Business & Society

Shingo Prize Awarded Escondida | BHP in Chile for Organizational Excellence

LOGAN, Utah — The Shingo Institute, a program in the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University, has awarded its most prestigious honor, the Shingo Prize, to Cathodes, Escondida | BHP, Antofagasta, Chile.

“Receipt of the Shingo Prize is a worldwide recognized symbol of an organization’s successful establishment of a culture anchored on principles of enterprise excellence, such as respect for every individual, leading with humility, quality at the source, the quest for perfection, and creating value for the customer,” said Ken Snyder, executive director of the Shingo Institute. “Ultimately, these recipients are in a class of the best organizations in the world, regardless of industry or country.”

“Escondida is honored to receive this award, which represents the work of thousands of people who strive to achieve continuous improvement. In our asset, we work under an operating model that allows us to create a culture in which each person makes the best of their experience and skills to improve day by day,” said Escondida | BHP President James Whittaker. He added “currently in our operation, the workers are the true protagonists. They contribute to achieving operational excellence in various areas such as safety, productivity and culture, all of which lead to projecting ourselves in the future in a sustainable manner. The evaluation of our Cathodes area and the subsequent Shingo Prize award recognizes this way of working and inspires us to follow the path of continuous improvement.”

BHP started its activities in Chile in 1981 with the discovery of Escondida, located in the Antofagasta Region in Chile. It is the world’s largest copper producer and employs more than 3,600 direct workers and 10,000 contractors. Escondida’s main products are copper concentrate and cathodes.

The Cathodes business unit — which participated in the Shingo Prize challenge — was inaugurated in 1998 with its Electrowinning plant located at the Escondida mine site. It has a staff of approximately 1,100 people. As copper producers, the site is focused on obtaining the highest quality cathodes possible and has achieved 99.99% copper purity. The BHP Operating System (BOS) deployed at Cathodes, Escondida | BHP is the site’s system for making improvement part of its daily activities. BOS is based on 14 interconnected practices that lay the foundations of BHP’s way of thinking and working. The system is inspired by the principles of the Shingo Model.

Yoni Alberca, Electrowinning plant operator at BHP Cathodes, said, “This prize reflects the work of each of us. Initially, it seemed like an impossible dream, but with the help of the BOS operating system team and the faith of our leaders, we managed to break the paradigm of what is impossible.”

By challenging, or applying for Shingo recognition, organizations invite a group of accomplished professionals and 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.

Representatives of Cathodes, Escondida | BHP will be recognized as a Shingo Prize recipient during the Shingo Institute’s Awards Gala at the 35th Annual Shingo Conference on May 23-24, 2023, in Provo, Utah, USA. To learn more about the event, please visit

The annual conference is designed to provide ongoing knowledge, insights and experience for organizations in their pursuit of operational excellence. The conference will feature keynotes and interactive breakout sessions. Attendees will also have the option to add pre- and post-conference workshops and company tours to their agenda.

About the Shingo Institute

The Shingo Institute is home of the Shingo Prize, an award that recognizes organizations that demonstrate an exceptional culture that fosters continuous improvement. A program in the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University, the Shingo Institute is named after Japanese industrial engineer and Toyota adviser Shigeo Shingo. Shingo distinguished himself as one of the world’s thought leaders in concepts, management systems, and improvement techniques that have become known as the Toyota Production System.

Drawing from Shingo’s teachings and years of experience working with organizations worldwide, the Shingo Institute developed the Shingo Model, which is the basis for its several educational offerings, including workshops, webinars, podcasts, study tours and conferences. Workshops are available in multiple languages through the Institute’s licensed affiliates. For more information on workshops and affiliates, or to register to attend the Annual Shingo Conference, please visit

Escondida | BHP, recipient of the Shingo Prize, produces copper and focuses on obtaining the highest quality cathodes possible. They have achieved 99.99% copper purity.


Mary Price
Events and Marketing Manager
Shingo Institute


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