Lean is Dead… long live Shingo

Posted on 14 May 2009 by The Manufacturer

The Manufacturing Institute introduces the 'Nobel Prize of manufacturing"...

For half a century or more the forefront of lean evolution has trotted around the globe from Japan to the US and back again….and for the most part the UK has followed on its coat tails. With the coming of this year’s UK/US Shingo Summit to Manchester, it’s now the turn of the UK to play a leading role in the lean revolution.

The Shingo concept is considered by many to be the next generation of business excellence. It is founded upon the ‘True North’ principles of lean but expands on them by offering a more holistic, enterprise wide approach, to achieving operational excellence. UK businesses now have the opportunity to seize upon this recently improved gold standard and take the chance to both drive the development of lean and steal a competitive advantage against both domestic and international organisations.

In the UK, up until recently, it has been mainly manufacturers that have recognised the importance of lean, but as word gets around, all sectors and organisations in both the public and private sector, are beginning to accept the importance of applying lean principles. Shared learning across sectors is a big part of the Shingo philosophy, as businesses and organisations from all sectors can benefit. Manufacturers are also getting a great deal more out of Shingo because of the lessons they can gain from other sectors.

This year’s UK/US Shingo Summit will continue the spread of lean thinking across UK organisations, bringing a line-up of speakers from around the world that will no doubt inspire and invigorate delegates. Of course, in these tough economic times, UK manufacturers are being seriously tested, so this advanced philosophy of organisational best practice offers a chance to stay amongst those leading the pack.

A first at this year’s Summit will be the introduction of the Shingo Prize for Operational Excellence. Companies and organisations that have achieved high levels of operational excellence and fully embraced lean principles can challenge for the prize and indeed this year, three companies from the North West and Northern Ireland will aim to become the first recipients of the prize outside of the US. Considered the ‘Nobel Prize’ in Manufacturing, it is the future of lean in the UK.

In conclusion, I take back the words “lean is dead”, lean is certainly not dead, it is simply evolving into something stronger and healthier than ever before.

Introduced to the US in 1988, the Shingo Prize is awarded on a yearly basis to exceptional organisations that use world-class operational excellence strategy and practices based upon lean thinking. The UK/US Shingo Summit, held from June 8th – June 12th at the Manchester Hilton Hotel, will introduce the Shingo Prize for Operational Excellence to the UK.

To find out more about the Summit, including how you can book your place, you can visit the website here