On the behalf of Doucet Machineries, we would like to congratulate New England Casket Company, East Boston MA for receiving the Wooden Globe Award – Commitment to Excellence through Technology given by the WMIA during the Woodworking Industry Conference.
Left to right: Mr. Pascal Doucet from Doucet Machineries Inc. and Mr. Lou Tobia Jr. from New England Casket
Doucet Machineries is very proud to be a business partner of New England Casket Company and have contributed to its success.
New England Casket Company is operating in its present location since the late 40s. Louis Tobia, Sr. succeeded his father in the early 1960’s and now Louis Tobia, Jr. is the third generation of the family to lead the New England Casket Company. This company takes great pride to efficiently manufacture its product in Boston area, with a team of 62 dedicated employees. The team can build up to 60 caskets per shift. The word "efficiently" is a strong word for their team, when you consider they are manufacturing products into a 1900s building split on three level floors with elevators. For many of us, that would be an impossible everyday challenge to manage for inventory and in-process components, but not for them.
When you are building casket for over 77 years through three generations of the family, you know what you are talking about when manufacturing casket. The casket manufacturing business may look simple at first look, but in reality it is much more complex than it sounds. It requires dedicated equipment for specific tasks with odd shapes piece of wood, like a specific radius curved laminated blank cover that would eventually get cut with miter saw, glued with a part called fishtail and sanded again in a world where a wide belt sander is useless.
Mr. Tobia bought some machines in the last few years to help his manufacturing process. It turns out that many other members in the room have helped New England Casket Company to increase their efficiency: In conjunction with others, the machinery made by Doucet had a significate impact in achieving today's level of efficiency.
In 2014, New England Casket has pushed the custom equipment challenge a little further by combining multiples operations into the same equipment to make caskets sides in a lean process fashion… Mr. Tobia speaks about his new "toy". For Doucet the objective was to push the "lean manufacturing concept" one more step forward to reduce in process products and be able to react more quickly on production request changes... like any of your clients keep asking every day.
Mr. Tobia also understands the importance of being involved into an association between manufacturers of the same industry. Actually, he is the Immediate Past President of the Casket and Funeral Supply of America.
In conclusion, this lean casket manufacturing process implemented has changed the way casket would be made in the future, not only for New England Casket, but also for other manufacturers in North America. They are shaking the trees of ideas and now the competition is looking at them differently. As a wise business owner kept repeating: "Make sure you stay ahead of competition, shake them by being the first one to make something differently and force your competition to follow your steps… then you know they are already behind you in the race."
The Tobia's family has taken many steps ahead to bring the casket industry into the 21st century.