Bright Ideas

Tom Salpietra, president and COO, Eye Lighting International of North America Inc.

Mentor-based Eye Lighting International of North America Inc. attributes its successful adoption of lean manufacturing principles to its relationship with its parent company, Iwasaki Electric Co. Ltd. of Tokyo, Japan.

Led by President and COO Tom Salpietra, Eye Lighting makes high-performance lamps, luminaires and lighting products for the commercial, retail, industrial, utility and specialty lighting markets in North and South America. The company says it subscribes to four guiding principles that provide the framework for its overall strategic direction: a “customer-centric” approach to doing business, an ongoing effort to continuously improve all of its processes, a focus on financial metrics to sustain company growth, and an emphasis on constant enhancement and development of all of its employees’ skill sets.

Eye Lighting holds cross-functional production quality process improvement meetings every two weeks, and two years ago, an external lean manufacturing specialist trained all employees in lean manufacturing principles. In addition, every employee in the factory was cross-trained on every manufacturing job within the plant. Today, employees rotate between various jobs and departments on a daily basis, an approach that the company says helps everyone appreciate how all the various roles interrelate. The constant rotation of duties also fosters an atmosphere of accountability throughout the organization, according to the company.

Eye Lighting’s improved overall efficiency has enabled it to begin expanding its focus into new technologies and product development. The company is developing new products for the horticulture industry and for solar-simulation clean energy, among other new offerings under development.

The company is using the cost savings from improved manufacturing processes to fund new research, development and technology objectives, and Eye Lighting officials say they regard lean manufacturing as the engine that enables it to sustain its success.

HOW TO REACH: Eye Lighting International of North America Inc., (440) 350-7000 or