Kaser Blasting & Coatings (Lincoln, Neb.) is a subsidiary of Kaser Painting Inc., a commercial and residential painting contractor also based in Lincoln, Nebraska. Founders Jay and Shari Kaser have run these businesses as a team for over thirty years, adding their son Jase Kaser as a general manager for Kaser Blasting & Coatings several years ago. Kaser Blasting & Coatings conducts its work in enclosed climate-controlled booths inside its two-building, 22,000 square-foot space. Products Finishing interviewed the younger Kaser to hear how he and his family’s company are thriving as an independent, family-owned business.
PF: Kaiser Blasting & Coating grew out of a family-owned painting company and continued expanding. Can you give us the background story? How did your division get its start?
JK: Shortly before their wedding day in 1987, my parents put up my mother’s grey Honda Prelude as collateral, took out a small business loan and ventured into the business of residential painting. Just like that, Kaser Painting Inc. was formed.
Two and a half decades later, with Kaser Painting nearing the top of its game, my father made the decision to expand the business into abrasive blasting and high-performance liquid painting. My family purchased the 10,000 square-foot building adjacent to the main office and acquired new equipment, and Kaser Blasting & Coatings made its debut in 2005. In 2014, Kaser Blasting & Coatings added powder coating to its services.
PF: Tell me about your division’s capabilities.
JK: The Kaser Blasting & Coatings campus features two buildings, totaling 22,000 square feet of indoor workspace. My team is lean (8 full-time shop employees, 2 seasonal shop helpers and 3 operations staff) and highly talented. We offer abrasive media blasting, pretreatment, liquid coating and powder coating services. With two wash bays and two ovens (the larger of which measures 12 feet by 14 feet by 30 feet), we have yet to encounter a powder coating project that’s too big for us.
PF: How did you get your start in the business?
JK: I worked in the Kaser Painting shop and the Blasting shop during summers while I was in high school. I also helped install our powder coating equipment during the summer of 2014, just before my senior year of college. After graduating in the summer of 2015, I started working full time.
PF: What sets Kaser Blasting & Coatings apart from other operations?
JK: In 1987, my parents saw a need in Lincoln and filled it. Their hard work and attention to detail created a lot of customer confidence in the Kaser brand. Since 2014, I’ve worked hard to continue that legacy of excellence. A good product speaks for itself, and that’s the reason Kaser customers keep coming back.
PF: What are the company’s core values?
JK: Kaser Blasting & Coatings’ mission is to solve all our customers’ problems pertaining to blasting and coatings. We do this by putting quality above all else, bringing solutions to our customers instead of problems and consistently improving our services.
PF: You emphasize process consistency in many of your blog posts.. Can you speak to why that’s so important?
JK: Small businesses don’t have the luxury of a large rework budget. We have to make sure the majority of parts come out perfectly the first time around, not only for the sake of our operations, but also because that’s what customers have come to expect of us. Thoughtful, tried-and-true processes help us accomplish that goal every day. A good process removes uncertainty and guesswork, and frees up my team to focus on what they do best: blasting and coating large orders with reliable results.
PF: How do you manage turnaround time for your projects?
JK: We do our scheduling via spreadsheets. We typically schedule on a first-come, first-serve basis, but we do have regular customers that have permanent time slots on our schedule. When we get very busy and lead times go up, we do our best to prioritize the most important projects. I’ve found the best way to schedule is to communicate with our customers. If everyone is on the same page, we can usually get a good outcome for both parties.
PF: How do you approach quality control?
JK: Our floor managers are in charge of quality control processes. The goal is to quality control parts after the pretreatment process, after the spray process before cure, and after curing. Our two main concerns are corrosion protection and aesthetics. So we check for the proper film thickness as well as overall looks.
PF: Describe your managing style. How do you motivate your team?
JK: I see my primary role as a remover of obstacles. Like most small business managers, I’m very involved in daily operations (running the forklift as needed, filling in for sick employees, etc.), but my main responsibility is to ensure my team can spend as much time as possible doing the jobs for which they were hired. In order for that to happen, I have to manage the schedule, handle shipping and receiving and ensure there is a steady stream of parts available to work on each day. The logistics are endless, but it’s worth it: the more projects I can put in my team’s strike zone, the happier everyone will be.
PF: What do you see as the key to being successful in this industry?
JK: I think you have to be willing to evolve. We’ve outgrown, re-evaluated and expanded our own equipment several times in six years. After working exclusively with metal since 2014, we’re now looking at the possibility of powder coating wood and other non-metal substrates. There are new coating products being released every day, new blast media to consider, new trends to dissect — the landscape changes daily, and if you’re afraid of change, you’ll get left behind.
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