Who best than to get advice from your peers?

That is what we have done in the December issue of FinishingAndCoating.com, where we highlight some of the best “Tips, Tricks, and Ideas” from some of the top finishing and coating operations we interviewed in 2022.

Last year we called it the “Secret Sauce,” where we asked several finishers and coaters what their top 3 tips and ideas on running their shops more effectively were. This year, we asked several more shops to share their ideas on a few philosophies they use to run a more efficient and profitable shop.

You will find these nuggets of information starting on page 24 of this issue. Some have to do with how to handle employees, customers, and just a total philosophy of running a business.

“As a Leader, you need to have the persistence to lead by placing an expectation at every point and turn of every day,” says Larry Dietz, General Manager of Professional Plating, Brillion, WI. “The Leader must believe that 24/7. You do not need to be thinking about it or stressing over it – but you have to believe it full-time.”

Dave Kasper, President of Accurate Coating in Grand Rapids, MI, says that small jobs often lead to big jobs.

“Fielding requests like it could be a big job, while only small is how relationships usually begin,” he says. “The initial contact is important to present solutions that you can bring to the table so they can understand them and how it compares to the other alternatives they will be researching. The more you educate them, the more they will remember you.”

Bill Knape, President of Knape Industries in Rockford, MI, suggests treating your customers and your employees as best you can and better than you expect to be treated. 

“Know what they need and want and try to give them what they want but be sure to give them what they need,” Knape says. “When you can do something that really helps them out, you should do it.”

Elliott Blackwelder, President of Seminole Metal Finishing in Altamonte Springs, FL, advises you don’t try to be everything to everybody when offering your shop’s services.

“Pick the processes you are great at and focus on them,” he says. “Don’t try to chase the ‘fast buck’ by telling your customer that you can do something that you can’t. Getting into too many smaller processes eats into your time and profit and causes unnecessary headaches.”

Jaime Maliszewski, President of Reliable Plating Works and Elite Finishing in Milwaukee, WI, gives this idea when things get tough: Keep your Faith.

“You cannot control every aspect of your business,” he says. “There are so many things outside of your control, economy, weather, illness, regulations, etc., that you need to keep your faith in God and know that as long as you keep working toward your goals, something will help get you through the tough times. This allows you to stay focused on critical issues and stay more relaxed. It also helps you sleep at night.”

We could not agree more, and I very much appreciate these owners sharing their ideas with others. It is all advice well worth taking.

Tim Pennington, Editor-in-chief

TPennington 3Tim Pennington is Editor-in-Chief of Finishing and Coating, and has covered the industry since 2010. He has traveled extensively throughout North America visiting shops and production facilities, and meeting those who work in the industry. Tim began his career in the newspaper industry, then wound itself between the sports field with the PGA Tour and marketing and communications firms, and finally back into the publishing world in the finishing and coating sector. If you want to reach Tim, just go here.

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