We feature an up and coming coater, Jase Kaser. I stumbled upon his blog one day and discovered a fountain of inspiration, like no other. If you’re looking for solace in the life of powder coating this young man lends you a reprieve. He shares pearls of wisdom about the subtleties of coating, from a self-reliant mindset and covers everything from lessons learned in technical problem solving, to managing customers and employee expectations.
RossKote (Kim Scott): I call him the Ralph Waldo Emerson of powder coating. I hope you will call him a friend. Follow along as he melds his life experience with growing his powder coating biz, get ready to level up your powder coater game.
RossKote (Kim Scott): Welcome to episode 10, I’m Kim Scott, your host of the RossKote Powder Coater Podcast. Where we interview influencers in the industry and cover trending topics. So powder coaters can effectively learn and grow their business. Today, we’re reaching out to interview Jase Kaser from Kaser Blasting and Coating he’s out of Nebraska and I was attracted to his story.
RossKote (Kim Scott): As a powder coater or the wife of a powder coater, because he has an approach on his blog that addresses the subtleties of coating things, the struggles with it, learning the business and addressing his customer’s expectations. And I found it very inspirational. I wanted to bring this podcast to you today because I found it’s almost like he has, it’s a training manual and a journal all in one.
RossKote (Kim Scott): So I’m happy to welcome Jase Kaser to the show. Welcome.
Jase Kaser: Thanks for having me on.
RossKote (Kim Scott): Yeah. Now I found you a Tim Pennington. So I’m just going to give a shout out to Tim Pennington of the finishings and coatings online magazine. If you don’t follow Tim, he usually is giving featured focuses and addresses all kinds of coating content in the coatings and finishing from powder coating.
RossKote (Kim Scott): So liquid coatings and beyond. So if you don’t follow Tim or you don’t get his email in your inbox go ahead and head over to his finishing and coating magazine online. Just Google it. And you will find you can sign up to get his newsletter, but recently a Kaser got featured in his magazine and I enjoyed reading it.
RossKote (Kim Scott): What was said in the magazine is just a feature of, they were just featuring you as a coater. But there was one thing that really brought an attention to me was just an introduction to your business and stuff. But I really found something that you said that was really compelling and that you’re grateful for your customers for the positive reviews and stuff.
RossKote (Kim Scott): But later on you said the more transparent and communicative, we are, the more satisfied our customers are likely to be. And that’s the one reason why I wanted to bring you on the show, because I do think that there are barriers to market and communicate. And especially when communicating.
RossKote (Kim Scott): To your customers, the subtleties of powder coating and the struggles that you have as a powder coater to educate customers or shed light on the process. But before we dive deep into that, I want to know how long have you been powder coating in the industry and or how did you get started?
RossKote (Kim Scott): Talk me through it.
Jase Kaser: Okay. My parents started Kaser painting incorporated before I was born back in 1987 and that started as a residential painting company. So it started off with my dad painting houses and then it grew from there and went into more commercial painting. Like new construction, hospitals and schools and office buildings.
Jase Kaser: In 2004, my mom and dad added a blast facility that was just adjacent to the building. If they already. And so they started blasting and then doing, I call it liquid coating. It’s still painting, but it’s just all the painting was done inside of booth. Like high-performance industrial type coatings.
Jase Kaser: And then in 2014 is when we finally started powder coating. And so when I was younger and growing up in high school, I always worked on in the summers, usually in the Kaser painting shop staining and finishing wood.And then I would also work in the blast shop a little bit like in the blast cabinet or if our main blaster was gone or on vacation, I would get in there and try to wrangle the blast hose as a young middle school or high schooler, which can be challenging.
Jase Kaser: Just because it’s, that’s probably the most physically demanding job that we have. And then when we started the powder coating, it was 2014. So I was in college at that time. I had just finished my let’s see, fourth year, it took me five years. I went to the university of Nebraska Lincoln for mechanical engineering.
Jase Kaser: So I’ve always been interested in setting up equipment and how it all works, how it goes together. And so I was interested in helping get all the powder coating stuff set up. So over that summer, between my fourth and fifth year, so going into my senior year of college, we started putting up the powder coating oven and boots.
Jase Kaser: And I sprayed our first part and then we hired one guy to help run it. And then I finished my senior year college. And then it was, I was getting right to the end of my senior year. I was trying to decide if I wanted to go to graduate school or if I wanted to just be done with school and had my bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and just go the family business.
Jase Kaser: But it was a tough decision. I was going back and forth because I had done a lot of undergraduate research and engineering. And that particular professor really wanted me to go on and be a grad student and get my master’s and get my PhD. But the powder coating was really taken off and dad really needed my help in the sense that like he was running the Kaser painting.
Jase Kaser: So the commercial, residential painting, also the blast thing, and then the powder coating and he could run all three of them, but it was like he was the limiting factor. You can’t be in three places at once, all day, every day.And so it ultimately, it was my decision, but they really needed help.
Jase Kaser: So I was like, you know what? I have powder coated or putting stuff together. And. I am getting really tired of school. I’m not sure if I will use this master’s or PhD, cause in the long run, I wanted to get into the family business someday and then hopefully take it over. So I decided that a bachelor’s degree was enough and then started helping and jumped right in and help in the powder coating right away on the floor.
Jase Kaser: And then since then it’s grown. So that was 2015 that would’ve been when I started working at full time. That’s been five years ago now, a little over five years. So the summer of 2015 and we’ve grown a lot since then, powder coating has been our fastest growing division ever since that time. And yeah, that’s where we’re at now.
Jase Kaser: Now instead of being on the floor and doing all the work, I’m mostly in the office. Trying to organize all the work and get all of the logistical stuff done. So all of our team members can focus on their craft. Everybody’s really good at what they do. And so it’s my job to get all their obstacles out the way so they can do their job.
Jase Kaser: If our sprayers can come in and spray all day washers can come in and pre-treat all day and not have to worry about equipment breaking and running on the supplies and materials, then they can do their job a lot better. So that’s what I focus on. I’m mostly scheduling an, order being a purchaser and cloning and dealing with customers.
