Two of Baxter's drug manufacturing facilities have won the prestigious Shingo Prize, the top prize for manufacturing excellence, a prize normally won by aerospace and discrete manufacturing companies. The company's North Cove facility, which won our Team of the Year award and ASQ's Team Excellence Award two years ago, has won this prize for the second time, while the company's facility in Mexico is now a first-time winner. Baxter appears to be the only company so far to have won this award for drug manufacturing (others have won for medical device manufacturing). Stay tuned for more coverage of the Mexican plant in our magazine. More below, from the company's press release: Two Baxter International Inc. manufacturing facilities are being recognized with the 2007 Shingo Prize for Excellence in Manufacturing. Baxter's North Cove facility in Marion, North Carolina and Cuernavaca facility in Morelos, Mexico are being honored for their achievements in driving higher quality and improvements in productivity, manufacturing cycle time and customer lead time. For nearly 20 years, the Shingo Prize for Excellence in Manufacturing has honored businesses and researchers who have demonstrated outstanding achievements in manufacturing and the supporting business processes that lead to outstanding quality, cost, delivery and business results. Named in honor of Dr. Shigeo Shingo, the renowned engineer who helped create the highly regarded Toyota Production System, the annual Shingo Prize for Excellence in Manufacturing is administered by the College of Business, Utah State University. Since winning the Shingo Prize in 2000, employees at Baxter's North Cove facility expanded their focus on implementing a lean enterprise through Baxter's quality leadership process beyond just manufacturing operations to ensure integration across the entire value stream. Every day, leaders and team members are challenged to remove waste not just from individual processes or departments, but also within the value streams connecting these processes. Every employee in the facility is a member of a quality improvement team. Approximately 2,100 employees at the 1.4 million square foot plant produce hundreds of different intravenous and peritoneal dialysis solutions, as well as empty containers and component parts for other Baxter facilities. The facility supplies finished goods used in 59 countries globally, and component parts to other Baxter manufacturing facilities located in 27 countries. "Through our disciplined approach, we have remained the market leader and have continued to improve product quality and delivery and reduce manufacturing cycle time, year after year, for more than 34 consecutive years," said Tony Johnson, plant manager of Baxter's North Cove facility. "Continuous improvement and a relentless winning spirit are built into our collective DNA at the North Cove facility." Comparatively, Baxter's Cuernavaca facility in Morelos, Mexico is a relative newcomer to lean principles, but has quickly and dramatically driven improvement in quality and productivity through employee training, development and engagement, as well as process standardization. Within only two years, the 1,400 employees at the Cuernavaca facility have increased overall productivity by 140 percent and have achieved nearly a 60 percent improvement in manufacturing cycle time. "Our objective is to add value to our customers by improving our processes, being more responsive and reducing waste," said Alejandro Ochoa, general manager of Baxter's Cuernavaca facility. "Not only does this benefit our customers, it helps our team members continuously grow by strengthening their existing skills and developing new ones." The facilities will receive their awards at the Annual Shingo Prize Conference, to be held in Jacksonville, Florida on March 29, 2007.