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In the changing times as now, expectations on quality and services differ. A plating company is no exception. The sector is not at the forefront. When expectations grow, re-alignment of vital trademarks of an electroplating organization must change. The change must happen with a focus on data science, creativity, finance and behavioral science over a long period. Except data science, none of these are new. But the application, the discipline and methods have adapted. When a plating organization defines and uses these four trademarks, they become ‘agile’. This short paper explains the characteristics of these trademarks and spills the beans on its returns.


Agile Electroplating

Data Science

Surface and metal finishing sector are on the precipice of embracing data science. Many large automated electroplating plants have unintegrated big data. Several variables and analyst’s processing abilities limit conventional statistical methods like control charts and design of experiments.


A proper use of statistics and inclusion of a software program with algorithm enables big data to be integrated on many variables. Use of data science enables predictive analytics. The common tools are error trend seasonality (ETS) and auto-regressive integrated moving average (ARIMA).


So, what are the returns? Is data science better than simple statistical tools? The answer lies in the scale and the ease with which we can do a complex study with big data within a short period. These analyses can detect variations in hoist performance, rectifier applications, and laboratory data. Data collection and analysis in real time will make sure predictability and compel corrective actions of the processes and equipment.



Finance plays an integral role in daily activities and on long-term capital projects. Proper use of marginal cost concept on daily activities and return on investment (ROI) or net present value (NPV) method on capital projects is pertinent. A dynamic team deals changes with apt financial methods, and it yields pure profit and opportunity cost value. A well-structured bill of materials (BOM) and use of data science will show non-conformances in a process at an early stage. This will help management react to changes. A balanced usage of financial and or accounting practices with statistics and data science will produce optimal quality results.



Creativity inspires innovation. Develop necessity and enable trust to seed creativity.

In the absence of creativity and motivation, a team member can’t bring disciplines like data science and financial management to fruition.

Innovation on input and output variables, automation and DC rectifier 4-20 mA controls can refine and alter the process performance. Many variables and big data demand software programs, as manual analysis become overwhelming and overlooked. We can be creative and innovative on data, technology, behavior, and science.


Behavioral Science

Many of us engage in matters we liked, we have studied, and we corroborated. There is a valid reason for this conduct. Many times, we are right. Sometimes we sustain on our validated thoughts. When challenged or distracted, we change. When we focus and our emotional intelligence increases, we also change. Some of these changes are desirable, but most are not! Therefore, possessing a sustainable conviction over a long term turns out to be nonlinear. There is no standard method to sustain conviction. However, one must balance change and sustenance with conviction. New and complex subjects like data science and its integration in manufacturing require focus and engagement.

Human capital integrates data science, finance and creativity. This will levitate an organization’s performance.

Empowered staff with sustainable conviction can maximize profit and develop their employer’s performance in the long term!


An Idea in Brief

The joint use of data science, finance and creativity with behavioral science will be the harbinger of change for high technology and ambitious electroplating applicator. These trademarks are no longer nice to have, but are deliverables critical.

Real time reaction is the crux of the matter.


Use of data science and finance is about being proactive and making things simple. Behavioral science is about recognizing the values of creativity, data science and finance, and making it effective.


Agile organizations posses a lean production system. They become lean and productive by using proactive data analysis with innovative technology. These applicators write succinct operating procedures.


The four trademarks identified in this short paper are authentic methods to become agile and create an enormous surplus.


Note to Readers: Because of intricacy of the subject, brevity of time and confidentiality, the paper you read might drain the energy. The author desires a reader to revise the paper and enlighten on this matter.


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The true plating capability refers to a process which performs as almost as expected. It executes with lesser labour, zero downtime, greater process control and with exceptional physical characteristics. Though it might appear simple, most job and captive plating shops seldom meet an effective realization of the said ability.



Most processes have unique challenges. Cyanide and electroless electrolytes, precious metal plating like gold and silver, aluminum anodizing and stainless steel electropolishing need exclusive tactics. Cost metrics and process complexity varies within these processes.


An important holdup most stumble is accepting the status quo. Process failures, downtime, delays, etc. are perceived as a norm. As it occurred yesterday and transpires with others too!

Also, people with emotion become agnostic to methods, tools, concepts, and approaches. While, data science and artificial intelligence sans use of emotion.

This short paper aims to show a path toward a true electroplating capability.


Here is a simple infographic of vital elements to attain this goal:

True Electroplating


As shown in this graphic, our intent is at the core of our actions! Begin with intent to achieve infinite results.


We need knowledge and creativity with intent. The staff must have a comprehensive training on electroplating, lean, statistical process control, and total quality management. A good understanding of periodic table and electromotive force (emf) potential is mandatory. A process control is contingent on sampling and analytical techniques, and database integration with spontaneous communication and reaction.