Jase Kaser: I still like to get on the floor when I can, because that’s usually the funest part is when you can get in and work and not have any interruptions and get sweaty and stuff. That’s fun.
RossKote (Kim Scott): Yeah. Get lost in the work and just, I always was like that with painting. Let myself work without having any, distractions and stuff like that.
RossKote (Kim Scott): The logistics is hard, it’s not that easy. You have to know it all in order to understand how to logistically set something up. And it sounds like you guys do it all then like liquid and powder you’re out both sides.
Jase Kaser: Correct, yeah. So we have our blast and liquid booth, our indoor there 18 foot wide, 15 foot tall by 50foot long.
Jase Kaser: So we can do like concrete trucks and dump trucks. We do a lot of the 40 foot shipping containers. For construction companies. They don’t have to see those as job trailers. So we have that in one of our, one of our buildings and then our other building is fully powder coating.
RossKote (Kim Scott): And as a family business, are you the only family, the son or are there other siblings.
Jase Kaser: I have a younger brother. He’s not involved in the family business. He is also a mechanical engineer. And he decided to take an engineering job right out of college. It was a really good job. And so he’s still doing that right now. And I don’t know that he has much desire to come into the family business maybe someday.
Jase Kaser: But he really likes the engineering job he has right now. So that’s where he’s at, but yeah, I do have a younger brother.
RossKote (Kim Scott): So do you and your dad, I’m assuming your mom and dad are still seem like they’re young enough, they’re still involved in the business or you’re trying to get more hands-off?
Jase Kaser: So they, I would say, so they still run the Kaser painting side.
Jase Kaser: And then what I say, I run as a Kaser of blasting and coating side. So the Kaser painting as the commercial and residential painting. Like I talked about my dad’s still there every day, there from as I am from five in the morning till five at night. And so he’s doing the day today office running the painting side.
Jase Kaser: And my mom does all of the accounting and bookkeeping for all of the, all of our divisions. So they’re still there every day. They are getting them to the point where they want to slow down a little bit, but as far as the day to daywork and decisions and the blasting of powder coating I pretty much handle all that now.
Jase Kaser: And it’s been interesting. I’ve never, I haven’t thought about it much, but when I reflect on it as I’ve been, I’m surprised how quickly my mom and dad just let me run with it. As I started going but my dad is a very, he’s also very hands-on. He likes to be involved be very particular.
Jase Kaser: But he’s letting me make my own decisions. If we have a disagreement, he’s usually the one that will back down and they’ll just kinda let me learn the hard way. Sometimes other times I’ll step in and say, I know that Idid this before and this way isn’t going to work. But they do a really good job of just letting me go ahead and run with it.
Jase Kaser: And obviously there’s when there’s big, really big decisions to make. I involve them and we all three talk about it and come up with a good decision, but I’ve never felt that I was, I don’t really feel like their son when I’mat work, so when I’m at work, I call them Jay & Sherry. I don’t call it mom and dad.
Jase Kaser: Yeah. I’m just never, it doesn’t feel like it’s mom and dad watching over me at work. It just feels like we’re we have good working relationship if we work alongside each other really well and compliment each other because I look at stuff a lot differently than they do. Cause I’m younger went to engineering school.
Jase Kaser: And I’m interested in technology and every trying to do everything faster and on the cloud and more remote and either technology to help us go faster. And they’re, used to doing this. I don’t necessarily want to say old school, but you know that older way, but they have all the experience too.
Jase Kaser: So there’s, I might have a lot of new ideas that can help, but then when I run them by them, they can give me their input okay, that might work, but don’t forget about this and this, because they’re thinking about things that I don’t think about.
RossKote (Kim Scott): Yeah. That you haven’t even, because you don’t have this much experience.
RossKote (Kim Scott): Yeah. It makes you think that, what sets Kaser apart from other powder coaters in your area?
Jase Kaser: I would say our. We pay really close attention to detail. And in general, our feed back from our customers is that our quality is usually typically better than other places. And with going along with that, we’re usually more expensive.
Jase Kaser: We hear that as a lot of feedback too, but I would say definitely our quality. We’re very particular about everything that we do and from start to finish. So there’s a lot of intricacies and blasting and coatings that the general customer doesn’t necessarily realize at the surface. And then when it comes to any kind of coating everybody thinks it’s just painting.
Jase Kaser: I can do it myself. I can go to Menards and get an aerosol can and spray paint my car, parts myself, which you can, but it’s a lot different and there’s a lot more to it than people think. When it comes down to it, it’s hard to explain to customers. And that’s what we do. Our blogs started to explain to customers when they’re coming in to drop parts up or get a quote what’s all involved and all the steps that we’re taking to make sure that their coating’s going to look good, but then also have longevity.
Jase Kaser: Cause we’re all the substrates that we coat and the Kaser blasting, coating side, it’s all metal. And so we’re going for corrosion protection is what’s really important. And obviously everybody, when it comes to powder coating, we do a lot of general public stuff, the lawn furniture, car parts, and all kinds of stuff like that.
Jase Kaser: So they’re more looking for the aesthetics, but if it’s going outside, it’s really important to have, make sure the substrates craft properly with the right blast and pretreated properly with the right chemicals or you get either paint or powder coating over the top make sure that they have a good, long lasting finish.
Jase Kaser: So I think all that attention to detail sets us aside from everybody else, but that’s hard to convey to customers really hard.
RossKote (Kim Scott): Yeah. I think that’s what I found so compelling about your blog and just for the listeners, you can actually find the blog at Kaser, K-A-S-E-R blasting.com forward slash blog. (kaserblasting.com/blog)
RossKote (Kim Scott): And I feel like when I started to read it it’s a, it’s an ode to powder coating again, if I thought, wow, this could be a training manual for the subtleties of powder coating for both consumers or your customers, and your employees. It’s a journal, it’s a journey.
