Proven Leaders Evolve At KC Jones Plating

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The most significant reason for the success that KC Jones Plating Company in Hazel Park, Michigan has enjoyed over the past 60 years doesn’t have as much to do with the baths and tanks at their sprawling plant as it does with the people who maintain those fixtures.

Leadership is key at KC Jones Plating Company, and its management team works hard to develop good leaders and keep them.

“This is the key to our success in employee retention and advancement,” said Robert Burger, company owner and CEO. “All levels in management are engaged in developing the work force and allowing growth and development.”

KC Jones uses various programs and educational resources from the NASF Education and Training program and university leadership programs, some of which span several months and others as simple as one-hour in house sessions with small group.

“Many of our supervisors and administration have attended Lean Manufacturing and Lean Office Champion Training,” said Brian Harrick, company vice president. “We continuously seek new and effective means to assist our supervisors and line leaders to successfully develop our employees. They are also fully engaged on the employee review process to indicate areas for improvement or areas where employees excel and should further develop their talents.”


The shop has a well-developed apprenticeship program that it uses to often hire and maintain its quality staff. In addition, KC Jones has sent employees to both Harvard and Notre Dame for their management training, and they are sending a third employee this spring to Notre Dame’s Certificate in Executive Education course.

“We hire new team members that have a willingness to learn and promote from within, and we start each employee running our processes and cross train them to learn all processes in the plant,” said Mark Burger, KC Jones Plating’s business development and marketing manager.

The program consists of chemical handling training, process training with a mentor (supervisor or leader), advanced plating education (classroom, webinars, etc.).

“Each employee selected for training or advancement is based upon their interests, skills or performance reviews,” Mark Burger said. “We have a team that is eager to learn and willing to accept new challenges.”

Jeff Stone, vice president of operations, said that KC Jones often coaches its employees with daily plant floor interaction, monthly plant status meetings, smaller group meeting to address issues and improvements, and annual reviews and goals for employees.

“Effectively communicating goals and objectives allows team members to achieve positive results,” he said. “We also coach the team on finishing techniques, problem solving, and time management, which helps remove barriers that may affect their progress.”

KC Jones also has Kaizen events in the plant, 5S projects, lunch meetings and weekend or off-shift enrichment programs to communicate with employees. Every 8-10 years, they also do a complex employee satisfaction survey and interviews through an outside consulting group.

“This assures us that we are on track with making sure that our employees feel they are getting the proper training, leadership, and benefits,” Robert Burger said. “The results guide us in which areas we need to make improvements or changes.

Stone said his management team encourages comments, suggestions and ideas from all levels of the organization.

“We report suggestions to all employees through our newsletter and respond to their ideas,” he said. “We want employees from upper management to basic level entry positions to know they have a voice and their input is important.”


KC Jones Plating Company

2845 East Ten Mile Road

Warren, MI 48091

Phone: 586.755.4900



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