in the construction of a culture of continuous improvement.

It is from these principles that the Shingo Prize has built an evaluation tool shown in the diagram below.

Dimension 1 : The animators of the culture

The animators are in charge of engaging the company daily in the transformation to a new culture. For the Shingo Institute, Management’s commitment is fundamental, but the change of culture cannot be done via directives from above and the implementation of tools. This requires commitment and dissemination throughout the company.

The guiding principles:

  • Respect each person
  • Manager with Humility

The supporting concepts:

  • Ensure a safe environment
  • Develop staff
  • Empowering and engaging staff

Dimension 2 : Continuous Improvement

The Continuous improvement begins by clarifying the value for the client that must be known to all. Only then will we be able to improve and follow the advice of Dr Shigeo Shingo : “Improvement means eliminating waste, and the essential precondition is to follow the objectives correctly. The 4 goals of the improvement are to make it simpler, better, faster and cheaper”.

The guiding principles:

  • Focus on the process
  • Use methods : PDCADMAIC
  • Thinking flow of values
  • Ensuring quality at the source
  • Search for Perfection : the improvement is infinite

The supporting concepts:

  • Stabilize processes only prerequisite for improvement
  • Rely only on data and facts
  • Standardize processes
  • Make direct observations
  • Focus on the flow of value
  • Make it simple and visual
  • Identify and eliminate waste
  • No defect can pass, stop and solve problems, respect the people of the process
  • Integrating improvement into work

Dimension 3 : Company Alignment

One of the main causes of failures of modern management is the gap between the company’s strategy and the actual facts. To ensure success, companies need to develop a management system that aligns behaviours and work with a simple, understandable, concrete and standardized strategy. It is thus essential to establish effective communication, a consensus process and a clear accounting system where facts and countermeasures are planned and followed through methods such as PDCA.

The guiding principles:

  • Creating consistency in goals
  • Thinking system

The supporting concepts:

  • Looking at reality
  • Focus on the long term
  • Align system
  • Align Policy
  • Standardize daily management

Dimension 4 : The results

All business managers are responsible for their results. Good results are the result of having followed the principles. Ideal results require perfect behavior. This is what the Shingo Institute calls operational excellence.

This dimension is evaluated according to 5 axes of results : Quality, cost/productivity ratio, deadlines, customer satisfaction, safety/environment/culture

The guiding principle: Creating value for the customer

The supporting concepts:

  • Define what to measure
  • Align behaviors with performance
  • Identify cause-to-effect relationships

2. The notation

The evaluation deals with a whole range of questions sorted according to the different dimensions described above. Each element of the first 3 dimensions will be evaluated according to a 5-level scale based on behaviours:

Only the result dimension will be evaluated according to the scale of the above behaviors as well as a result scale below:
Finally, all of the results are carried over to the table below. “weights” are given according to the different categories to calculate the total score. It will simply be noted that depending on the business sectors and the situation of the companies, the grid may be slightly evolved with different weights. The table below is of a common structure but is only one example:

3. The candidate process

From the registration to the awards ceremony, the process takes about a year and a half and understands 6 steps :

  1. Make a registration request preferably about 1 year before sending the report.
  2. Send a report to the Shingo Prize by integrating in all the data to demonstrate the transformation of the company culture and must include elements on the 4 dimensions of the principles of the Shingo Institute. The reading time is about 30 days.
  3. A visit to the site is organized about 45 to 60 days after notification of the Institute.
  4. Feedback and evaluation results are made approximately 30 days after the visit.
  5. A written report with all the recommendations is sent to the company.
  6. For companies that have had a reward, an invitation for a celebration is given to them.

The total cost is 3 000 to 32 000 depending on the size of the company and the progress in the evaluation process.



G. Teneau, J. G. Abraham (2009) – Guided Guide to standards and benchmarks

G. Plenert (2007) – Reinventing Lean : Introducing lean management into the supply chain

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