• Joe Rizzo. Director of the New England Lean

Recap: Lean Leaders Meeting at E. A. Dion, June 6, 2019

Lean Leaders Meeting at E. A. Dion, June 6, 2019

For over 50 years, E.A. Dion, Inc. has been a proud manufacturer of creative custom jewelry solutions for recognition, promotion and motivation. The New England Lean Consortium held its June 2019 Lean Leaders Meeting at E. A. Dion in Attleboro, MA, on Thursday, June 6th. E. A. Dion is a designer and manufacturer of recognition, promotion and motivation jewelry.

This was the third Lean Leaders Meeting held at E. A. Dion. Each and every time we come to E. A. Dion, we see significant improvements from the previous meeting.

This time was no different.

As part of the company presentation, Roland Dion, Vice President of Manufacturing, talked about how the manufacturing process used to be a “Spoke and Hub” type process where all the peripheral process steps came into Inspection and back out to the next process step, a very time consuming and labor intensive process. With the help of Dave Hess of the Massachusetts MEP, E. A. Dion made each of the operators responsible for the quality of their own work. After all, the manufacturing people were all artisans and long term employees who took pride in their work. As such, they were the experts in the quality of the finished product.

After the company presentation, the groups went on a plant tour of the facility. Some things that stood out on the tour were the cleanliness of the facility, the numerous visuals throughout the plant and the organization in each of the areas.

There was a large group of twenty three attendees at the meeting, which were then split into three groups. I was in the group that started the plant tour in Shipping, the preferred way of conducting a plant tour, from the Shipping dock to the Receiving Dock. The operator in Shipping talked about the many improvements that she had made over the past year. The Shipping area was clean, well-organized and had many visuals for shipping supplies and shipper designations.

The next stop on the tour, was the Packaging Department. The work orders for each order were color coded for the week of the month that the product had to be shipped. This system set the work priorities for the people in the packaging department. Below is the Parts Market for packaging which contained supplies for the packaging department and operated on a Kanban system.

The next stop was the casting department for rings and other jewelry. The operator in the area, Vin, explained the color code system for all the metals that are used to make the jewelry. The color coding system also extended into the die cast process itself. There were many visuals in the casting area to insure the proper materials were being used, and the proper process for each of the materials was followed.

In the stamping department, all the raw material coils were well organized by type of material, width of the material, and the thickness of the material. There was a relatively small super market of the various circular, oval and rectangular pieces used to make the various pins. The supermarket was organized as a Kanban system and the parts were replenished as demand emptied one of the two bins. The stamping machine contains a die which imprints the various logos, words and sayings on the pin. A blank piece is inserted into the machine. The operator activates the machine with a fail-safe two button system. There are light curtains around each of the machines to prevent accidents.

The next stop on the tour was the two Rhumb Lines. A Rhumb line is a sailing term which in a non-technical definition means sailing in a straight line. The Rhumb lines are two automated lines for the manufacture of jewelry. Each process step is on a scissor cart with wheels to provide the flexibility in setting up the lines for each of the different types of product they can produce.

E. A. Dion is one of the best companies for engaging the workforce. They have a mini-kaizen program which encourages the operators to generate improving ideas and then implement them. E. A. Dion has an Operational Excellence Board on which are posted the E. A. Dion versions of A3s.

The Company also posts the comments that they receive from their customers. The employees at E. A. Dion take a lot of pride in their work and they appreciate the favorable comments that are received from their customers.

Above is the E. A. Dion version of a QDIP Gemba Board. The Board is visited by the management team each day and problems and issues are addressed at that time.

E. A. Dion treats all their employees as family members and has a strong interest in their health and wellness. A Wellness Board contains a lot of hints, articles and suggestions for remaining healthy and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

A lively Plus/Delta feedback session was held after the tour. Many Pluses were highlighted by the attendees as an indication of all the things that they saw and liked. Many Deltas, or improving ideas were also highlighted by the attendees. The Plus/Delta session is an integral part of each Lean Leaders Meeting. The host company appreciates all the Pluses as encouragement to continue on the progress that they have already made. The Improving ideas are a reward for the host company for hosting the meeting.