RossKote (Kim Scott): I don’t know your writing style intrigued me, I don’t know if you’re doing all of the writing. How do you get, how do you get inspired to write? Is it something happens with a customer or an event happens at work, and then that’s the impetus?
Jase Kaser: It’s a combination of things. But if somebody takes the time to go through and read all of our blogs, they might be able to tell that some of them are a little more passionate and ranty than others. So sometimes it’s the frustration that triggers me to record it. Other times. It’s just, I want to help educate.
The voice of custom coating.
Jase Kaser: And typically the process that we use to do the blogs is I’ll record myself talking. It’s like we’re doing right now. And then I gave that to Chloe. I’ll give her a shout out and she’s the one who watches my videos and then she writes it out. So she’s using all of my words and contexts, but she is a very good writer.
Jase Kaser: And as a good way with words to get some of my long-winded rants down onto the page and actually make sense. So she does a very good job of that. I can’t take credit, for the physical writing, but the. Yeah, the topics just come up. There’s a lot of things that happen on a daily basis. And usually it’s just something that happened in that particular day.
Jase Kaser: I try to just, when I’m thinking about wanting to do any type of social media content, I just try to think about now what happened today, instead of trying to make up something special, that’s usually hard to do. It’s easier to just go off of what’s on my mind, what I’m dealing with, ton of customers calling in and asking the same question in a day or I feel like I’m answering the same thing over and over again, or explaining the same thing over and over. And I just feel like we need to make a blog about.
RossKote (Kim Scott): Yeah, that was, that’s pretty much how I got started. Someone suggested to me one day when we first launched our website, well, you need a blog, and I’m like, “oh God, what’s that? Like really?” And it was just quite simply put, what is the most asked question when somebody answers the phone?
RossKote (Kim Scott): What is the question they asked the most and that’s how it all started. And lo and behold, a year later after that blog post was posted, we reached number one in Google. And then it just took off from there. And that’s when I realized we were actually writing to consumer; our consumer based market rather than to other powder coaters or to any other audience, but I think what I like about what you’re doing is.
RossKote (Kim Scott): For those that have thought, “oh, I need a blog too.And, or I need a video log or a YouTube channel or where this and that”. I think what I like best about your approach is it seems simple. You’re just recording yourself. It’s you’re dealing with the day to day. Yes. You have help along the way.
RossKote (Kim Scott): You’ve got people re-crafting or redrafting the message, but it doesn’t have to be, it can be crude. It can be like crude in the sense that it non-processed and still be a great blog or a great blog in addressing to your customer or to your Instagram audience or Facebook, whatever.
RossKote (Kim Scott): It doesn’t have to be complicated. And I guess. The way that they’re writing or the blog that I just don’t feel it, that it’s pressed or not the word. That’s not the word I want to reach, but it’s not a forced thing. You know what I mean? It’s something that happens organically and it can be just that for everybody.
RossKote (Kim Scott): Because as with every job you’re creating content whether it’s a tough job or an easy job, or a shiny, pretty color job or a difficult customer job, or any of the different, that’s the beauty of powder coating is that you’re constantly creating content to write about because with every new project is content.
Jase Kaser: Yes. And the reality of the situation is, and I’m sure you can at test to this as like we’re in a small business. I have a lot of responsibilities that I have to attend to, to keep the business running. So I don’t really have time to sit there and think of these very intricate plans about what we’re going to do on social media and what I need to write a blog about.
Jase Kaser: So it just happens on the fly because I just simply don’t have that much time to dedicate to a long drawn out strategy for it. It’s just, whatever’s popped into my mind that’s all I have time to go with. So I just go with it.
RossKote (Kim Scott): And, we talked earlier about using software technology and apps. Can you break down for us? Are you using specific apps to help you, or are you just going straight to the platforms themselves to, maybe dive a little deeper in there? Is there a specific app you’re using?
Jase Kaser: Particularly? It’s, we use a lot of spreadsheets, so like Excel and Google sheets.
Jase Kaser: We just like to keep track of what we’re doing and then scheduling, you could also do that, any type of spreadsheet program. We liked the little sheets because that’s, on the internet and on the cloud. So you can access it from multiple places. You can access it from a phone or a tablet or a computer and in the powder shop with computer in my office instead of having to be at one particular place.
RossKote (Kim Scott): Yeah, I agree. We use Google a lot too. But when you’re recording, what are you recording just on your phone? Or how does that work out?
Jase Kaser: Oh, for content. Yeah, I just record them. I’m just using my phone.I’ve tried to, they have those kind of like selfie stick things. And also, I think it’s called a gimbal it’ll self balance, the phone, and I’ve used that a little bit, but it boils down to time.
Jase Kaser: So the people that helped me on social media they liked that and they want me to use it because it balances the phone better and get better video. And man, I got, it takes me 30 minutes to get that thing working. I don’t have that. So I’m just going to go with my phone. If I have a full day, like a Saturday or something that I can dedicate to it, then I’ll get out some tripod and set some stuff up and get the lighting.
Jase Kaser: But otherwise now I’m just using my cell phone. Now a days I’m used to it because I grew up with cell phones, but they can do almost everything. It’s basically like a computer in your pocket. So if you have a pretty new phone, you can pretty much take pictures, video record yourself, and all that content is good to put on social media.
RossKote (Kim Scott): I’ve struggled with the gimbal thing too. Maybe someday, it’s just one more thing to add to my list of many things. Yeah, I encourage everybody to check out some of the titles from your blog. And you’re putting out quite a bit of content.
RossKote (Kim Scott): You’ve put out something at least once or twice a week here, so you’ve got lots of content to read through and I like it because, you could be struggling with a project as a powder coater and reading your stories.Here’s one “three rules of training”. I thought that was very valuable.
RossKote (Kim Scott): That’s the most recent one that you’ve put up and, you’re a general manager at Kaser and I’m imagining you make it sound so easy, but I know it probably took you a little while to figure this stuff out. And here you are just right here. Super easy. You’ve got three different points that you’re using that other powder coaters could read to figure out how to work through some of their training issues as well.
