Shigeo Shingo

Shigeo Shingo

 Born: 1909

Died: 1990

Is Best Known For:

Poka Yoke
Poka-yoke is a Japanese term that means “mistake-proofing”. The concept was formalized, and the term adopted, by Shigeo Shingo as part of the Toyota Production System.
Single Minute Exchange of Die
Single-Minute Exchange of Die (SMED) is one of the many lean production methods for reducing waste in a manufacturing process. It provides a rapid and efficient way of converting a manufacturing process from running the current product to running the next product. This rapid changeover is key to reducing production lot sizes and thereby improving flow.
Just In Time
Just in time (JIT) is a production strategy that strives to improve a business’ return on investment by reducing in-process inventory and associated carrying costs.


Shigeo Shingo was born in 1909 at Saga City, Japan where he attended the Saga Technical High School. After graduation from Yamanashi Technical College in 1930 he went to work for the Taipei Railway Company.In 1943 Shingo was transferred to the Amano Manufacturing Plant in Yokohama.

As Manufacturing Section Chief, he raised productivity 100%. Shingo worked for several manufacturers in 1945 and 1946 and also began a long association with the Japanese Management Association (JMA). From 1946-1954 Shingo had many assignments, delivered several important papers and crystallized his ideas on process and plant layout. He also applied Statistical Process Control.

In 1955, Dr. Shingo began another long association, this time with Toyota. In addition to his many consulting assignments in other industries. It is during this period that he first started work on setups by doubling the output of an engine bed planer at Mitsubishi’s shipyard.In 1959, Dr. Shingo left JMA to start his own consulting company.

During the early 1960’s, as an outgrowth of work with Matsushita, he developed his concepts of “ Mistake-Proofing.”In 1969, SMED was originated when he cut the setup time on a 1000 ton press at Toyota from 4.0 hours to 3.0 minutes. During the 1970’s, Shingo traveled in Europe and North America on many lectures, visits and assignments. He began to see Toyota’s efforts as an integrated system and began to assist several U.S. and European firms in implementation.

Dr. Shigeo Shingo has written 14 major books and hundreds of important papers on manufacturing. The Shingo Prize is awarded for excellence in manufacturing as a tribute to Dr. Shingo and his lifelong work. He died in 1990.



Poka-yoke is a Japanese term that means “mistake-proofing”. A poka-yoke is any mechanism in a lean manufacturing process that helps an equipment operator avoid (yokeru) mistakes (poka). Its purpose is to eliminate product defects by preventing, correcting, or drawing attention to human errors as they occur.

Shigeo Shingo recognized three types of poka-yoke for detecting and preventing errors in a mass production system