Posted in: Membership Memo

Membership Memo—Why PCI?

Posted on Tuesday, April 25, 2023

I have been in manufacturing for a long time and up until about ten years ago my experience was in everything but finishing. I was used to seeking out general educational opportunities through professional affiliations like SME, but finishing is a specialized industry. Fortunately for me there is an organization that could boost my finishing education, and that is PCI. They offer a host of benchmarking programs, educational experiences, and networking conferences at some really nice places!

I work for a large OEM, where we have been fortunate to experience phenomenal growth over the last decade, and I don’t see that slowing down anytime soon. As part of the corporate engineering team, my main role is to launch new plants with paint lines. I also support our existing facilities to maximize efficiencies and mentor our internal paint professionals.

One thing I have noticed is that OEMs are generally great at producing their product collectively but are not necessarily deeply proficient in any one competency as you would see at a job shop. Job shops often have fewer core competencies which allows them to be technically adept in their subject matter.

So how do I get the word out and broaden our depth in finishing? PCI! I have found that by encouraging education we can organically grow our finishing knowledge. This enables us to intelligently discuss opportunities— opportunities which have yielded some very positive financial benefits for the organization.

Another challenge we face is understanding that a finishing line is a system, and it must have continual care to keep it operating effectively. Someone once told me finishing lines are like newborns that never grow up, and that is so true.

I also wanted to be able to stand in front of our customers and confidently state that our finishing credentials make us a differentiator in our market space. So how does one accomplish that? Get Certified! PCI 4000 Certification has been that stamp of approval that tells everyone, holistically we have the processes and procedures in place to deliver excellent coated products cost effectively. I am happy to report that we are entering our second year of certification. It has certainly given our finishing professionals the recognition they truly deserve and the focus that is required to be an industry leader.

Troy Hartwig is principal manufacturing engineer for Greenheck Group.