Every business has an origin story — a point in time they look back on and think, “Remember when?”
For Brillion’s Professional Plating, that story began in 1979 when owners Bob and Pat Endries started the company with 10 employees and a 10,000-square-foot facility. Forty years later, the company has grown to 225 employees and a 200,000-square-foot facility.
While the company has grown, the essence of what it does remains the same, says General Manager Larry Dietz. Professional Plating can plate, e-coat and powder coat at its facility, while most competitors only offer one of those finishes. That makes it appealing to customers ranging from individuals to Fortune 500 companies such as Harley-Davidson.
“We’re a one-stop shop,” Dietz says. “Our value to our customers is that they’re not dealing with three different outside service companies.”
Offering that convenience along with high-quality service means Professional Plating doesn’t have the cheapest prices around, but its work helps it stand apart.
“We’re not a commodity,” says Dietz, adding that every finish meets the company’s high standards.
All those efforts haven’t gone unnoticed, as Professional Plating has won numerous awards, including the Top Shop Award from Product Finishing magazine for the past several years. The award is based on delivery, safety, communication, retention, service and investment back into the company.
To deliver on its high-quality promise to customers, Professional Plating employees embrace its processes and organization.
“Our success comes from our standards and processes that are repeatable,” Dietz says. “We have the expectation in our culture that they have to be followed.”
While Professional Plating hires with that process-oriented mentality in mind, company leaders also set themselves up for success with tools and resources that help employees understand and comply with the company’s procedures. For example, the plant has several touchscreens that give employees easy access to information they need, such as active part numbers.
“It’s a fun approach to business versus the old tribal knowledge of the employee who was there for 30 years and kept everything in his head,” Dietz says.
The company’s employees are at the heart of what makes Professional Plating successful and the reason for its growth, he adds. With that in mind, company leaders believe in doing what they can to reciprocate that level of support by investing in their employees.
Last year, Professional Plating opened a work lounge and team center at its Brillion facility, complete with workout equipment and a wellness center. Dietz says the company also hosts activities to boost engagement, like a free taco bar or a bean bag toss tournament.
In addition, Professional Plating uses technology to connect with its workers — its ProConnect employee app is designed to connect and engage the company’s workforce. Dietz says ProConnect is somewhat like Facebook in that team members can like or comment on posts, but that platform communication is strictly work related.
“There are job postings, the schedule, applause systems where team members can applaud one another,” Dietz says. “We have metrics that we can look at to see how many team members are active and commenting. It gives us another tool to make sure we’re connecting with the team.”
Engaging the workforce is essential since that will help employees stick around, especially in a hiring environment that’s so competitive, Dietz says.
“It’s just critical,” he says. “We work hard, and we recognize that we spend more waking hours with our work family than with our other family.”