RossKote (Kim Scott): Like, there’s never enough over explaining, figuring out the progression of a job and investing in your time wisely and stuff. And I think that’s, this is the valuable stuff that I think powder coaters should be reading on a regular basis and stuff, does it seem to help you to get it out?
Jase Kaser: All of that’s the stuff like that last article that we wrote, that’s a little more, I would say in depth or more process oriented and less about like coating a part or something. That’s just learned, I’ve learned that over time. I definitely managed differently. I think we have a blog about pretty recently.
Jase Kaser: I don’t like it’s that one, but it’s one right for that, about how, when I first started I thought the best way to get my point across was yelling and intimidating. And I learned pretty quickly that, that wasn’t so it’s been a dry trial now really. And so throughout the years, we’ve and I know for me to say that you’re probably thinking, yeah, but you’re still super young, it’s been five years for me, so that’s a big portion of my life.
Jase Kaser: And that’s just what we’ve learned. We finally, I’ve gotten to a point where the team members that we have now have been there for a while.We used to have pretty high turnover and we still do. It seems like when you’re trying to fill a new position. You just gotta be prepared, the closer that you can keep yourself to reality and not get too high and not get too low when things are going bad, then it’s, it goes a little bit better.
Jase Kaser: So when it comes to training and hiring to try to just be realistic.And instead of, when you’re really busy and you’re hiring people, you can be really, you can get frustrated really easy, or really helps that someone’s going todo really good because he got a big project coming up and then you need a couple more, really good people that know exactly what they’re doing and have experienced.
Jase Kaser: But a lot of the time, even if they do have experience, they’re not going to do it exactly the way it, your particular team does it. Everybody has their own hands in the house. So that’s where we came up with the over explaining because when you have someone that you feel like has experienced and you just assume that they know.
Jase Kaser: Most of that, and it didn’t really come across in the article to start, but I can put it better now that we’re doing an interview in words, is that a lot of my background mechanical background comes from, I used to race when I was younger. So when I was nine years old, I started riding dirt track racing all the way until I was 25.
Jase Kaser: But it’s just recently that we stopped doing that. So I’m really mechanically inclined and used to whatever tools called and what’s the size of bolts are and this looking at something and telling if that’s gonna hold or if that’s going to break or if that’s going to work or not just because I’ve been around mechanical stuff my whole life ever sinceI was little.
Jase Kaser: And so we have some team members that come in that maybe have had a coating experience, or maybe don’t. But they, I take for granted that they don’t necessarily have that background if they haven’t used all the tools I have, they haven’t been around all the mechanical stuff I have. In the beginning, I used to not really explain that stuff and just assumed, like they knew exactly what I was talking about.
Jase Kaser: Or, if you go to hang a really heavy thing, really heavy part and you’re hanging it with a forklift because it’s too heavy for two or three people lift it. You have to get the forklift under it. It’s this natural for me to say, Hey, we’re going to need some like really big hooks, probably big chain to hang this because nobody can lift it, little tiny hooks.
Jase Kaser: Aren’t going to hold, it’s going to fall. And if someone doesn’t have experience with mechanical type stuff and being around, things like that, they just, they simply don’t know. That’s not because it’s no fault to them. They just don’t have experience with it. And so those are the little things that sometimes seem obvious to some people because of their experience.
Jase Kaser: And then, but you still got to train on it. And I, we found that it’s easier to over explain and keep saying the same thing and keep explaining stuff and let the person roll their eyes at you and be like, okay. Yeah, I know you told me, he told me, I know that. Of course, I know that it’s better to do that than assume they know something and then something goes wrong or more importantly, like someone gets hurt because the safety thing that someone’s doesn’t know.Yeah.
RossKote (Kim Scott): I think it’s easy. I think most people think I’ve told you once, how many more times do I have to tell you? But not everybody. My, I have a daughter that has a learning issue and, it did take multiple times, but once she got it in her head, it was in there for good, it was just this over coming this learning curve. And then once she learned the task or whatever, It was just, it never leaves it. And it is hard to adapt to your training to multiple levels. And one thing that was said in this blog called “Busting the Myth of Self-Direction” the intensity level ranges from moderate flurry to fog of war.
RossKote (Kim Scott): I love that because that’s exactly what happens in a very busy powder coating shop. It can, it’s this hurry up and wait. And then once it’s in the oven, then you’re sitting there waiting for the timer to ding, kind of thing. How do you keep your people busy during that slow time?
RossKote (Kim Scott): Do they, what are some strategies there? Because I’m sure a lot of powder coaters do have this busy and then hurry up and wait. And they, what do they do with their customer?
Jase Kaser: So we were lucky enough that we have a big enough shop and we have enough equipment now that we try to keep a pretty good flow go on. And we have enough people that someone can be hanging. Someone can be in the wash bay, pre-treating someone could be spraying and then someone can be packing. And so as long as the flow is going pretty well and I do a good enough job at scheduling it, it usually can flow out and obviously you have to have enough work to be able to do that.
Jase Kaser: But if you have enough parts there, usually there’s always something for someone to be doing. We try to keep someone spraying all day long. And we usually do a good job of that. And so usually there’s, there’s always parts in the oven. There’s always parts cooling down and there’s parts that are cold enough that can actually be being packaged.
Jase Kaser: As those are being packaged and carts are being opened up, then we just hang the next job and it just keeps going in the assembly line. It doesn’t always work that smooth. The hardest probably most stressful job at across all three of our divisions is running the shop floor in the powder coating shop. Just because you have to be thinking two or three steps ahead of everybody because you’re right. All of a sudden somebody’s okay, I’m done with that. What do you want me to do now? And that it does happen, or we call it the flow. So how things are flowing through the shop, it gets backed up or messed up or turned around.
Jase Kaser: And now you’re waiting, there is stuff in the oven and there’s no carts to pack. And so now you’re sitting there waiting. We just try to keep everybody busy as best we can. And if you have if you’re super busy, you have plenty of work. Usually it’s not an issue. You can start prepping the next thing or something like that, but sometimes it does get challenging.
