OGDEN -- With machines humming in the background, employees of the Ogden Division of Barnes Aerospace gathered to receive the Shingo Silver Medallion at a ceremony Wednesday morning.
The Shingo Prize for Operational Excellence is an internationally recognized award for manufacturing presented to companies that follow the principles taught by Japanese industrial engineer Shigeo Shingo,
A top Shingo prize and a bronze medallion are also awarded. The Shingo prize committee is based at Utah State University.
"It's basically the Nobel Prize for manufacturing," Barnes Aerospace Ogden Division Manager Steven Moore said.
The award's namesake distinguished himself with pioneering concepts in management systems and improvement techniques that have become known as the Toyota Business System. Utah State presented Shingo with an honorary Doctorate of Management in 1988, initiating the prize the same year.
The philosophy of the Shingo Prize is to search out and find those companies throughout the world that meet those principles, explained Robert Miller, executive director of the Shingo Prize.
Miller said organizers get many applications every year, but few get very far.
"When they see what is really required, we never hear from them again, because the standards are so high," Miller said.
Gregory Milzcik, president and CEO of Barnes Group Inc., attended the ceremony. He said the Ogden division has set the bar for the organization and will spread its lessons to improve the 60 other operations around the world.
Moore and the 185 employees in Barnes Aerospace Ogden Division spent five years getting the company to a level where it could apply for the prize.
"The preparation to get your company there is a journey," Moore said. "It's a minimum of five years to get yourself to that level."
To begin with, the company has to be very good at what it does, Moore said, and part of that requires a company to create a culture that accepts the Shingo manufacturing principles of operational excellence, alignment of management systems and the wise application of improvement techniques.
The Shingo committee said this is done by teaching correct principles and new paradigms that accelerate the flow of value and empower people.
"Once you think you have all those things," Moore said, "you apply to the Shingo office."
The application included a 50-page achievement report, which is reviewed by a dozen assessors, and is followed by a site visit that takes place over several days.
Moore said the division is committed to seek the top prize.
Prize organizers have told the division what it needs to work on and has provided a two-year period to close the gaps.
"We are only there at the silver," Moore said. "We commit to win the prize,"