The U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center at Picatinny Arsenal received the Shingo Bronze Medallion for Operational Excellence May 3 at the 2012 Shingo Prize International Conference.

Dr. Gerardo Melendez, ARDEC director, and a team of representatives from ARDEC accepted the award on behalf of the workforce.

"At ARDEC, we recognize what many in this room have come to appreciate: that awards and recognition are warranted sources of pride, but they are not the end game," Melendez said during the acceptance speech. "Our endgame is to achieve undisputed success in our mission, to empower, unburden and protect the warfighter by providing superior armaments solutions that dominate the battlefield.

"This achievement is yet another milestone in ARDEC's journey of continuous improvement. This provides a reminder to us all that we have an opportunity to improve even further," Melendez added.

ARDEC demonstrated to the examiners how it delivers effective and affordable technology by applying lean tools.

These processes affect systems across its product development. ARDEC also showed how enacting lean principles to financial and administrative processes achieved visible and lasting improvements that resulted in the rapid development and delivery of cutting-edge armaments technology solutions that save Soldiers' lives.

Robert Miller, Singo's Executive Director, put ARDEC's achievement in perspective.

"ARDEC is the non-manufacturing benchmark for the Shingo transformational model," he said.

Bruce Hamilton, a member of the Shingo board of directors and long-time examiner of more than 20 years, added his own praise.

"For the ARDEC enterprise, as a group of over 3,800 strong operating at three locations, to garner Shingo recognition is a great accomplishment," said Hamilton.

Ellen Haveman, a management analyst and long time ARDEC employee, credited the ARDEC culture as instrumental to their recognition as an organization of excellence by the Shingo board.

"ARDEC's willingness to continually challenge itself to achieve better ways of doing business and serving our warfighters inspires the workforce to do their very best, and makes working at ARDEC a very rewarding experience," Haveman said.

Founded in 1988, the Shingo Prize for Operational Excellence is named after Shigeo Shingo.

He distinguished himself as one of the world's thought leaders in concepts, management systems and improvement techniques that have become known as the Toyota Business System, a system that focuses on ever-increasing quality and productivity.

Today, the Shingo prize is known worldwide as the gold standard for increasing productivity and quality.