Processing Your Payment

Please do not leave this page until complete. This can take a few moments.

Updated: April 1, 2024 / 2024 Manufacturing Excellence Awards

Manufacturing awards: Saint-Gobain Abrasives centers innovation and community to promote longevity

A construction worker uses an electric saw to cut stone outside Photo | Courtesy of Saint-Gobain Abrasives A construction worker uses a Saint-Gobain Abrasives product to cut stone.
2024 Manufacturing Excellence Awards
More Information

Looking at the roughly 50 acres making up Saint-Gobain Abrasives’ industrial park in Worcester, it’s hard to imagine the company’s story began with a small startup in 1885, when seven entrepreneurs bought a grinding wheel patent from a local businessman.

Today, Saint-Gobain Abrasives, a subsidiary of the Saint-Gobain Group based in France, employs more than 2,750 employees, with its headquarters in Worcester. The company offers a vast array of abrasive products, from sandpaper and grinding wheels to cutting disks and diamond blades, as well as a selection of machinery and accessories.

Though the company is physically large, Saint-Gobain’s presence in Worcester is that of a sleeping giant, said Melanie Bonsu, Saint-Gobain Abrasives’ community relations manager. Saint-Gobain is an active member of the Worcetser community, looking to financially support local organizations and institutions through grants and partnering initiatives.

“We’re really trying to get out there and work on how we can be a better neighbor and fulfill our mission, which is to make the world a better home. We can’t make the world a better home without making our own neighborhood a better home,” said Bonsu.

Bio box on Saint-Gobain Abrasives, winner of the Overall Manufacturing Excellence award
Saint-Gobain bio box

Additionally, investing in technical skills within the community creates a pipeline of talent for future Saint-Gobain employees, said Muthu Jeevanantham, Saint-Gobain Abrasives general manager for bonded and super abrasives in North America.

Jeevanantham has worked for Saint-Gobain Abrasives for 24 years, and he’s not the only one with such a lengthy tenure. The company has an induction ceremony every year for those hitting the 25-year mark. Jeevanantham credits Saint-Gobain’s retention rates to what he calls healthy business.

“Treating the people well, that’s number one. Not just financially, but taking care of their mental wellbeing, the work environment, and putting their career interests in light and building towards that,” he said.

One way Saint-Gobain works to support its employees' career goals is through extensive training. Notably, its technical sales training program lasts 20 weeks, and its Essentials of Manufacturing Development Program is 18 months long. The company has invested several million dollars into automation to help eliminate strenuous manual labor for its workers.

“The workforce by itself is demanding a more comfortable, less strenuous experience. And the technology is out there, so why not invest in it?” said Jeevanantham.

Saint-Gobain committed in 2019 to carbon neutrality by 2050, and its Worcester headquarters has taken steps to decrease its carbon footprint. In 2022, the company opened a $22.3-million powerhouse, cutting its carbon dioxide emissions in half, a 30,000-ton reduction.

Although the new powerhouse is no slight improvement, achieving carbon neutrality will be a group effort, said Jeevanantham.

“We cannot do it by ourselves. We have to partner with external startup companies, universities, utility companies, and as a collaborative ecosystem, we will get to that for Worcester,” he said.

Sign up for Enews

WBJ Web Partners

Related Content


Order a PDF