Jase Kaser: The mood on the shop floor is like kickback and relaxed a little bit. It doesn’t happen much, but when the flow gets backed up it will. And then it’s everybody thinks oh, we’re ahead finally. And we’re doing all right. And then the next by middle of the next day, it’s a war zone over there and trying to, now that you can’t get enough help on the shop floor to get that package and hung back up. So it just flips back and forth. It can be stressful, but once, it seems like the newer team members get really stressed out by it. After you’ve been there for a while, you just get used to it. You learn to appreciate the days where it gets a little bit slower because the next eight days are probably going to be super, super busy and fast. And you’re not gonna have time to sit down.
RossKote (Kim Scott): Yeah. I would agree that’s probably more of an owner’s perspective too. Like when you’re an owner or you’re a single powder-coater with maybe one or two employee, like you’re used to that just because that’s your business. But how do you convey that to make sure that you’re, that you have conveyed that thinking through your team as well. And I liked this one called scheduling backward instead of forward. And I think you were that’s what you were talking about earlier, right?
RossKote (Kim Scott): Is you have to think about the end result first before you can figure out all the different steps in between to make that deadline.
Jase Kaser: Yeah. So I’ll answer the one about our team members, trying to communicate with that with them. That, so recently we transferred a new guy into running our powder coating shop floor. The one guy that had run it has ran it since we started, he was the first person we hired. And we moved him to more of a production manager across both the blasting and powder coating shop. So he’s helping me more everywhere now, instead of just on the powder coating shop floor, as far as like overseeing things. And we’ve been training this, the other guy that’s learning how tor un the floor in the powder coating shop. He’s been with us for a couple of years. And it was really good at all the tasks hanging, backing, sprang washing. So he’s very well-versed and all that. But it was a learning curve when he first started, having to think about the schedule and look farther forward, look farther down the schedule and really his job.
Jase Kaser: Now it’s kinda think about what everybody else is doing and the powder coating shop, instead of worrying about doing the physical. And it was a learning curve after the first week, he was like, wow, I didn’t realize how much thinking that you guys do on a daily basis, thinking ahead, not thinking about what we’re actually doing today. So it’s just, it’s a lot of talking in the mornings before we get started and explain “Hey, this is how I would do this. Don’t forget about this”. If something gets backed up or something, think about a few things that can be a safety valve for you. So somebody can remember, we have this rework that we just set off the side last week, but we still got to get all that re-sanded.
Jase Kaser: So that could be something somebody can do. So to communicate it to the team it’s difficult in, they have to learn by trial and error a little bit so they’re not until they started making the mistakes themselves and realize oh, that’s why we don’t like to do don’t want to do it in that. Know, you can tell him that as much as you want, but until they experience it themselves and they really get it. And then the scheduling and backwards to forwards. So that’s, that kind of comes from my frustration of that. And I think every, you probably can attest to this and anybody in the coating or finishing industry can, is that we’re the last people in the manufacturing chain typically.
Jase Kaser: And we’re the ones that are responsible for making the parts look nice and last a long time looking nice. Yet we get the littlest amount of time to do it typically because we’re, we’re right at the very end. So we’re the last thing before the due date before the customer gets it. And so all of the mess up and extra days have already been used up by the time it got by the time it gets to us typically, or any coater it’s already past due. So you can’t get it out fast enough. And I, that frustrates me cause we have to, it has to be perfect when it leaves our shop because that’s what everybody sees right away.
Jase Kaser: The customer’s going to, if there’s a nik in the finish, are frustrated with whatever it is, even if that doesn’t necessarily mean that the part’s not functional anymore. If they’re just frustrated that there’s a scuff or you missed the weld or you missed this corner. And so my proposal and line of thinking on that is like, why don’t we schedule backwards, not forwards?
Jase Kaser: Why does it that customers go to a manual metal manufacturing place with an idea and they make the prints up and they come up with what they think it’s going to cost and how long it’s gonna take. And then, typically metal companies are contacts, quoting the powder, coating for their customers. Metal companies will ask me, Hey, can you close this? And I do. And so they add that into their quote to their customer. And my thought is like, and it’s totally different. It would be first to do that, but why doesn’t the end customer come to the powder coater first and say, Hey, this is what I want it to look like in the end.
Jase Kaser: And this is what I want, and this is my due date. So then as a coater, you’re like, okay, this is how much time we need for coating. And we start working backwards. And then I contact the metal fabrication company that we already do business with. It’s just normally they contact me to help, but nowI’m contacting them and saying, Hey, here’s a print that my customer wants. This may, this is when I need you to have it done by so I can get it powder-coated and get it to my customer, will that work? And would you have the right material? And can you get that done? And I feel like scheduling that way. You would have a better chance to hit a few days.
Jase Kaser: You’d still have difficulties, but and some of that thinking comes from my engineering background. I like building things and I’m familiar with metal manufacturing. So I feel like I could help the customer if they had questions. And maybe some power coaters don’t feel like they can do that. But I just think it would be interesting to flip it around and schedule that way. Instead of, I feel like the end customer would be happier.Cause it always seems like then customer is frustrated that it’s past due, so yeah.
RossKote (Kim Scott): I, 100% agree with you on those two valid points, because again, it just comes down to educating the customer and growing powder coating and the powder coating experience, the powder coating marketplace.
RossKote (Kim Scott): Yeah, I think that will be the future because people will come to you for their personal projects and stuff, too. It is always, it is frustrating. I know that we’ve been in that same situation where we’re at the end and there’s, it’s just nothing but pressure, a pressure cooker situation to bring it to fruition for the end result. And then, to get back and forth between customers and the welder or the producer or whatever, I don’t know, contractor, it, it just, it can get kind of mucky. And I don’t, we’ve, I don’t know what the answer is at this moment. I guess the only future I see is just training up the customer or the consumer market that you can go to your powder coater.
