The Current Shingo Model Turns Ten – It’s Time to Reflect

by: Ken Snyder

In 2008, the Shingo Institute introduced to the world the current Shingo Model™ that presented the Shingo Guiding Principles of operational excellence and a behavioral approach to cultural assessment. The Model propelled the Shingo Prize into the position of a true international standard of operational excellence. More importantly, the Model has created an ongoing conversation about guiding principles, the behaviors they inform and the systems that drive them, and how to achieve sustainable results.

We are pleased that so many individuals and organizations worldwide benefit from the Shingo Model™, as well as the Shingo workshops. These workshops help people understand the principles and implement the systems that drive sustainable results and the culture that achieves them. In short, the current Shingo Model™ has been a major step forward in improving the process of improvement.

With that said, it is time to reflect on how the Shingo Model™ might improve in the future. Never one to rest on his successes, our namesake, Dr. Shigeo Shingo, always insisted on improving everything – especially the things that seem to be going well. We intend to follow his example.

In my involvement with the Shingo Institute over the past ten years as a board member, an examiner, and as executive director, several people have approached me and suggested improvements to the current Model. I have saved all of these suggestions and will share many of these ideas in blogs over the next few months.

Some may remember that when the Model was first introduced, the image to depict the Model was a house. This evoked many questions about why the Shingo house was different from the Toyota and other houses. Houses seem to be ubiquitous in process improvement thought. In response to this confusion, we created the images of the diamonds and the pyramid. These images seem to resonate with Shingo learners around the world. While participating in dozens and dozens of workshops, I have observed that these images help people understand the Shingo Model™. In all of the suggestions I have collected so far, no one has suggested changes to the current image configuration. Given that apparent success, I think we will leave the image configurations as they are for now.

All of the improvement suggestions to date have been about the Shingo Guiding Principles. All suggestions accept that principles are timeless and universal, and following the Shingo Guiding Principles makes it easier for organizations to improve. Suggestions made so far fall into one of two categories: 1) an attempt to make it easier to understand a principle; or 2) an additional principle that might be missing from the Model.

In our own drive for continuous improvement, the Shingo Institute recognizes that it is important to reach outside our current circle to find fresh ideas for improvement. We welcome your ideas – especially if they help you understand a principle better, or if it adds an important principle missing from the Model. Please send these suggestions directly to me at

Over the next few months, I intend to share some of these suggestions and reflections as part of this blog. I will do my best to explain the background of the principle in question and its current wording. I welcome your feedback – either to this blog site or on my LinkedIn page.

I look forward to hearing from you.

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2 thoughts on “The Current Shingo Model Turns Ten – It’s Time to Reflect”

  1. Hi Ken, I would like to find out what are the biggest advantages and disadvatages of the Model – perhaps from the perspective of the companies that introduced the Shingo Model for OE. I went through many articles and all I could find is how good the Model is. However, I am sure that there are certain things about it that are not perfect, perhaps obstacles that organization can meet when implementing the model. Thank you

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