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Baxter's Costa Rica Facility Recognized With Shingo Prize for Excellence in Manufacturing

Baxter's Cartago Plant First to be Awarded Shingo Prize Outside of North


DEERFIELD, Ill., Feb. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Baxter International Inc.'s (NYSE: BAX) manufacturing facility in Cartago, Costa Rica has been recognized with the 2008 Shingo Prize for Operational Excellence. The facility -- the first to be awarded the Shingo Prize outside North America -- is being honored for its achievements in driving higher quality and improvements in productivity, manufacturing cycle time and customer lead-time. In past years, several Baxter facilities have been awarded the Shingo prize, most recently in North Carolina and Mexico in 2007.

Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, The Shingo Prize for Operational Excellence 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 Operational Excellence is administered by the College of Business, Utah State University.

Employees at Baxter's Cartago facility built upon their ongoing focus on operational excellence by implementing a lean enterprise through Baxter's quality leadership process beyond manufacturing operations to ensure integration across the plant's entire value stream. Every day, employees are challenged to identify efficiencies in individual processes, departments and the value streams connecting these processes. With everyone at the facility working as part of a quality improvement team, Baxter Cartago has improved manufacturing cycle time by nearly 65 percent.

Approximately 1,200 employees at the 152,000 square foot Cartago plant produce a range of products, including IV administration sets, along with subassemblies for other Baxter plants. The facility supplies finished goods used in 60 countries globally, and component parts to other Baxter manufacturing facilities located in 10 countries. An industry role model, the facility was the first in Central America to receive both ISO 9002 and ISO 14001 certification and the first Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series (OHSAS) 18001 certified company in the region.

"A disciplined approach has allowed us to continuously improve product quality and delivery and reduce manufacturing cycle time," said Chester Zelaya, plant manager of Baxter's Cartago facility. "Our employees are relentless in their commitment to creating a culture that meets the highest standards of quality and efficiency and this award is a direct result of their hard work."

The facility will receive its award at the Annual Shingo Prize Conference, to be held in Dallas on April 3, 2008.

Baxter International Inc., through its subsidiaries, assists healthcare professionals and their patients with the treatment of complex medical conditions, including cancer, hemophilia, immune disorders, kidney disease and trauma. The company applies its expertise in medical devices, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology to make a meaningful difference in patients' lives.

SOURCE Baxter International Inc.
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