The Shingo Prize for Operational Excellence

The Shingo Institute, part of the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University, announced Merit Medical Tijuana as the recipient of the globally distinguished Shingo Prize. This award is the Shingo Institute’s most prestigious award to recognize companies that demonstrate a broad application of lean principles across core business processes and a leadership commitment to build and sustain a culture of continuous improvement and business excellence. “Ultimately, these recipients are in a class of the best organizations in the world, regardless of industry or country,” says Ken Snyder, Executive Director at the Shingo Institute.


Merit Medical Tijuana Employees standing in M formation

Challenging for the Shingo Prize

By “challenging” or applying for Shingo recognition, organizations invite a group of accomplished professionals and trained examiners to thoroughly review their culture and operations. The examiners evaluate the challengers based on a rigorous set of standards and the Shingo Institute awards the organizations according to their assessment results. Here are some of the assessment results, the Shingo Institute found from a three year period about Merit Medical Tijuana.


Merit Medical Tijuana infographic

Merit’s Culture and the Shingo Guiding Principles

“Ultimately, we are seeking perfection, through systems that dictate behavior, drive performance and eliminate variations. This allows Merit Tijuana to manufacture the highest quality products, delivered on-time with little or no variation,” says Carlos Santos, Managing Director of Latin America Operations. “When we designed our structure, the way we employ people, the way we train, all our manufacturing processes, were all designed to be able to comply with the Shingo Guiding Principles,” such as respect for every individual, leading with humility, quality at the source, the quest for perfection, and creating value for the customer.

“The culture Merit has embedded since the beginning, of always taking care of people, always looking into the details, seeking perfection in all areas, focusing on the employee’s needs and achieving the right results through the right behaviors. Right now to receive the Shingo Prize, it’s really how we recognize the culture that Merit already has,” says Ricardo Alvarez, Operations Director of Merit Medical Tijuana. “For us, it’s just the way we look towards perfection.”



All of Merit’s Futura scalpels are manufactured at Merit Medical Tijuana, alongside 29 other product lines.

Overview of Merit Medical Tijuana

Employees: 900
Product Lines: 30
Facility Size: 265,000 sq. ft
Cleanrooms: Class 100,000
Capabilities: Injection Molding, Insert Molding, Catheter Assembly, Ultra Sonic Welding, RF Welding, Needle Assembly, Bevel Grinding, UV Bonding, Solvent Bonding, Automated & Manual Cleanroom Assembly, and Product Testing
Certifications: ISO 13485 – BSI extended to include a “Design Control Center” for product development support for OEM customers
CTPAT: Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism

CTPAT and DHS logos

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security certified Merit Medical Tijuana with the CTPAT certification allowing Merit to expedite border crossing.


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