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powder coating, liquid coating, finishing industry

Georgia Powder Coating (GPC) of Gainesville, Ga., ranked first in 2020 powder coating operations, points to core values and company culture as keys to its success.  Photo | GPC

Products Finishing has now officially finalized its Top Shops Benchmarking Survey for 2020. The top 50 Electroplating and Anodizing top shops were announced in our April issue and this month we’re announcing the top 50 shops for Liquid and Powder Coating. A lot of work goes into Top Shops every year. The analysts on the Gardner Intelligence team pour over tons of data to determine the rankings and put together the survey results. The Top Shops Benchmarking Survey allows us to give the top performers some recognition, but, more importantly, it offers shops valuable feedback about how they are trending year after year and helps them give context to their performance in the industry. With the customized Top Shops reports, you’re able to compare your shop to others across the country and see how your shop stacks up on key variables. The data you receive can help you identify and prioritize opportunities for the growth and improvement of your business. You can learn more about the program and how to participate by visiting

A wide range of metrics are used to determine the Top Shops, but what I find most interesting is when you actually identify those high-ranking shops and talk to them – almost every shop credits its people and core values as key components of its success. Sure, factors such as productivity, efficiency and delivery times are all hallmarks of a great shop. But, when you take a look at the core values of the best shops out there, at the heart of it all is a commitment to employees and a commitment to customers. The good work practices, on-time deliveries and quality of products all stem from that desire to treat people fairly and deliver on promises. Good shops care about their employees, their customers and the end users of their products. That’s what truly makes them winners.

The manufacturing industries are experiencing a whole host of challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, and coaters and finishers are dealing with their fair share. While many finishers are deemed essential businesses because they provide coatings for parts for the defense or medical sectors, most have still seen some sort of shift in their business. An increase in medical parts may help to offset a downturn in other areas such as automotive, but any such change requires adjusting operations. Supply chains need to be figured out. Workforce is always an important concern and is exacerbated by the constraints put on society by the evolving pandemic.

The Top Shops I talk to are all facing their own unique combinations of these problems, but most of them are still operating. They talk about the measures they are taking to keep their employees safe and healthy – and employed. Many shops have had to implement furloughs, but are focused on the rebound and thinking long term about their businesses and hope to bring those employees back. As you read the profiles in this issue, you’ll notice that the featured Top Shops have plans to expand their businesses and are still hopeful that can happen in light of all that has happened the past few months. Their focus remains on delivering products of good quality on time and taking care of their employees and their customers.

It sounds so simple when you boil things down to those core values. Of course, things are not that simple when it comes to the day-to-day operations, the impacts felt in the supply chain and the evolving risks that workers and employers face. However, the fact is that these Top Shops have all seen ups and downs before. They’ve learned lessons, made adjustments to their business and are constantly working to evolve and grow. Good companies know that change is a constant factor. They accept and embrace it. When things do get hard, they return to those core values – taking care of people, meeting delivery schedules and providing quality products and services. It may never be easy, but the formula is simple.