Steelcase Receives Shingo Prize For Manufacturing Excellence

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., Feb. 21 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Steelcase Inc. (NYSE: SCS), a global office environments manufacturer, announced today that its City of Industry (COI), California plant was awarded the Shingo Prize for Manufacturing Excellence by the Board of Governors, who are leading representatives of businesses, professional organizations, and academic institutions. Steelcase is one of ten Business Prize winners.

The Shingo Prize promotes awareness of lean manufacturing concepts, as did the prize's namesake Japanese industrial engineer Shigeo Shingo, one of the world's leading experts in improving manufacturing processes. Known as an "engineering genius," Dr. Shingo helped create and write about many aspects of the revolutionary manufacturing practices which comprise the renowned Toyota Production System.

Steelcase received the Business Prize, which recognizes large and small manufacturing companies that demonstrate excellence in manufacturing practices leading to outstanding customer satisfaction and business results. To receive the award, Steelcase prepared an Achievement Report for its COI plant that detailed key activities and results in each of the following categories: leadership culture and infrastructure; manufacturing strategies and systems integration; non-manufacturing support functions; quality, cost and delivery; and business results.

The COI plant had a unique opportunity in 2000 to implement lean principles from the ground up when they moved from a 1-million-square-foot manufacturing plant in Tustin, Calif., to a new 450,000-square-foot facility. The COI team was able to start with a clean slate and a new lean mindset to make the entire operation inherently lean.

The Steelcase COI plant uses the Steelcase Production System, which is based on the Toyota Production System, to drive lean throughout its operation and improve key business measures.

Through application of the SPS principles, Steelcase has eliminated waste and non-value-added activities, while increasing flow and efficiency within the company's operations. The SPS system also reflects the company's overall vision, mission, strategy, goals and Business Management System, which is a framework for standardizing the corporation's business practices.

    And the results have been dramatic. The plant has:
    * Improved efficiency by 40 percent
    * Reduced cycle time between raw materials and finished goods from 6-8
      days to less than 3.5 hours
    * Improved raw material turns by more than 250 percent
    * Reduced inventory space from 250,000 square feet to 75,000 square feet
    * Reduced paint cycle time from 2.5 hours to 85 minutes or less
    * Reduced floor space for finished goods shipping by over 85 percent

"The plant could not have achieved these results had it not been for the people. They not only adapted to the physical changes that come with lean manufacturing, they have also inherently changed their culture -- which is by far the most difficult part," said Mark Baker, Senior Vice President and Global Operations Officer for Steelcase Inc. "The primary focus of the plant is eliminating waste and involving employees from all levels of the organization in the company's success. Employees have become active participants in helping to improve business results."

James P. Hackett, President and CEO of Steelcase Inc., added, "I am extremely proud of those at every level of the organization who rose to the challenge to make the COI plant a world-class manufacturing facility. This award is a testament to their hard work and dedication to excellence."

The Shingo Prize, established in 1988, recognizes companies in the United States, Canada and Mexico that achieve world-class manufacturing status. According to Shingo Prize philosophy, businesses can achieve world-class performance through focused improvements in core manufacturing and business processes.

Steelcase will be officially recognized at the 18th annual Shingo Prize Conference and Awards Ceremony on April 6, 2006.

About Steelcase Inc.

Steelcase, the global leader in the office furniture industry, helps people have a better work experience by providing products, services and insights into the ways people work. The company designs and manufactures architecture, furniture and technology products. Founded in 1912 and headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Steelcase (NYSE: SCS) serves customers through a network of more than 800 independent dealers and approximately 14,000 employees worldwide. Fiscal 2005 revenue was $2.6 billion. Learn more at

CONTACT: Jeanine Holquist of Steelcase Inc., +1-616-698-3765,
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