RossKote (Kim Scott): First I just wrote a blog post on how to How to paint or how to coat your gate. And it’s a landmark posts, so it’s something that could be featured in an online magazine or architectural magazine, somehow it, where it just breaks it down for, if you were a homeowner what substrate do you pick? What codings do you pick? What, let me tell you about this, what is sandblasting? Why do you need it? I just walked people through, choosing a color, choosing a, a contractor, that sort of thing. And it, it really, you have to break it out, but how do you share it with everybody? That’s the key, like how do you get that out? How does your, how does the consumer find your website? That would solve a lot of problems.
Jase Kaser: Yeah, it would. And that’s why we try to post as much content as we can. Like he said we post blogs pretty regularly, but we’re, that was probably where we post the least on our website on the blog. So we post on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram, pretty much every single day, Twitter and Instagram and Facebook and LinkedIn, and we’re posting every day on and trying to as much as possible to keep the content fresh. And I always want to post more. And the people that work with me on all of our content. Always are like, yeah, but then that means you have to make more content, Jase. I’m like, yeah, I know. And I know I don’t have time, but I still want to post more. So just keep bugging me until I get you enough content post more because the more that we post, the more that it helps educate people. And then I just, hopefully in the end it makes our job easier.
Jase Kaser: And that article that Tim wrote on Tim found us because we post on a LinkedIn. So we, I think we shared like an, a blog from our website onLinkedIn, but he read that and then reached out to that, Hey, can I use that blog on my website? And this just put a link to our website in there if you could, and then a few weeks later than he asked to this, write up an article on it. So if we wouldn’t have been making any kind of content and we wouldn’t have been posted on weekends, him would have never found. So it definitely works. It takes a lot of effort and you have to put a lot of effort into it. We’ve been posting on social media for three years now, and that was the first time that someone wanted to write a magazine article on us.
RossKote (Kim Scott): Yeah, the coating’s world is huge. Everybody knows that and is, it can be noisy too. So it’s hard to tease out and find these people like you that are doing something a little trend-setting or a little different, or a little I get this as I, navigate the coatings world I find that from an industrial perspective, many of the people that work in coatings, whether they’re middle managers are pencil pushers or phone answers or.
RossKote (Kim Scott): Coders coating, liquid or powder. It’s not much happens. It’s a very slow moving animal, right? I think actually powder coatings move a little faster than just liquid coatings, because I think liquid coatings is just gigantic. We just realized that a couple of weeks ago, when we interviewed Kevin Coursin from PCI and all the, how big they found the liquid market to be and the decorator market to be, it’s just gigantic.
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Jase Kaser: Right. And there’s kind of two sides of it. And so the, like Chloe, I said she helps. And now we have a new.Team member helping with social media there. They both really like the bright colors and the general public stuff that we do, or a bird bath, a lot more things like that, because those are cool. Look at people like, see those. So there’s, that’s the one side of like the artistic side, like he said, and people latch onto that then like seeing more of that. And I’m more on the side. Like I like the technical sides. So I like, why does pre-treatment work? What chemistries work better than others?And so there’s two different types of consumers of of like content or just two different, I think two different, mainly two different types of people in the coating industry. There’s the ones that are really focused on the aesthetic finishes. And those are usually the paint and pattern company, and the sales people and everybody in that world. And then there’s the surface prep guys. And I would include pretreatment with a surface prep where that’s more like nitty-gritty to underneath the coating, so nobody sees it. But it’s still really important, probably the most important part.
Jase Kaser: And, but that’s how it gets a lot more technical. And I think I liked that sidebar just because I’ve, I’ve always been hands-on and then my mechanical engineering, I understand to a degree. I understand a lot of what’s happening down on that, on a microscopic level with the chemistries and surface profiles and things like that. So I think that’s why I liked that. The other thing that I’m most familiar with. And so I liked to talk about those and take pictures of that and make content on that. Cause I think that’s the most important, one of the most important parts. And I like to communicate that to people because you don’t see that part it’s. But then, like I said, there’s the other side that everybody likes to see the nice, cool looking finish. And I liked that too, but we are more industrial than we are the general public side. And so most of what we do is industrial stuff. So if all we did was take pictures of what we were coding for one is a lot of the same thing over and over again.
Jase Kaser: Or every month we do a run up the same thing and it’s bland stuff, it’s gray and black and stuff like that. And every once in a while we have cool pieces that come through. So we, that’s why our content, I feel like it’s a pretty good mix of both. Sometimes it leans one way or the other, and depends on what platform we’re on, of what we post. And like Instagram. That’s really picturing. So you don’t easily do many blogs and stuff there but he did do bright colors and stuff.
RossKote (Kim Scott): Yeah. And you can take a portion of whatever said in the blog and use it as the script for, or the message for your Instagram. I think if you could deconstruct a blog post or a blog post, you could literally, use different portions in each piece could be optimized for whatever the platform is. LinkedIn has its own kind of, what are people wanting from you there? And Instagram is more story type telling. But yeah I like how you are able to grasp and do well with the different kinds of platforms because they are so different. Most of the custom coaters that focus in on automotive parts, of course they thrive in the Instagram realm. But when you are doing other types of jobs, how do you balance that? And you guys do seem to do it pretty well, and you highlight those personal projects that, you can maximize shock and awe on Instagram when you can, and then, and then utilize the LinkedIn for more technical stuff too. It seems it’s not an easy job to do but you seem to doit very well. And I but do you now just to wrap things up, what, is there anything you’d like to see change in the industry, or do you see any trends changing in the industry coming this way?
