Competing to Be the Best Electroplating Shop

A competitive nature drives many Products Finishing Top Shops Benchmarking Survey participants to want to be considered in the elite 80th percentile.


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It’s not a competition, I keep telling myself and those who take part in the Products Finishing Top Shops Benchmarking Survey each year. Benchmarking is a bona fide business improvement process, one that has had incredible success whenever it’s done right and used properly. There are no winners or losers, only opportunities to improve productivity and increase margins.

Yet, even as I go blue in the face saying that, we are all competitive. It is a natural reaction to want to be the best, produce the best and take part in something that is recognized as exemplary. There were hundreds of electroplating shops taking part in this year’s Products Finishing Top Shops Benchmarking Survey. As we announce the results (and the customized reports on how your shop fared are in the mail), I know that many survey participants want to be considered a Top Shop, one of those in the elite 80th percentile of overall results.

In this issue, we let you know the 50 shops that have been designated Products Finishing’s Top Shops for 2019. It doesn’t mean the other hundreds of shops who took part in the survey aren’t deserving of recognition. Rather, it’s a way to let those who get their survey results back know who they are comparing their Top Shop numbers against, which I believe is fair. “I think plating shops are getting better and better, so being in the Top Shops is harder to achieve,” says Rick Hunter with A.M. Metal Finishing in Orlando.

He’s right. The number goes up every year, and shop owners are getting more sophisticated in how they run their operations. They all want to measure up, which is a good thing for the industry if everyone is striving to be on top of their game.

When I let the shops who made the cut in the top 50 know of their designation, it’s always great to get their reaction to being named a Products Finishing Top Shop.

“It’s confirmation to our team members that, collectively, they are being rewarded for the pride they have in their work and a job well done,” says Dan Rose, president of Elite Metal Finishing in Oceanside, California. “To be named a Top Shop is an honor and a reflection of how dedicated and hardworking our team is,” says Nolan Hannon, president of Armoloy in Dekalb, Illinois. “I’m incredibly proud of everyone here for the improvements we’ve realized over the previous two years. It’s fantastic to receive some recognition for all of the effort.”

Hannon’s business partner and co-owner, Jacob Meier, says there’s still a lot of work to be done. “Nothing happens overnight,” he says. “But we’ll be having a celebratory lunch as we did last year as a thank you to all the employees, and making shirts celebrating 50 years in business with the Top Shops logo included in the design.”

Charles Dunham, president of Green Bay Anodizing, says the recognition is an important part of their annual goals. “It shows our customers and potential customer base that we put a lot of thought and care into their orders,” he says. “We may not have the footprint of some larger competitors, but our focus has always been customer focused and quality driven. When a company has so many anodizing solutions to choose from, we believe the Top Shops program puts Green Bay Anodizing at the top of the short list.”

Bob Pyle, president of Pioneer Plating in Wisconsin, says being named a Top Shop is a recognition of the work and effort by their teams to provide exceptional metal finishing services to customers. “The investments we make in our company, both operational and cultural, as well as the time we commit to training and development are a major emphasis for Pioneer,” he says. “The Top Shop award is a recognition that this work is effective.”

Alan Henry, president of ChromeTech in Wisconsin, says he was excited to hear his shop earned the honor, especially when he heard it during a week of brutal weather up north. “For all the days at -20°F, everyone showed up for all three shifts,” he says. “That is dedication, and exemplifies why they are important.”

I told Jeff Smith, president of Electro-Spec in Franklin, Indiana, of his shop’s designation at the end of a busy and stressful week in January. “Awesome news to get on a Friday,” was his response. “With this honor and all that we have planned for this year, it is a great way to kick off 2019.”

Others were just genuinely excited to share the news.

“It is terrific news, and I’m looking forward to sharing it with the entire team,” says Michael Feldstein, president and director of innovation at Surface Technology in Ewing, New Jersey. “This is a huge honor for us,” says Tyler Thomas, vice president and general manager of Technical Plating in Minneapolis.

Others were very complimentary of what the survey does for their shop, and for all surface finishers who clock in every day trying to get better and make one dollar more.

“We really appreciate what this survey does for our industry,” says Jaime Maliszewski, president of RPW and Elite Finishing in Milwaukee.

Thanks to everyone who took the time to complete the survey and share data anonymously for others to compare. You’re all winners to us. 


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