Marsh Plating Takes on Growth, Expansion

The ability to manage business growth and thrive is one reason Marsh Plating earned its Products Finishing Top Shops status and special recognition in the business strategy category.


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Running a plating business is no easy task. Operating two is a bigger challenge. When you get to three or more, you might want to call Matt and Mitch Marsh of Marsh Plating in Ypsilanti, Michigan, and ask their opinion.

Marsh Plating is the parent company behind four separate finishing operations, three in Michigan and one in North Carolina. Besides the original plating operation known as Marsh Plating, the company owns:

  • Finishing Services in Michigan, providing electroless nickel, tin, zinc alloy, and zinc phosphate coatings, as well as cleaning and pickling services, 
  • Piedmont Plating in Greensboro, North Carolina, providing zinc and zinc alloy coatings and
  • Marsh Plating - Willow Run in Michigan, opened near the main facility to help with additional capacity.


“It’s a challenge to have several locations, but it has allowed us to meet our customers growing needs,” says Matt Marsh, president of Marsh Plating and Piedmont Plating. Mitch serves as president of Finishing Services and Marsh Plating - Willow Run.

The ability to manage business growth and thrive is one reason Marsh Plating earned its Products Finishing Top Shops status and special recognition in the business strategy category.

On-Time and First-Pass

Overall, Marsh averaged 99-percent on-time delivery and over 99-percent first-pass yield quality for customers. With almost 160 active customers, the company was able to keep nearly all of them year-over-year.

Matt and Mitch are the third generation of Marshes to own the company, taking over for their father, Dave, in the 1990s who took over for his father, who formed the company in 1959. It was originally based out of the old Tucker Automobile plant producing small volumes of zinc, cadmium, copper and phosphate coatings in two manually operated barrel lines.

The company grew rapidly in the 1960s and 1970s, which forced them to start Finishing Services in 1975 to add capacity. They had zinc and manganese phosphate coating lines, but quickly added copper, nickel, tin, electroless nickel, dip spin and 3M mechanical coatings.

In 2008, one of Marsh’s top customers asked them to open an operation in North Carolina, and Piedmont Plating was born.

“It was really a great opportunity to grow with one of our customers,” Matt says. “It also gave us a presence in the Southeastern U.S., which was an added benefit.”

Modern Facility

It came with risks, though. As Marsh was growing in Michigan and making improvements to those facilities, the company was also building out the Piedmont plant. Overall, more than $10 million was spent on the modernization of existing equipment, installation of new equipment and the launch of the new facility.

“The key to making it work was setting up the same systems at all of our plants. It has allowed our staff to support multiple facilities with little or no need for retraining. We all follow the same business model,” Matt says. “It’s a huge commitment, but once you get the basic structure in place and everyone up to speed, it starts to flow pretty well.”

One of the reasons for Marsh’s success has been the company’s ability to understand customer needs and then quickly adapt to meet those demands.

“We try to learn very fast what a customer assigns value to, whether it is quick turnaround, special handing, part aesthetics or engineering support,” Matt says. “We learn what drives the customer, and then we develop a solution to meet their needs. It’s a model that has worked well for us.”

Combined, Marsh Plating, Finishing Services and Piedmont Plating employ over 150 and have annual sales over $20 million. The three facilities total more than 200,000 square feet of plating operations and house 13 automatic plating lines capable of producing nearly all high-volume coatings.

In Good Hands

The Marsh Plating - Willow Run facility was just added to handle additional capacity.

“We looked at expanding or main facility footprint, but determined it was better for us to buy a plant and move in rather than build,” Matt says. “It’s only four miles from our main plant, which has helped to minimize many of the challenges typically associated with opening a new facility.”

But Matt and Mitch have discovered that just like any business owners with multiple locations, they can only be in one location at a time.

“The challenge of operating multiple facilities has taught us to delegate more and empower our employees,” Matt says. “We are fortunate to work with a very talented group of people who are committed to continual improvement and providing our customers with the best possible service. When we are unable to be onsite we know things are in extremely good hands.”   

Marsh Plating | 734-483-2980 | marshplating.com

For a full list of this year's Top Shops, click here



Originally published in the April 2017 issue.