Consider using 6 process development and control (PDC) tools as recommended by Advint’s earlier blog as an alternative to 7 quality control (QC) tools.


Plant Design and Automation

On no occasion reckon to aid a true electroplating feat with an inextricable and poor electroplating equipment design.


A nimble design with a correct choice of electrolyte chemistry, materials selection, engineering capabilities, rectifier controls and calculations such as ampere hour control, serial communication are indispensable.


Choose IGBT rectifiers for nickel, copper, silver, zinc and chromium plating applications. IGBT will be suitable for most anodizing applications, but sometimes a SCR rectifier or a half wave SCR rectifier will be essential.


Plating equipment and the manufacturer play a significant role in the plan of a new line. The project managers of most manufacturers do not have industrial plating experience. Under these situations, planning on processing, development tools, creativity and method become imperative.


True Electroplating Rewards

When a process performs, employee and customer satisfactions are at its zenith. You get to eat your competitor’s dinner.

How Can We Help

  • Advint’s prudent offering of advisory services empowers clients to achieve true plating capability.
    • Advint’s proprietary Time Change Management (TCM) tool aid metal finishers master productivity management, total quality management, and optimization of physical characteristics of the deposit.
    • We apply an algorithm software to deconstruct big data and conduct predictive analysis.
    • Advisory service includes backing platers in the project phase of electroplating plants.
    • The work supports research and REACH alternates.
  • Our online training course accommodates corporates and individual professionals.



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This paper is about the Hawthorne effect, the obvious but not so obvious effects, and the necessity.


Electroplating, anodizing, electro-polishing and complex processes such as plating on plastics require leadership drive to advance operations and engineering performance, and sustain on the growth.


An exemplary leader sets the expectation, creates necessity, delegates responsibility and confirms accountability without micromanaging the trivial effects.

We can set a clear expectation on variables such as electrochemical variables, process yield, product flow, inventory management, employee and executive management engagement.


Hawthorne Effect

The Hawthorne effect is the improvement detected because of a noticeable observation of the process. In reality, it does not confine the effect to a process, rather it encompasses to an employee performance. In both cases, it is a top-down approach, but ends with a continuous observation from all levels. When a leader sets the expectation, consistently follows up, align the goals with his or her actions, and supports their team to succeed, the team would achieve operational excellence in the long term. Observation and commitment to improvement must include all critical key performance indicators (KPI’s).


Obvious but not so Obvious

In retrospection, every challenge we overcame and the opportunities for improvement would become obvious to us. But this is late, as by this time we would have non-conformances, cost infliction and customer dissatisfactions. It is prudent to detect the obvious challenges and opportunities in real time. Earlier the opportunities were present, but hidden. We miss as it is not obvious!


If I did not communicate, think about the current COVID-19 pandemic. The issue originated in December 2019 and peaked in China during mid-February 2020. If the issue was apparent to global leaders and commoners around January, would the consequences be the same?

Revealing the hidden challenges in actual time is the heart of your effort in improving effectiveness.


How to expose these challenges? What prevents us from reading between the lines? The answer is not simple. This would be contingent on the leader’s emotional intelligence, knowledge of the subject and availability of visual data and information on real time.


Electroplating anodizing process line


Yield Shadows Necessity

We can achieve metal finishing processes and business effectiveness by focusing first on necessity. One must focus on the necessity to perform, collaborate, and on satisfaction (employee and customer). Yield will shadow the necessity–big or small; it is for you to choose! Clear responsibility and unambiguous accountability are the means to achieve necessity.


An Idea in Brief

Electroplating and other metal finishing processes are complex, as we all know. Market and customers are demanding. Contingencies like the COVID-19 pandemic will subject job shops and captive platers to hardship.

At these and regular times, being conscientious of the process variables, exposing the hidden opportunities on real time, and starting with a focus on necessity are three important steps to achieve effectiveness in the manufacturing operation.


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Creating a surplus is an implicit ambition of our real time contribution. The effectiveness of our drive makes a positive difference and offers maximum customer value proposition (CVP).


How do other sectors and manufacturing industries innovate and manage the fundamental concept of creating a surplus?

What surpluses mean?

Surplus is receiving more money than paying.


plating industry


Surplus is an economic concept. This paper aims to strive beyond economic and financial prudence to improve and sustain on surplus. A profound strategy using traits like conformance, time management and decision making will help transition to a new approach. 


We all have a procedure, a standard and a key performance indicator (KPI) to follow and observe. There is conformance and non-conformance. We are not referring to product conformances, rather we are discussing conformance trait of our mind. We use business improvement methodologies like ISO, lean and total quality management (TQM). Use or somewhat overlooking to use this trait properly is what defines as a route to the maximation of surplus.


Use of ISO standards and concepts in the beginning of growth stage is valuable. The standards used today must not hinder our ability to change tomorrow. A non-conforming mindset, swift decision making and managing time followed up with the revised adherence to ISO principles are one of the simplest means to realize CVP quickly.


