World-class excellence in manufacturing is the hallmark for 12 recipients and three finalists of the 2007 Shingo Prize for Excellence in Manufacturing business program. American manufacturing continues to experience turbulent times in maintaining and growing manufacturing jobs. The only business approach that has demonstrated superior achievement is lean enterprise management (the Toyota Production System), the foundation of the Shingo Prize.

Dubbed the "Nobel Prize of Manufacturing" by Business Week, the Shingo Prize is recognized as the premier manufacturing award and recognition program in North America.

"The 2007 Recipients have proven themselves as leaders in lean manufacturing and business processes," said Shingo Prize executive director Ross Robson. "The 2007 conference and award ceremony will highlight how lean delivers global competitiveness and will control a company's destiny to be cost competitive."

The Shingo Prize continues to grow with the adoption of the Public Sector Shingo Prize. Thirty-two states in the U.S. and Mexico are conducting state-level Shingo Prize programs. The mission aim of the Shingo Prize is to find and eliminate all non-value added activity that negatively impacts profitability and/or tax utilization.

This year's Shingo Prize Recipients are:

Autoliv Queretaro CMX Facility, Queretaro, Mexico: This plant produces cushions for Autoliv's passenger, driver, side-impact and side-curtain airbags. Through the application of the Autoliv Production System, the facility has improved cutting production efficiency by 75 percent, reduced changeover time by 20 percent, improved customer PPM by 98 percent, boosted inventory turnover from 14 to 24, increased units produced per week by 94 percent, and improved LMPU by 23 percent, even while launching 64 new programs. During this same timeframe, the CMX facility has been driving process improvements, resulting in four consecutive ISO/TS audits with zero non-conformance issues, and four consecutive years with 100 percent on-time delivery to its customers.

Baxter Healthcare Corporation, North Cove Plant, Marion, N.C.: Baxter is a global healthcare company that provides critical life-saving therapies for the treatment of complex medical conditions including hemophilia, immune disorders, kidney disease, cancer, and trauma. The plant earned its first Shingo Prize in 2000. By maintaining a relentless focus on continuous improvement and lean enterprise implementation, Baxter's North Cove facility is recognized as the only plant awarded the prize for a second time. Through its Quality Leadership Process emphasizing total employee involvement, North Cove has reduced work in process inventory by 80 percent, reduced its lost time incident rate by 81 percent, reduced manufacturing cycle time by 58 percent and reduced unplanned scrap by 38 percent.

Baxter S.A. de C.V., Cuernavaca Plant, Morelos, Mexico: Baxter's Cuernavaca plant is the leading manufacturer of products for the treatment of critical health conditions in Mexico, and offers services to thousands of patients receiving renal therapies. Its focus on client satisfaction, waste management, and a continued reduction in costs and time of delivery has allowed Baxter Cuernavaca to become a world example in operational excellence. Within the span of only two years, the plant has increased inventory turnover by 50 percent, reduced total number of days lost by 94 percent, and increased overall productivity by 140 percent. These results are the consequence of the effort and dedication of each of its employees.

Cordis de Mexico, Juarez, Mexico: Cordis Corporation, a Johnson & Johnson company, is a worldwide leader in developing and manufacturing interventional vascular technology, including the groundbreaking CYPHER Sirolimus-eluting Coronary Stent. Its manufacturing facility in Juarez operates at world-class levels of productivity and quality largely because of its employees' commitment to continuous improvement. Through their efforts, the facility has been able to increase productivity by 64 percent and increase production by 14 percent with a 12 percent space reduction while maintaining a positive trend in yields across all product lines.

Delphi Packard Electrical/Electronic Architecture's Chihuahua 1, Chihuahua, Mexico: Chihuahua 1 produces world-class power and signal distribution systems known as wiring harnesses for the automotive industry. As Chihuahua 1 applied lean manufacturing methodologies to eliminate waste, the team achieved a 34 percent inventory cost reduction over a 12-month period and a 93.5 percent uptime. All employees are focused on continuous improvement and salaried employees completed projects in 2005 that helped save $751,000. With 86 customers and more than 1,100 part numbers or different products, the flexibility of the system, involvement, and commitment of employees are keys to maintaining manufacturing and quality world-class status.

Delphi Packard Electrical/Electronic Architecture's Cableados Fresnillo 1, Fresnillo, Mexico: The plant assembles wiring harnesses that distribute energy and electrical signals in vehicles and trucks primarily for the North American market. Focused on implementing a lean manufacturing system, Fresnillo 1 changed the way employees labor daily. The team was recognized by the Mexican Institute of Social Security for implementing "Pausa Para La Salud," an in-house calisthenics initiative. Along with stretching their muscles, Fresnillo 1 reduced cost of rework, a customer focus activity, by 58 percent; reduced scrap cost by 7 percent; and improved its first-time quality by 19.7 percent, while keeping to zero its rejected returned parts per million, controlled shipping levels and spills.

