This week saw the Shingo Institute, part of the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University, travel across Ireland to visit manufacturing sites to showcase Irelands world class performance in the area of Operational Excellence. Leading the visit was Mr. Shaun Barker, Director of operations and assessment for The Shingo Prize since 2001. The touring party were honored to also have Mr Ritsuo Shingo, the son of Dr Shigeo Shingo. Dr Shigeo Shingo was a Japanese engineer credited for his contribution to Lean and in particular the now famous Toyota production system. Mr Ritsuo Shingo has followed in his father's footsteps and is a world recognized Lean expert. After awarding Dr Shigeo Shingo an honorary doctorate, the Utah State University established the Shingo Prize® for operational excellence in his honour and it is described as the Nobel Prize for manufacturing.  The contingent representing the Shingo Institute and 6 global organizations, visited a total of 7 sites across 6 counties which included Meda Rottapharm (Dublin), Abbott Diagnostics (Longford), Analog Devices (Limerick) and Abbott Vascular (Clonmel).
The Shingo Prize® is based on a thorough assessment of organizational culture and operational excellence within an organisation. Great performance is driven by a strong collaborative culture based on principles of operational excellence and where fundamental behaviours are deeply embedded into the organization.  "The Shingo Prize is our most prestigious honour to recognize companies that demonstrate broad application of lean principles across core business processes and a leadership commitment to build and sustain a culture of continuous improvement," said Ken Snyder, executive director at the Shingo Institute. At the last annual Shingo International Conference in Atlanta USA, Ireland was now recognized as a world leader having 7 companies with a total of 8 Shingo awards, the most awards of any country per capita in the world. Four Shingo Prize awards, one Silver Medallion and three Bronze Medallions to date.

The visit was organized in collaboration with the ICBE (Irish Centre of Business excellence) an organization with a mission to share and multiply knowledge, Dermot O’Neill, Board member of the Shingo Institute and Projects and Network manager for ICBE said “the Shingo Tour of Ireland is a great example of knowledge sharing across the globe, not only is Ireland seen as a centre of excellence in light of the numerous Shingo awards but is also gaining a reputation for having a strong collaborative environment and being a great place to do business”.


Ciaran Corcoran, site director at Abbott Longford explains, “Abbott was proud to facilitate two Shingo Prize winning site visits at our Diagnostics facility in Longford and our Vascular facility in Clonmel. Being part of the Shingo Ireland tour is great recognition of our people at Abbott who are deeply committed to sustaining our culture of continuous improvement, this directly supports our overall purpose at Abbott which is to advance human health and happiness in all we do. Our efforts are focused on enabling people to not just live longer, but better. In diagnostics, we do this by helping doctors determine how best to treat patients by providing ways to diagnose and monitor a vast range of health conditions with greater speed, accuracy and efficiency."


The IDA also presented to the visitors in Abbott (Longford) to share Irelands success story as a destination for FDI, Paul Veale Midlands Representative spoke to the Shingo visitors and said, “Manufacturing continues to be hugely significant to Ireland and IDA Ireland supported companies currently employ more than 95,000 people in manufacturing jobs. This visit is further recognition that Ireland is a leading location for manufacturing activities with particular emphasis in the area of Talent, Culture and Operational Excellence which delivers sustainable results over the long term - these are a key consideration for our clients in their decisions to invest in Ireland”.