Jase Kaser: I think that just from a reading I’ve been doing, it seems like that we will be powder coating gun metal, substrates. There’s people that do it now, but it’s not very widespread. I think that’ll eventually someday in the next five to 10 years, it’ll become pretty common that, when someone does bring in their wooden cabinet or something, that’s brand new, we’ll be able to powder coat it. So I think that’s like a technological advance that’s coming. That’ll be, it’ll be interesting. I’m excited for that. I think it’s a little ways off for for a job shop like us to do this because it’ll probably start a big factory scale first.But and then the other thing is just, I wish there were more technical reps available just in all of the things. Exactly these lasting painting and powder coating. There’s always a lot of sales reps. And you have your favorite ones that you’d like to talk to and you have the ones that you wish that they didn’t show up because they were bothering you. I’m sure everybody has their favorites and the ones they don’t like, but it usually seems like when you really have a technical question, whether it be about painting powder coating or blasting, if you’re lucky enough, you’ve met one person along the way, one rep along the way that kind of knows everything pretty good.
Jase Kaser: And so you can call them and ask them and they can be pointed in the right direction, but all your other reps, usually for whatever reason. And they’re like I’m not sure I’m going to have to call the lab or something. And I think that just comes from their sales reps. They’re not tactical reps. So I wish that there was more tactical reps in the industry. I wish it was a little more even seems like there was a lot of, a lot more sales reps than there are technical. And it’s probably hard to find people that want to be a technical rep. They’re usually actually working in production company, but I don’t know if you found that the same, but sometimes it’s hard when you’re having a problem that it’s really hard to find someone to call to even just get a little bit by pretty much, a lot of times I feel like it messed up, but we’re just going to have to try something else and figure it out ourselves, which is fine. But sometimes it’d be nice to have a wealth of information just to call on and say “Hey, we tried this three or four times. It’s not working. Do you have any ideas?”
RossKote (Kim Scott): Yeah, I think I agree with you. I think we’re in Hawaii, so getting anybody to come out here is just nearly impossible.
RossKote (Kim Scott): We’re lucky if we get a phone call or something or two from people it’s happening now more for us email wise and people are finding the site just in terms of searches and stuff like that. So they’re finding out about what we’re doing and they’ll reach out to us that way. But I agree with you.Yeah. It’s something, maybe you’re just in a centrally located area, so it’s easy for people to drive up and, or contact you or, you’re in a hub area and stuff. I think that I think that there, there are tech people out there that could answer those questions for you, but they’re more in the consulting realm rather than working for the actual company that’s providing the equipment or the, the supplier that’s providing the powder or the liquid or whatever, the materials yeah.
RossKote (Kim Scott): They probably are more focused on sales and tech, but yeah it’s nice to know if that a company a large company that you’re buying equipment from has, were powder is, has that. Has that tech person you can goto. Most of it, of the time that we’ve called tech people, it’s just plausible deniability.You did it wrong, okay. How did I do it wrong? Oh, you just did it wrong. Follow the directions on the application guide. Yes I did the whole time and it came out wrong, like it’s a, it can be frustrating. Cause it seems like even when you do find a tech person it just, they don’t want to, they don’t want to admit that their product failed.
Jase Kaser: You guys been in with you guys being in Hawaii, are there a powder coating manufacturers there, or when you go to order your powder is it a pretty long wait time when you want to get a box of powder ordered in like shipping lines?
RossKote (Kim Scott): Yeah. I mean everything about our businesses based off shipping in terms of what powders we supply, what you know, who we choose and why we choose it.
RossKote (Kim Scott): Shipping and humidity. Pretty much like rules our life and it fits equipment
Jase Kaser: In the contiguous 48. It seems like if we run out of powder quick or fast, or we forgot to order something, usually like we’re, since we’re in the middle of the United States, we’re like a two day shift point for pretty much every where or just regular ground, or we could just overnight it in.
Jase Kaser: But for you guys, if you accidentally ran out of a powder or something happened or a box on a box was bad and you had to get that same seller quickly, what is it like for it’s like the capacity for days or…
RossKote (Kim Scott): Yeah, it’s hell because you almost have to anticipate that will happen when you’re in a job, especially something like a huge Gate or railing or architectural level.
RossKote (Kim Scott): It’s it’s almost a paranoia that happens with us because.If we run out, earlier you were saying, because we’re finishers, it’s all on us to perform at the very end, despite all the failings of the, and delays of a huge job.You still have to bring that in on a deadline.
RossKote (Kim Scott): It’s there’s no, they’re not going to give you any extra days because because they brought it in five days late, kind of thing. So basically we have to almost anticipate over ordering powder or be ready to jump on it. If we know something’s going to fall short or read, be redone or something, who knows what the problem is, it’s almost like you have to be paranoid about it.
RossKote (Kim Scott): And just go ahead and, and then there is, okay, so say it’s just basic gloss black, even, I have to go to three or four different suppliers and then figure out is it faster to ship USPS from Tennessee or UPS fromIllinois or California, and there’s, it’s different for every supplier and it’s different for every shipping method.
RossKote (Kim Scott): So based on where it’s at and where it’s crazy, like some of the stuff I’ve had to do, I’ve had to order stuff. It came in faster fromTennessee than it did from California. Like in you wouldn’t, you’re like what, so yeah. Mastering logistics in Hawaii is a definite skill you have to have for running any kind of business here.
RossKote (Kim Scott): The other thing is just the cost of equipment. Whatever, usually when you’re in, the regular. Contiguous states it is always usually free shipping or very low price shipping, and it can arrive within a day or two or five days at the most it’s cost as just as much in shipping as it does for the equipment itself.
RossKote (Kim Scott): It’s absolutely crazy. I’ll never forget back in 2004, we ordered our, we were painters back then. We weren’t even, we were just getting started with powder coating and learning about it, but we ordered our open face spray booth cost 2,500 and it costs 2,500 to ship it. That’s a hard pill to swallow.
Jase Kaser: Yeah. There’s, it’s hard enough to keep up with project deadlines and customers. And then when you have that logistical wrinkle and mean that would make them a lot more difficult. I can’t imagine if we, cause I always if I have to overnight something I will I don’t want to, because it costs a lot, it cost more to ship powder than it does for the material itself, but at least we have that option, but yeah, I can definitely understand what you’re saying, where if you’ve got a big project, you’re just going to, over-order just in case we have to rework half of this, we’d better get the extra powder because I don’t have any leeway on fortunately.
