Top Shops: Moen Meets Own High Expectations

Despite challenges, captive shop resolves issues and meets demands of the market through communication and line upgrades.
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Being a captive plating shop has its own set of challenges.

“As a captive shop, we only have one customer and it is ourselves,” says Jim Romine, senior manufacturing engineer for the finishing division at faucet and fixtures maker Moen in Sanford, North Carolina.

“The communication around our expectations should be easier and more direct, and most of the time that is the case,” Romine says. “But we also are very familiar with our own set of performance measurements, and we have the ability to have a discussion about specific quality or delivery issues here onsite, so we can very quickly resolve them without affecting customer service.”

Moen finished amongst the top captive shops in the Products Finishing Top Shops Benchmarking Survey, along with Allegion, JAC Products, Johanson Manufacturing, Kenall, Moog, Southco, Teikuro and Western Extrusions

Moen produces components for kitchen and bath plumbing products, and processes at its facility include plastic molding, screw machining, degreasing, brazing, brite dipping, buffing, die casting and finishing that includes plating and powder coating, copper-nickel-chrome plating and physical vapor deposition.

“The flip side, though, is that we are probably tougher on ourselves than we are on our outside suppliers,” Romine says. “Since we have more control and quicker response times, we expect a higher level of performance.”

Romine says that recent improvements include upgrading the controls systems on plating lines so that the company can network its lines and provide remote access and visibility, making troubleshooting easier and faster.

Moen has also updated its chemical process control software, bringing better visibility of the analytical data to more desktops, and helping foresee and prevent process issues.

“We are investing in our people,” Romine says. “We’re doing extensive safety training throughout the facility to help us become a safer place to work. We’re investing in our Finishing Engineering group through the educational programs offered by the NASF. We now have three CEFs, one CEF II and one MSF onsite. This gives us a tremendous advantage when it comes to troubleshooting and improving our processes.”

Moen has also repurposed two of its lines to better address the demands of the market.

“The plumbing business is not just a bright chrome world anymore,” Romine says. “We have invested time, money and engineering resources into developing new finishes and creating the capacity to produce them in large volume. We are continuing to investigate new and different chemistries, processes and finishes to keep us at the front of the market. That never stops.”

For more information, visit moen.com.


Originally published in the April 2016 issue.


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