Finishing Shops Celebrate Top Shops Awards in Unique Ways

Appears in Print as: 'Celebrating the Thrill of Accomplishment'

As we get ready to open the next survey to determine which finishing operations will be crowned the 2019 Products Finishing Top Shops, we look at how previous winners have celebrated the honor.
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It is one of the best scenes in all of sports, the epitome of teamwork and the thrill of victory all wrapped up in one: the moment when the Stanley Cup champions skate around the ice after the win, each player getting his turn to hoist the trophy above his head and enjoy the adulation of fans.

It is said that Detroit Red Wings great Ted Lindsay was the first to do this. The captain of the 1950 Stanley Cup winning team handed him the silver trophy, and Lindsay hoisted it above his head and skated around arena, then passed it off to the next player, who passed it to the next, and so on. Every person who had a hand in winning the championship got a chance to savor the victory.

So I couldn’t help but smile when I saw that ChromeTech did a small variation of the trophy hoist after receiving the Products Finishing Top Shop award last year. In the lobby of the Franklin, Wisconsin, facility are photos of all if its employees, each of them holding the Top Shops medallion in their hands and smiling for the camera.

We had presented the award to Zach Henry, ChromeTech’s production manager, during Sur/Fin last summer. When he returned home to the plant a few days later, his sister and the company’s marketing director, Adrianna, posed each of the company’s shopfloor employees with the award and snapped their photos. Then she framed each picture and mounted them on the wall at the entrance to the ChromeTech offices.

“Adrianna was the one who came up with the photo idea; she is very creative and wanted a visual,” says Vickie Henry, who owns the company with husband Alan and serves as its administrative manager. “We wanted more on the employees than just posting a congrats letter on the wall. Without them we would not be able to do it.”

Alan and Vickie did more than just hang photos; the day they had been notified that ChromeTech was a Products Finishing Top Shop, they talked to each shift, thanking the workers for making ChromeTech what it is today, They also ordered in a celebratory lunch for all to enjoy.

“Their reaction was a proud one,” Vickie says. “We have a number of employees who have been here a while and have seen a lot of different parts move through here.”

I hear stories about recognition like this all the time, and it is especially relevant as we get ready to start the next survey to determine which operations will be crowned the 2019 Products Finishing Top Shops. That survey starts December 1, at PFonline.com.

Of course, the survey also is a tremendous benchmarking tool, as it shows through real data how a shop compares with its peers in the industry. The 45-plus questions dig deep into each shop’s operations, and the customized data we generate in a special report helps many shops see how they are doing compared to others and provides a window to seize upon opportunities.

And, yes, there is that medallion that every shop owner and manager thirsts for, if only to demonstrate to their employees that hard work and perseverance do pay off. Many shops celebrate the honor in ways that are similar to ChromeTech’s.

Doug Greene, president of Hixson Metal Finishing in Newport Beach, California, finished as the No. 1 shop in our 2018 survey, and planned a recognition for his team, including an all-hands lunch meeting and celebration.

“We explained briefly what the process was for the application and how tough the competition was,” Greene says. “But in the end, we were named the Top Shop in North America because of all their great energy and efforts they put in. We all then had lunch together and then went back to work.

Chuck Zinke, president of Perfection Industrial Finishing in Tucson, Arizona, hosted a party when when he let his team know this past spring, bringing in a cake and ice cream for everyone to celebrate while taking a small break to thank them for their hard work.

David Wachter, general manager for Great Lakes Metal Finishing in Erie, Pennsylvania, made the announcement to his team during the annual company picnic, and drew smiles and applause.

Aaron Johnson, president of Oshkosh Plating Technologies in Wisconsin, orgainzed a thank you lunch for all his employees, and then honored his managers and shopfloor leads by taking them and their spouses out to dinner to celebrate the accomplishment.

Holman Plating celebrated the achievement at an open house marking its 100th anniversary, says Brad Kremer, president of the Dayton, Ohio, shop. Likewise, Microfinish in St. Louis, Missouri, gathered all its employees and announced the award, says Bill Stock, president.

Jeffrey Grube, president of BFG Manufacturing Service in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, not only thanked his employees for winning yet another Products Finishing Top Shop award, but also had special shirts made for the staff with the company and Top Shops logos. “It is very popular and worn with great pride by our people,” he says.

It is obvious that no single person makes a finishing operation a Products Finishing Top Shop award recipient. It takes a team of people, all moving in the same direction. Someday, maybe they’ll even have an award to hoist over their heads.