Sharing Brings Award to Artistic Finishes
30 Sep 2020
Business practices by companies across all industries are defined by companies seeking strategic advantages to gain a competitive edge. Yet Artistic Finishes, Inc. of Roseville, Minnesota, has developed an understanding that even greater strength can come from developing unified, collaborative relationships.
“For well over 15 years, Artistic Finishes has always been a believer in continuous improvement,” said Kara McPipe, Director of Operations with Artistic Finishes. “In the past several years, we have become more involved with other manufacturers to help them and then learn and grow ourselves.”
That attitude has not gone unnoticed, as the Manufacturer’s Alliance selected Artistic Finishes, Inc., as its 2020 Manufacturer of the Year in the small company category. Founded in 1985, Artistic Finishes has been providing expertly blended wood and vinyl moldings and accessories to flooring distributors, installers and craftsmen throughout the United States and Canada.
Strength in Openness
The unique nature of the award lies in its purpose of recognizing manufacturers that exhibit openness in sharing experiences and information to strengthen fellow manufacturers. Artistic Finishes’ vision of investing in human capital through educational seminars, peer group meetings and training certifications matches that openness perfectly.
“In the past few years, this focus has encouraged our employees to get outside of our four walls and make the investment in seeing and learning about what others are doing,” said McPipe. “I, myself, understand and see the benefits of being open and willing to share and to receive feedback from my peers in the manufacturing community as a way for all of us to grow.”
McPipe describes her experience sharing the company’s story to others at educational seminars, performing Kaizen process training or leading an Operations peer group as extremely beneficial, but said even more growth comes from the discussions and relationships that happen after the session is over.
“Every session, several people reach out for more information or to share a process. We have held tours at our facility for others to see these processes in action,” she said. “It is hard to describe the immense value that comes from networking and the learning that goes along with it.”
Specifically, Artistic Finishes partnered with another manufacturing company in 2019 to expand the growth of continuous improvement leaders. The six-month program focused on areas like understanding, developing and communicating metrics, creating a daily improvement process and how to lead with humility and respect for others. The program encouraged them to not only better understand the continuous improvement tools, but to work with others outside of their area and their company to improve how they coach, mentor and lead.
“In implementing the program, the trainees not only grew personally and professionally, but created relationships that they wouldn’t have otherwise gotten,” said McPipe.
Helpful Partner in Roseville
One positive relationship for Artistic Finishes has been that with the City of Roseville. After locating there in 1990, the company benefited from the amount of growth exhibited both throughout the city and within their industrial area. Their location is ideal to attract applicants from Minneapolis and St. Paul, while local hotel and catering accommodations are convenient for hosting events for their out-of-town guests. The city has been extremely proactive in helping local companies throughout the COVID-19 crisis, providing a sense of community teamwork by offering several Zoom and on-line workshops hosted by various organizations from Roseville. But more important, said McPipe, is their relationship with city officials.
“What we have found from our first days in Roseville is the willingness of city officials to be a partner that offers solutions, rather than just handing out a document and asking us to read and interpret it,” she said. “If we ever had an issue, we were never chastised, but rather thanked for trying to improve or be proactive.”
Ready for the Future
While the first half of 2020 has been challenging due to the COVID-19 impact, Artistic Finishes staff and leadership have done a great job of staying healthy and maintaining morale within their organization. Specifically, a proactive attitude toward creating a policy around COVID-19 has helped maintain a positive work environment. That policy includes best practices from the CDC like wearing masks, installing plexiglass barriers and frequent cleanings as needed. Now, the company feels it is ready to grow business even in these seemingly difficult times.
“The recent honor of the 2020 Manufacturer of the Year has given us a positive attitude and we feel like we can continue to serve our customers, employees and community well,” said McPipe.
The Roseville Economic Development Authority (REDA) coordinates and administers economic development and redevelopment initiatives for the City of Roseville, MN. It serves as a comprehensive resource for
businesses seeking to startup and grow in the area. In addition to prioritizing business retention and expansion, the REDA connects area employers with the dedicated and talented workforce they need to succeed and thrive.