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Shigeo Shingo (新郷 重夫 Shingō Shigeo ?, 1909-1990), born in Saga City, Japan, 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, 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[1].

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.




  • Shigeo Shingo: A Revolution in Manufacturing : The Smed System, Productivity Press, 1985 (English), ISBN 0-915299-03-8
  • Shigeo Shingo: A Study of the Toyota Production System, Productivity Press, 1981 (Japanese), 1989 (English), ISBN 0-915299-17-8.
  • Shigeo Shingo: Modern Approaches to Manufacturing Improvement : The Shingo System, Productivity Press, 1990 (English), ISBN 0-915299-64-X
  • Shigeo Shingo: Quick Changeover for Operators : The SMED System, Productivity Press, 1996 (English), ISBN 1-56327-125-7
  • Shigeo Shingo: The Sayings of Shigeo Shingo : Key Strategies for Plant Improvement, Productivity Press, 1987 (English), ISBN 0-915299-15-1
  • Shigeo Shingo: Zero Quality Control : Source Inspection and the Poka-Yoke System, Productivity Press, 1986 (English), ISBN 0-915299-07-0
  • Shigeo Shingo: Non-Stock Production : The Shingo System for Continuous Improvement, Productivity Press, 1988 (English), ISBN 0-915299-30-5
  • Shigeo Shingo: Mistake-Proofing for Operators : The ZQC System, Productivity Press, 1997 (English), ISBN 1-56327-127-3
  • Shigeo Shingo: The Shingo Production Management System: Improving Process Functions (Manufacturing & Production), Productivity Press, 1992 (English), ISBN 0-915299-52-6
  • Shigeo Shingo: Enfoques Modernos Para la Mejora En la Fabricacion : El Sistema Shingo, Productivity Press, 1992 (Spanish), ISBN 84-87022-77-4
  • Shigeo Shingo: Produccion Sin Stocks : El Sistema Shingo Para la Mejora Continua, Productivity Press, 1991 (Spanish), ISBN 84-87022-74-X
  • Shigeo Shingo: Das Erfolgsgeheimnis der Toyota-Produktion, Verlag moderne industrie, 1992 (German), ISBN 3-478-91062-5


  1. ^ Paul H. Selden (1997). Sales Process Engineering: A Personal Workshop. Milwaukee, WI: ASQ Quality Press. pp. 94–97.  

Further reading

  • Head, Simon : The New Ruthless Economy. Work and Power in the Digital Age, Oxford UP 2005 - Head analyzes critically Shingo and the Toyota production system, ISBN 0195179838

See also

External links



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