Miller Plating opened its doors December 13, 2019 with all the optimism of a new business. Owned by holding company Miller Industrial Technologies out of Pennsylvania, they were able to purchase some assets of a business that had closed but had big plans to bring to the market what was missing. Through hard work, determination, and a solid team, they have come through COVID and the challenges of launching with a terrific attitude and a bright future. Made in Medina County spoke with Adam Anderson, President, to find out how things are going.
Q: Adam – thank you so much for meeting with us! Could you share what Miller Plating offers their customers?
A: Happy to do so! We are a coatings company and focus primarily on coating steel to prevent rust, provide protection, and add color. We cater to a wide range of industries and can offer four different processes: zinc acid or alkaline, zinc iron or nickel, adding base coats, or adding color. Color is generally added to a part to be an identifier; something is yellow to bring attention to it or maybe it is red to indicate you should think before you touch it, etc.
While there are a number of chemicals that go into our processes, we are a heavily regulated industry and we have also made choices to use those chemicals that can be handled safely. In our industry in the past, they used chemicals like sodium cyanide and chromium-6 which you may have seen in the Erin Brockovich movie. We stay away from all of that.
The other important thing for all of us to remember is nothing is actually made here. Other companies make the parts and send them to us for plating. Because it belongs to someone else, we have to take extra care to protect their parts through our handling.
Q: That makes sense, but I hadn’t thought about it before. Do you see a number of startups in the plating business right now?
Actually, no. It is rare for a new business to start up in this space. But a company that had been in Medina went out of business and that really impacted the automotive supply chain. We hope to fill that void.
Q: That is great! Can you tell us how you got started?
Our parent company, Miller Industrial Technologies, had been interested in getting into the market due to industry gaps. They also recognized that the Cleveland area is pivotal in this space. They found a business that had closed, once located in our facility, and they purchased the assets and the building. As they were getting ramped up, they called me to assist them with technical questions and advice on who to hire, etc. As we discussed things, it was clear they wanted someone who could embrace a local focus and had extensive experience in the industry. While I was recommending people I knew for the job, they were actually recruiting me!
Q: I love that! So have you been in the industry for a while?
Yes – it has been my whole career. I have a strong network in the plating and coating industry. The key is to really understand what your customer needs. You can be a commodity, or you can actually solve problems.
Q: Interesting! What kinds of problems do you solve?
We like to handle the specialty items. We had a customer who had a part with a number of bends in it. The bend areas are difficult to coat and would rust easily due to trapped liquids. We were able to coat the part before the bending took place which solved the issue and saved the company a great deal of time and money. They were even able to redeploy some of their staff to other areas of the business.
Q: That’s great! We hear from a number of companies in Medina County that they take on the jobs others won’t. How have you found being in Medina County?
We love it! The collaboration among companies, officials, and community is amazing. Recently I mentioned we were experiencing some wear and tear on our hoist to one of our local partners. They checked it all out and figured out a way to make the roller replacements locally and solved our problem. Another example, I was talking about how to lay out a process and truck movement on our lot with a local trucking company. They offered to bring a semi over and try out a few scenarios. We also had some issues with the building when we bought it and Medina County was great to work with to solve the problems. These are just a few examples.
Q: It is always good to hear when companies are able to work together! One thing we hear from most companies is they need workforce. How are you doing on that front?
Our culture is all about setting goals and attaining them. We want to remain as lean as possible, but in a way that provides our team a career path. We tell our employees they can’t move up the “ladder” until they have trained someone to do their job. Everyone needs to be cross-trained and see how they are valuable in the process for our customers. After all, we get parts after they have been made so we have to take care of other people’s work. We need employees who understand that. We hope to be fully staffed by our third year here which will be 35 people and multiple shifts. We are taking our time building the team because it really is important to get the right fit.
Q: That feels really well thought out. How do you describe your target customer?
We want to work with companies that need a true partner. We are in this together. We will always be open and honest, and we want the same from our customers. We want to stay focused on the long term and cultivating those. We want to work with companies that need someone with those attitudes.
Q: What else would you like people to know about Miller Plating?
We want to be a part of the community and support our local partners. We have already engaged with a number of local businesses and we will continue. This is a terrific place to be and we want to do our part to keep it that way!
For more information about Miller Plating, please visit www.millerplating.net.