Saint-Gobain Abrasives' Diamond Tool Plant Wins Best Practices Honors; Saint-Gobain Diamond Tools' Facility Awarded Manufacturing Leadership Award

Saint-Gobain Abrasives' Arden diamond tool plant has been recognized for its Kaizan continuous improvement program and manufacturing practices by the Asheville, North Carolina Chamber of Commerce.

The Arden, North Carolina plant is a maker of reverse plated diamond dressing rolls and stationary dressing tools that are sold under the Norton, Universal and Winter brand names to manufacturing plants located in the United States and are exported worldwide.
The award program recognizes manufacturers who make significant improvements to their operation and evaluate customer and market focus, quality measurement, human resource focus, process management and business results. One of the major improvements the Arden facility demonstrated is a 50% reduction in lead-times. As a result, the Saint-Gobain Abrasives' plant was awarded the Best Overall practices for a medium size plant. The Arden facility employs about 80 people.

In addition to winning the local award, the Saint-Gobain Abrasives' facility, was recently certified to the new ISO9001:2000 standard. The plant had been ISO9001-1994 certified since 1998.

"The company has definitely benefited from using this international standard as a guideline for establishing our business operating systems," says Bob Owen, operations manager for the Arden facility. "Over the past year, we've seized the opportunity to review our systems, not just for compliance, but also for efficiency and effectiveness. These reviews have resulted in changes to many system procedures by constantly challenging everything we do. Our focus has not been to simply comply with the standard, but to design systems that effectively and efficiently meet our needs, and the needs of our customers."

Saint-Gobain Abrasives is a division of Compagnie de Saint-Gobain. Saint-Gobain, one of the top 100 industrial companies in the world, is a leading producer of abrasives, building materials, flat glass, insulation, reinforcements, packaging, pipe, ceramics and high-performance plastics. Headquartered in Paris, Saint-Gobain's annual sales approximate $28.6 billion. The company has more than 173,000 employees in 47 countries. In the U.S. and Canada, Saint-Gobain employs about 26,700 people, and has 195 manufacturing locations. Its total U.S. and Canada sales in 2002 were $6.4 billion. Saint-Gobain's web site is

600450 Saint-Gobain Abrasives' Diamond Tool Plant Wins Best Practices Honors; Saint-Gobain Diamond Tools' Facility Awarded Manufacturing Leadership Award
Date: 4 December 2003

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