Photographs of Shingo suggest a very mild-mannered professorial type. But that demeanor apparently could, and did, disappear in a flash when anyone misunderstood a key concept.
Shingo Prize director Ross Robson recalls meeting Shingo in Indianapolis, during the Toyota engineers last trip to the U.S. I asked what I thought was an excellent two-part question, Robson says. But Shingo said simply, That second question is stupid. And that was the end of that.
On another occasion, Shingo was invited to visit a U.S. manufacturing plant. In his honor, they had hung up a poster that read Eliminate waste. Rather than get into niceties, he launched into a mini tirade on the poster. It should say identify waste, he said, because you cant eliminate it if you havent identified it.
That is a point that every manufacturer should keep in mind.