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Manufacturing Success Stories

MassMEP and Facente Mosaic Tile Make the Pieces Fit

Worcester Company Improves Production Process, Identifies Potential for New Business

Facente Mosaic Tile is a small manufacturing company that is constantly looking to expand their work.  Bruce Boguslav, the President of Facente, recognized they would have to reposition themselves as more of a fine art, custom tile manufacturer and create a new niche, now that home improvement stores and tile super stores had dramatically changed the tile manufacturing market.

"We knew there were ways we could improve our process in the shop, which would then allow us to become involved with large projects in the area, but needed a starting point," said Boguslav. "We contacted the Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MassMEP) to help us in our journey.  Lead project manager Joe Rizzo determined an in-depth technology assessment was needed, so they could make some recommendations on what should be addressed in order for us to move forward."

Example Facente Mosaic Tile
Figure 1. Example Facente Mosaic Tile

Facente has patented a unique method of creating ceramic tiles, which gives the look that they are made of individual mosaic pieces. That process made them eligible for funding for their assessment through the MassMEP Innovation Program.  James Gusha of MassMEP then helped the company apply for a Department of Labor H1B grant, which provides matching funds awards from a high skills workforce development grant, in partnership with the Worcester Regional Employment Board.

"This grant helped Facente with the cost of the assessment and other related work," said Gusha. "A subcontractor for the MassMEP was then brought in to do the actual assessment and was able to provide a detailed report of his findings."

"We presented this report to the company and provided them with a working "road map" of some long and short-term improvements that would need to be accomplished," added Rizzo. "The first step was to make some usable work space in the manufacturing area. We spent several days filling up five dumpsters with junk and waste materials, but then Facente was able to eliminate all the clutter, reclaim the space, and identify other areas where processes could be improved."

Time Wise® Value Stream Management Systems mapping exercises helped the company decide what remaining material had a purpose and what was simply clutter and could be eliminated.  A series of 5s Time Wise® Kaizens were also conducted. Time Wise® Kaizen events are short bursts of activity which make small improvements to the facility. The 5S system: sort, set in order, shine, standardize, and sustain help to simplify and organize the work environment.

"The MassMEP team helped us improve every corner of our business. We put up shelving to store supplies, organized our tools, designated a work area with counters so there was a place for the mosaic tiles to be worked on, and enclosed our sanding area in plastic so the dust wouldn’t spread everywhere," said Boguslav. "Now the staff has their break room back and there are separate rooms for sales, a small showroom, and a conference area as well. Allen Knoll, our COO and Production Manager, is using the MassMEP assessment report as a ‘to-do’ list and has gotten through quite a number of items as well."

Example Facente Mosaic Tile
Figure 2. Example Facente Mosaic Tile

Facente is working to develop an innovative glazing method which will be able to be used for other projects and could provide and opportunity for a whole new line of tile products. Facente, artist Robert Volgund, and a local manufacturer are working together to produce these special pieces more efficiently and cost effectively and free up artists to create new artwork. There is potential for an international market for these tiles.

"The MassMEP team did an outstanding job and their desire to help our company be successful was evident in their diligence," said Boguslav. "Through the H1B Innovation Assessment, the MassMEP helped us identify the potential for millions of dollars in business. By becoming involved with large construction projects and commercializing our newly patented process we will see a return ten-fold.  Based on these positive experiences, we will continue to rely on the MassMEP to help us with our next phase of growth and have already begun work with them so they can assist us with another technology assessment, which will help us move forward on an abundance of opportunities."

The MassMEP is an affiliate of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) under the US Department of Commerce. The national MEP system is a network of manufacturing extension centers that provide business and technical assistance to smaller manufacturers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Through MEP, manufacturers have access to more than 2,000 manufacturing and business "coaches" whose job is to help firms make changes that lead to greater productivity, increased profits, and enhanced global competitiveness. For more information, please visit, or phone 1-800-MEP-4MFG.


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