August 18, 2006

Sandia’s Neutron Generator Production receives Shingo Prize

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Shingo Prize for Excellence in Manufacturing — deemed the Nobel Prize for manufacturing by Business Week — recognized Sandia’s Neutron Generator Production with a Bronze-level Shingo Prize Public Sector Award for 2006. The center produces neutron generators in support of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile.

The Shingo Prize for Excellence in Manufacturing is named for Japanese industrial engineer Shigeo Shingo. Shingo distinguished himself as one of the world’s leading experts in improving manufacturing processes. He created and popularized the revolutionary manufacturing practices of the Toyota Production System.

Sandia is a National Nuclear Security Administration laboratory. It is the first Department of Energy (DOE) site to apply for and win a Shingo Prize.

This is the first time that the center has applied for the award. Kathleen McCaughey, center director of Neutron Generator Production, said “achieving the Shingo Prize demonstrates our organizational commitment to continuous improvement which focuses on providing value to the customer.”

By applying lean concepts over the last five years, the center has increased capacity by 67 percent, reduced inventory by 55 percent, realized cycle time reductions of up to 75 percent and accepted three new mission assignments without increases in budget or staff.

The recipients are scored on cost improvement; leadership; empowerment; vision and strategy; innovation and development; partnering practices with suppliers and customers; environmental practices; quality and results; application of lean world class practices; and consistent improvement in each of those areas.

“The Shingo Prize recognizes the best in manufacturing,” said North American Shingo Prize Director Ross Robson. “The 2006 recipients are not only saving American taxpayers money, but increasing the quality and availability of military weapons that protect Americans at home and soldiers abroad.”

Rob Robson will present Sandia’s Neutron Generator Production with their award on Sept. 7 in Las Vegas, Nev. at the Shingo Prize Public Sector Conference.

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Sandia is a multiprogram laboratory operated by Sandia Corporation, a Lockheed Martin company, for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. Sandia has major R&D responsibilities in national security, energy and environmental technologies, and economic competitiveness.

Sandia news media contact:  Stephanie Holinka,, (505) 284-9227