Shigeo Shingo

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Born: 1909

Died: 1990

Shigeo Shingo is best known for:

  • 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 (SMED) - is one of the many lean production methods for reducing waste in manufacturing processes. 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 (JIT) - is a production strategy that strives to improve a business’ return on investment by reducing in-process inventory and associated carrying costs.

A Brief Introduction:

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.

Shingo worked for several manufacturers in 1945 and 1946 and also began a long association with the Japanese Management Association (JMA).


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.

Shing had been involved all over Japan in the training of thousands of people, who joined his courses on the fundamental techniques of analysis and improvement of the operational activities in factories.

1955: Dr. Shingo began a long association with Toyota. 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.

1959: Dr. Shingo left JMA to start his own consulting company.

The 1960s: During the early 1960s, as an outgrowth of work with Matsushita, he developed his concepts of Mistake-Proofing.

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.

The 1970s: During the 1970s, Shingo travelled 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.

Utah State University recognized Dr. Shing for his lifetime accomplishments and created the Shingo Prize for Operational Excellence that recognizes world-class, lean organizations and operational excellence.


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.

1. The contact method:

The contact method identifies product defects by testing the product's shape, size, colour, or other physical attributes.

2. The fixed-value method

The fixed-value (or constant number) method alerts the operator if a certain number of movements are not made.

3. The motion-step method

The motion-step (or sequence) method determines whether the prescribed steps of the process have been followed.

Shingo Prize

Utah State University recognized Dr. Shingō for his lifetime accomplishments and created the Shingo Prize for Operational Excellence that recognizes world-class, lean organizations and operational excellence.

Posted on January 20, 2018 by  Quality Gurus

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