DENSO Manufacturing Tennessee Inc., Instrument Cluster Division, Maryville, Tenn.: DENSO Corporation is the world's second largest manufacturer of advanced technology, components, and systems for major automakers. The Instrument Cluster Division's 700 Associates are dedicated to using lean manufacturing concepts to produce high quality instrument clusters, center displays, and air-conditioning panels. Specific results of their efforts include the following: TS 16949 and ISO 14001 certifications; Tennessee Pollution Prevention Program's highest award due to 95 percent recycling of manufacturing process wastes; DENSO Global President's Award for Kaizen; a defect rate reduction of 32 percent; warranty cost reduction of 60 percent; and multiple quality, delivery, and service awards.

Hearth & Home Technologies, Mount Pleasant, Iowa: As the world's leading fireplace manufacturer and a subsidiary of HNI Corporation, Hearth & Home Technologies' has an aggressive application of the Lean Production System. This facility manufactures product for Hearth & Home Technologies' Heatilator, Heat & Glo and Quadra-Fire brands while fostering a culture that is founded on safety and embraces continuous improvement. The member-owners recently celebrated 1.5 million hours without a lost-time incident, achieved on-time delivery of more than 98 percent, with customer lead times of five days or less. This was accomplished while increasing inventory turns by 24 percent and improving productivity by 48 percent.

HON Company, LA South Gate Plant, South Gate, Calif.: The HON Company is a leader in design and manufacturing of workplace furniture including desks, chairs, storage, panel systems, and tables. The HON Company's South Gate Plant has achieved the lowest rate of customer complaints for manufacturing issues within the company for 8 years in a row. They have improved on-time shipment of their products to 99.6 percent, while reducing inventory. They have reduced emissions into the air by 79 percent in the past 3 years, surpassing the stringent environmental regulations in the Los Angeles area. They have an active member/owner culture, implementing 1,935 member suggestions in 2006 alone. Members have contributed more than 2,800 hours of community service in the past three years.

Raytheon Missile Systems, Louisville, Ky.: Raytheon Missile Systems Louisville (RMSL) manufactures and overhauls the Phalanx Close-In Weapon System, the SeaRAM weapon system, and the Rolling Airframe Missile Guided Missile Launching System for the U.S. Navy and 24 allied navies. RMSL has achieved 135 percent increase in sales, 230 percent increase in bookings, and 100 percent on-time delivery rate, all over the last six to seven years. Operational efficiency improved more than 15 percent just over the last 2 years. Additionally, 20 site processes were selected as best practices by the Best Manufacturing Practices Center of Excellence, chartered by the Office of Naval Research.

Solectron Manufactura de Mexico, Guadalajara, Mexico: Solectron Guadalajara has successfully transformed its traditional production system into the Solectron Production System, effectively applying lean manufacturing and a strong Kaizen culture throughout its organization of more than 5,000 associates. Some achievements during our lean journey (2003-2006) included: more than $75 million USD in savings from kaizen Teams, 220 poka-yokes, reduction by 29 percent on scrap versus revenue, 88 percent manufacturing lead-time reduction, space optimization of 115,044 square feet, and a 43 percent labor productivity improvement. These improvements resulted in higher customer satisfaction and revenue growth.

Takata Seat Weight Sensor, Equipo Automotriz Americana, Monterrey, Mexico: The Takata Seat Weight Sensor (SWS) Plant produces an intelligent safety system device for more than 1 million car sets per year. This facility has operated in a lean environment since its inception in 2003 and has always maintained 100 percent on-time delivery. With a focus on Total Preventive Maintenance and well-trained associates, the SWS Plant's flexible work cells and quality focus have earned them numerous manufacturing accolades and recognition for their lean efforts. The dedicated, empowered associates of the SWS Plant are proud to boast its highest corporate participation rate in continuous improvement activities by volunteering outside of their normal job scope to solve problems and enhance performance.

Finalists
Finalists scoring within the proximity of Recipient status include BAE Systems, Ground Systems Division, York, Pa.; Boeing Company, Support Systems, San Antonio, Texas; and ZF Lemforder Corporation, Tuscaloosa Plant, Tuscaloosa, Ala..

"Each of these plants is also outstanding in its lean manufacturing processes," said Robson.

The Shingo Prize for Excellence in Manufacturing, for manufacturers in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, is administered by the College of Business, Utah State University. Awards for the recipients and finalists will be presented at the 19th annual Shingo Prize Conference and Awards Ceremony to be held March 29 at the Hyatt Regency Riverfront in Jacksonville, Fla.