Shigeo Shingo was an outstanding person who has made huge contributions in quality management, especially, through his writings, theories, and teachings. He was born in Japan in 1906, in the city of Saga. He graduated in 1930 from the Yamanashi Technical College. After graduating he worked with Taipei Railway in Japan. In 1943, he was employed by Amano Manufacturing Plan, where he held the position of the MSC (Manufacturing Section Chief). When working in this organization he did show an outstanding performance by helping the firm increase its productivity to 100% level. He also worked with different manufacturing companies. His academic work can be mainly traced back to 1946-1954; whereby, he worked in a number of assignments and papers on different innovative thoughts related to manufacturing processes as well as layout designing. ‘Shigeo work influences quality management practices in great ways.’ He was the first person to apply the concept of Statistical Process Control in the execution of his ideas. The current paper is going to discuss the contribution of Shigeo Shingo to the field of quality management.
In his life, Shigeo acted as a consultant for many multinational firms, such as AT &T, Toyota, Peugeot, and Bridgestone. The contributions of Shingo in the area of quality management can be categorized in three important concepts, namely, Zero Quality Control, Single Minute Exchange Dies (SMED) and Just in Time (JIT). These concepts are being used by modern managers in the manufacturing sector to realize high profits.
The JIT concept was mainly developed based on the contributions of Taichii Ohno and Shigeo during the 1949-1975 periods. Shigeo during the period was in charge of the Toyota factory improvement and industrial engineering training. JIT was developed on the basis of what is known as Ford System, whereby, the two realized that company employees had more contributions to make in an organization, rather than just their muscle power.
Shigeo and his partner in developing JIT aimed to help Toyota to gain competitive advantage as well as achieve an increment in productivity through elimination of a number of wastes. The wastes that JIT aimed at eliminating included excess transportation, overproduction wastages, excess inventory, waiting time, wasted motion, production defects wastages, and processing waste (Towill, 2006). Companies that apply JIT concepts are able to realize cost savings. The application of various statistical control processes aid in assuring that the results obtain from production processes are in line with the desired outcomes.
Shigeo through JIT developed an approach that can be used by an organization to improve the quality of its production processes so as to increase in cost savings. The contribution of Shigeo through JIT has been used effectively in various production companies, in reducing wastages in their process, hence, saving on the cost of production. This gives them a competitive edge through quality improvement, ensuring the needs of customers are addressed in time and avoiding over production of goods that end up going to waste, leading to an organization incurring huge losses at the end of the day (Towill, 2006). Therefore, Shigeo JIT concept has led to improved quality management practices in many manufacturing firms around the globe.
Another area of contribution by Shigeo was in relation to the development of SMED concept. The concept was part of JIT, and was developed with an objective of reducing fixed costs connected to changeover and setup of dies. In SMED concept the basic feature is the reduction of the setup time for the dies, which lead to smaller sizes of batch of various parts being produced (Paraschivescu, 2013). This leads to lower costs, as far as the storage of the goods in question is concerned. This concept has been applied by firms in the manufacturing sector, enabling them to adjust at lower cost to various changes in the engineering designs. Additionally, Shigeo SMED concept has been used by firms in ensuring that there is high machine utilization, resulting in high production with time.
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When it comes to the SMED concept development, Shigeo approach involved identification and isolation of setup time into two dissimilar entities, i.e. external as well as the internal setups. The application Shigeo principle has enabled modern firms to record enhancements in areas of production processes.
Lastly, Shigeo made contributions in the area of engineering through what is known as the ZQC. The concept led to development of engineering principles that can be applied in helping an organization improve its quality management practices. One of the ZQC principles is the need to conduct 100% inspections at the production processes, instead of conducting sampling inspections (Paraschivescu, 2013). The concept was aimed at helping a manufacturing plant identify any defects in any of its processes, thus, making possible improvements that would lead to quality improvement. The second principle is getting of an immediate feedback following successful self-checks and quality checks. The feedback would be used to make immediate adjustments that would lead to improvement in the production processes in a firm.
The ZQC concepts have been used by many organizations during the process of inspecting their processes with an aim of improving productivity. They have been able to identify minor mistakes that can cost an organization millions of dollars, thus, improving them to enhance the quality of production processes.
In conclusion, Shigeo is one of the greatest individuals in the area of quality management. His three main concepts have been useful in making organizations better when dealing with manufacturing challenges. They have also been used in strategically giving an organization competitive advantage. Thus, Shigeo was truly a guru as far as quality management is concerned.