Jay Kaser has inhabited the world of commercial and residential painting for 35 years. He lives on construction sites and thinks in spray patterns. He inhales specs, and exhales product numbers. There is no aspect of the painting industry with which he is not completely familiar.
While my office is right next door to Jay’s, my universe looks nothing like his. I’ve lived in manufacturing land for the better part of a decade, and now, for the very first time, I’m crossing over into my dad’s area.
When people hear that, they think, “Ok, how different can it be? You’re just putting coating on a wall instead of a part.”
It turns out that there are a few SIGNIFICANT differences.
The materials are not the same. I can tell you how a high-build epoxy primer will perform on a dump trailer in your climate, but ask me to recommend paint for the kitchen wall, I’ll have to refer you back to my dad. I have a lot to learn before I can speak confidently about paint products.
I suddenly have very little control. Once a part is dropped off at Kaser Blasting & Coatings, it’s mine – I orchestrate every aspect of its transformation, down to the minute it enters the oven. Things are different in paint world. Suddenly, I’m on crowded job sites, surrounded by other trades, and at the mercy of their schedules. Eliminating variables is much harder under these circumstances.
Commercial paint suppliers behave differently. When I order powder coating, I can reasonably expect providers to turn it around in a couple of days. They know time is at a premium in manufacturing, and they’re committed to helping us maintain the production schedule by any means necessary. In paint world, the degree of urgency is not the same. Suppliers anticipate that there will be setbacks, and are used to projects lasting multiple months.
The differences between paint world and manufacturing land are significant…but ultimately, the similarities outweigh them. We’re all finishers. We’re the last ones to touch a project, and our goal is to make it look good on a timeline. We’re matching colors and sheens, and getting called when something is flaking (whether it’s our fault or not). Safety and teamwork are priorities. We educate the end customer about why what they’ve specified won’t work in the real world.
Success in either world depends a lot on experience, and we’re all looking to hire proactive problem-solvers with a keen eye for detail.
I’m entering paint world with a lot of idealism. The industry veterans like to shake their heads at me, but I truly believe that the technology I’ve used in my life as a powder coater could positively impact Kaser Painting, Inc. There’s nothing quite as exciting to me as a new set of problems to solve.
So hello, paint world! Powder boy is here, and I’m ready to learn. Let’s get started.