Implementing a Culture of Continuous Improvement at the University of Washington by Michael Martyn, Mark McKenzie, and Doug Merrill Receives Shingo Publication Award

Implementing a Culture of Continuous Improvement at the University of Washington by Michael Martyn, Mark McKenzie, and Doug Merrill Receives Shingo Publication Award

Summary: After trained examiners and accomplished business professionals performed a thorough assessment of their work, Michael Martyn, Mark McKenzie, and Doug Merrill have been selected as recipients of an internationally-recognized award from the Shingo Institute, a program in the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business. The authors will receive the award at the Shingo Conference occurring April 28–May 3, 2019 in Cincinnati, Ohio.

LOGAN, Utah — The Shingo Institute, a program in the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University, has awarded Michael Martyn, Mark McKenzie, and Doug Merrill with the Shingo Publication Award for their case study, Implementing a Culture of Continuous Improvement at the University of Washington.

“Receipt of the Shingo Publication Award signifies an author’s significant
contribution and practical application to the body of knowledge regarding enterprise excellence,” said Ken Snyder, executive director of the Shingo Institute.

By “challenging” or applying for a Shingo Publication award, authors invite a group of accomplished professionals and trained examiners from the Shingo Institute to thoroughly review their publication(s). Shingo examiners select recipients based on a rigorous set of standards.

The case study follows the University of Washington (UW) Finance and Facilities (F2) department’s eight-year Lean journey. Challenging previously held norms surrounding such improvement initiatives, the team found success through clearly-defined goals and a newly-implemented, four-phase development model. This model, created to achieve the purpose “to Develop our People, to Design our Culture, to Deliver our Results,” is based off teachings of the Shingo Model™ surrounding principle-based, ideal behaviors.

The F2 department focused on maximizing engagement and had a high level of participation in the program. The eight-year process resulted in numerous results, including over 8,000 hours of training and development, the development of 47 internal Lean coaches, more than 80,000 employee-implemented improvements, $328 million in financial benefits for the university as a whole, as well as numerous awards and honors.

“The Shingo Publication Award and the UW case study, represent the very best organizational and leadership qualities associated with enhancing the quality and effectiveness of an organization,” said Bruce J. Avolio, Ph.D., executive director of the Center for Leadership & Strategic Thinking in the Foster School of Business at the University of Washington. “What was clearly represented in the case study were the strategic connections that were made that resulted in enhancing the ownership that the people took for improving the quality of their work.”

Brian McCartan, Vice President for UW Finance at the university, said, “2020 will mark the ten year anniversary of the launch of Lean at the University of Washington by the UW Finance and Facilities organization. Since its launch, the program has improved business processes and outcomes across the entire University, resulting in millions of dollars of savings. As a relative new comer to the UW, I have been impressed with how Lean has been embedded at the unit level. Lean is not the management ‘flavor of the month’, but rather is a sustained organizing principle.”

Copies of the case study may be ordered online at

Mr. Martyn, Mr. McKenzie, and Mr. Merrill will receive their award at the awards ceremony during the Shingo Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA on April 28–May 3, 2019. The conference is a week-long event featuring a selection of workshops, plant tours, keynote speakers, and breakout sessions designed to provide ongoing knowledge, insights, and experience for organizations in pursuit of operational excellence.

About the Shingo Institute

The Shingo Institute is home of the Shingo Prize, an award that recognizes organizations that demonstrate an exceptional culture that fosters continuous improvement. A program in the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University, the Shingo Institute is named after Japanese industrial engineer and Toyota adviser, Shigeo Shingo. Dr. Shingo distinguished himself as one of the world’s thought leaders in concepts, management systems, and improvement techniques that have become known as the Toyota Production System.

Drawing from Dr. Shingo’s teachings and years of experience working with organizations worldwide, the Shingo Institute developed the Shingo Model which is the basis for its several educational offerings, including workshops, study tours, and conferences. Workshops are available in multiple languages through the Institute’s Licensed Affiliates. For more information on workshops, affiliates, or to register to attend the next Shingo Conference, please visit

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