Shigeo Shingo

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Shigeo Shingo - short version

Pioneer of TPM (Total Productive Maintenance), SMED (Single Minute Exchange of Dies), and Poka-Yoka also known as Error Proof.

Shigeo Shingo - long version

Shigeo Shingo was a Japanese industrial engineer who distinguished himself as one of the world's leading experts on manufacturing practices and the Toyota Production System. Shingo is known far more in the West than in Japan, as a result of his meeting Norman Bodek, an American entrepreneur and founder of Productivity Inc in the USA. In 1981 Bodek had travelled to Japan to learn about the Toyota Production System, and came across books by Shingo, who as an external consultant had been teaching Industrial Engineering courses at Toyota since 1955. Shingo had written his Study of The Toyota Production System in Japanese and had it translated, very poorly, into English in 1980. Norman Bodek took as many copies of this book as he could to the USA and arranged to translate Shingo's other books into English, eventually having his original study re-translated. Bodek also brought Shingo to lecture in the USA and developed one of the first Western lean manufacturing consultancy practices with Shingo's support.

The myth prevails that Shingo invented the Toyota Production System but he did document the system and added two words to the Japanese and English languages—Poka-yoke (mistake-proofing, not 'fool-proofing', which Shingo rejected as a term) and single-minute exchange of dies (SMED). In 1988, the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University recognized Dr. Shingo for his lifetime accomplishments and created the Shingo Prize that recognizes world-class, lean organizations and operational excellence.

Shingo's influence extended into fields outside of manufacturing. For example, his concepts of SMED, mistake-proofing, and "zero quality control" (eliminating the need for inspection of results) have all been applied in the field of sales process engineering. Shingo is the author of numerous books including: A Study of the Toyota Production System; Revolution in Manufacturing: The SMED System; Zero Quality Control: Source Inspection and the Poka-yoke System; The Sayings of Shigeo Shingo: Key Strategies for Plant Improvement; Non-Stock Production: The Shingo System for Continuous Improvement; and The Shingo Production Management System: Improving Process Functions.


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