RossKote (Kim Scott): Our customers are pretty understanding when it comes to charging them for powder or, including powder or, like making sure that we cover our, cover our ass on the powder expense, including shipping.
RossKote (Kim Scott): We just did a, we’re doing a project for Oprah Winfrey has been building our house here for fricken forever. I think going on three years now, and of course it’s the typical, like they, the spec calls for this or whatever, and then the designer doesn’t like it.
RossKote (Kim Scott): So then you’re having to redo it and stuff like that. But generally speaking, like if we order powder for a job like that, we have maybe a minimum order, if, even if it’s just a small thing, but they’ll buy the powder. And we’ll try to use as much as we can have it for that job, but then, pretty much it just stays here and we reuse it.
RossKote (Kim Scott): I haven’t really found any kind of way to reclaim that money back or we try to. If it then becomes an in-stock powder for us, I guess as special order, if we don’t have, if we have unused portions of it or pounds of it, and then we’ll make it an in-stock color until we have no longer an in-stock color, kind of thing. Yeah.
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Jase Kaser: But we buy usually 50 pounds box minimum. So you want to do that. You’re gonna have to pay for the whole box to powder. And some people are like, no problem. I’ll do that. And then that’s cost way too much. I’ll just take one of your stock colors.
RossKote (Kim Scott): Yeah, I think one of the frustrations about customers own merchandise, COM I call it COM.
RossKote (Kim Scott): Like the incident we had earlier this year, where we had a difficulty, it needed a tech rep for for the powder supplier, because we had problems with the application. Is I don’t think we will ever do that again. I get that, they bought their own, special, transparent, or illusion colored from XYZ company or whatever.
RossKote (Kim Scott): I appreciate that. That’s good for you. But I don’t knowhow old you’ve been sitting on that powder. I don’t know where you bought it from. You could have bought it on eBay from a second hand seller, a third hand seller. There’s just too many variables and I just kinda had to put it into it because there’s just too many pitfalls with that, so you pretty much have to buy powder from us.
Jase Kaser: Yeah we don’t let anybody use their own. Cause just like what you said, you don’t know how long it’s been sitting there. And usually they don’t have the data sheets with us and we try to have an SDS for everything on file just in case. And yeah, we usually don’t let people bring in their own patterns because a lot of the times, even if it’s we had one not too long ago, they brought in a really low gloss black and that’s the one they wanted. And I was like, oh, we just, we don’t spray other people’s powders.We just, we use our own, we have our own flat black, it’s going to match just saying oh, I just really want you to use ours. And I understand it looks like it’s the exact same color. So you think we might as well just use yours, but it could spray out totally differently.
Jase Kaser: For some reason it might not like, pretreatment we put underneath it. And we just know that our black blacks that hold it up here. So it is the same color. We know how we need a process, ours, what don’t fix this. We need to put it on. And what spray settings maybe. We can just give you a better product if we use what we know as long as it, and if it’s going to look the same, we’d rather just use ours.
Jase Kaser: And that’s how we try to.
RossKote (Kim Scott): Yeah, you get used to it, it’s consistency, you know how to, it’s. Yeah. You just know what you can stand behind. And I don’t know what it is about like these celebrities on Maui. I don’t know. It just seemed like all the incidents has. We have, we have this thing, we just did some stuff for Mick Fleetwood, from Fleetwood Mac.
RossKote (Kim Scott): Yes he’s retired here. He owns a restaurant. Very good restaurant. Actually. It’s very popular here in Lahaina and he wanted these lights, sconces for his garden, and he ordered them from the mainland and they were powder-coated very well-made I guess they make their own light sconces, and then they powder coat them as well.
RossKote (Kim Scott): But he, so he got them done, but he, for whatever reason, they didn’t that’s right. He thought he could just order whatever color he wanted. And when we went to match the stock on this and call the lighting company to say, what color are you using? We found ourselves into a bit of a pickle because the sample that was sent from the lighting company, they use a box heater.
RossKote (Kim Scott): And instead of the, a hopper, and because this powder had a metallic flake in it, guess what all the metallic wait floated to the bottom.And so when you sprayed, when they sprayed the color, you didn’t see the metallic end. He liked that because it was less, it was more. But then when we got the same exact color from the same exact supplier and we applied it, we use it, we use the hopper, which kind of keeps the metallic floating and it came outlooking different than, so then he didn’t like that and we’re like what do you want us to do?
RossKote (Kim Scott): We just literally ordered the same exact thing that these people are doing, so it was strange. That was a new one for us, new pitfall in powder coating.
Jase Kaser: Yeah, metallics are always challenging.
RossKote (Kim Scott): Yeah. It’s been great talking to you. Thanks for joining us today. So how can coaters get ahold of you?
RossKote (Kim Scott): We talked about your blog, but would you like to throwout maybe an email or a website?
Jase Kaser: So you can find us there. I won’t list off my email, but I think it’s on our website somewhere. If you have a question, feel free to give us a call.We’ll try to help if you can’t you can’t figure it out from all the content that we have out there. Definitely call us.
RossKote (Kim Scott): Again, definitely head over to the Kaser website and find that blog.
RossKote (Kim Scott): I found it refreshing. I found it insightful. I found it educational for sure. And I appreciate you coming out on the show today very much and taking the time to talk with us and get to know you.
Jase Kaser: Yeah. It was nice to get to know you too. I really appreciate you have on the phone here, we’d been wanting to do some more podcast stuff we haven’t, and this is the first oneI’ve actually been on.
Jase Kaser: But we’ve been talking about it a lot, so we’re happy when you emailed us and thank you. It was, it’s an interesting to learn about the challenges that you have in Hawaii that I would never think of because when you know, just locationally, there’s a lot of differences. So it was interesting.
RossKote (Kim Scott): All right. We’d like to thank our supportive followers and fellow powder coders out there. I hope you’ve learned something new about your powder coating business. Please comment, share, follow, and like the podcast. And if you have a topic you’d like to discuss, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Have a great day.
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