What is the value of time?

Carl Sandburg wrote, “Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.”


There is a plethora of lean tools. The uniqueness of lean is not in its tools but in its emphasis of culture. Adaptability and change combined with decision making is the most important means to the path of surplus.


Most use TQM on their work applications. On electroplating and plating on plastics applications, mere use of statistical tools is not sufficient. We recommend starting with 6 process development and control (PDC) tools and train ourselves to see the not so easily seen variations.


A New Approach in Brief:


Technology and finance sectors use information technology (IT) to boost the growth and analyze intricate information which human eye and mind rarely recognize. Sectors within manufacturing industry often use innovation to stay ahead of time. Use of standard and tools like ISO, lean and TQM produce fair CVP. To maximize CVP and create excess surplus, how we use the standard and tools matter the most. Ability to change, managing time and prompt decision making in real time will enable our organizations’ evolution to a new approach.


  1. Leaders in technology and finance sectors who are adept at decision making do keep in touch with data and information on real time. Knowing the surroundings and being focused is a basis to be decisive and disruptive.
  2. The leaders do not consider past performance or guide as a benchmark or a standard, respectively. We recommend leaders to examine and revise the standards and opportunities endlessly.
  3. As Sandburg aptly put it, time is precious. Masters control the time and destiny.

We advise the electroplating management team to focus on surplus to coin money without difficulty.


Often you must consider originating a new approach with cognizance of conformance, decision and time.


Whatever that approach might mean to you and how and in what way it might be new, I’ll leave it in your capable hands!



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On complex and large manufacturing applications of electroplating, conversion coating, anodizing and painting writing a good operating procedure is essential. There is disparity in our practices within the industry. The standard to write a procedure change based on the region, industry, the sector, an engineer and the management. On most cases there are opportunities for improvement and the performing team in some ways reflect on the effectiveness of the operation procedure (s).


Many applicators encounter one or more challenges given below:

  • Variations in analytical variables
  • Unexpected equipment breakdowns
  • Effects of product non-conformances and its influence on delivery
  • Delayed implementation of an operative task


None of these are challenges if one has abundant resources and time! But we require lean processes and fewer resources to compete in the market. Writing a good standard operating procedure is the foundation to overcome these challenges. This short paper adds colour on three important attributes of an exemplary procedure and highlights the benefits.


connector plating gold



The writer must use simple future tense, active voice and be direct on the departmental and standard operating procedures. The document must be lucid and must have all pertinent information in order and most information must be available in a single read. A reader will find an added value from Advint’s short paper on concise communications released on June 01, 2019. 


The written (standard and departmental) operating procedures must be complete. What completes mean? It is subjective. Correct? While the meaning is different to all, at a rudimentary level, it must be complete for the purpose and the scope of the particular operating procedure. A procedure become redundant and a formality, when we provide only select information and allow the user to interpret or draw individual conclusions and perform the tasks accordingly. This is a source for variation and one should take cognizance!

A surface finishing operation involves the design of a process, equipment and product flow. Many manufacturing tasks possess several variables, and when touched by people it produces different results. Standardization is the solution. Examples of the tasks are processing products, electrolyte make up, optimization and control, execution of total productive maintenance (TPM), product quality and functional testing, and characterization. Writing individual tasks for all the mentioned examples in a chronological order and identifying required resources, supplies and accessories will ensure the procedure is complete.  Providing control and reaction plan for deviations on expected and historical behaviors will strengthen the procedure.

Complete does not mean excessive. Unnecessary information will decrease attention and encourage readers to minimize referencing the procedure.

A procedure gets authority when a reader refers to it with interest

We do not require staff to remember all the contents, all they need to know is, what and where the sought-after information is available.


Revise the procedure on every critical opportunity. Involve the user in the revision process.

Be explicit in your communication to the user that their input is valuable, and it is the joint responsibility to ensure that the procedure is valid and complete

On Sep 01, 2019 Advint on its short paper recommended 6 Process Development & Control (PDC) tools. A revision must extend from the learnings of the PDC analysis. When we precisely perform the operative task and use non-conformance as an opportunity for firming up the procedure, we can minimize variation.



Clarity is vital. Good procedure confirms clarity to the operating personnel. It reduces surprise, and the time spent. It increases value and reduces cost. This starts with the author putting emphasis on the readers above themselves. A written document may not realize its high point on the first go, but targeting for a complete procedure on every single opportunity and sustaining on the revisions will aid the most important satisfaction–that is employee satisfaction and thereafter the customers’. True employee satisfaction is the effect of good design, even product flow and less variation.


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Succinct articulation of information on high volume, automatic and complex plating operations are essential as there are many moving parts. A great communicator is a good human and leader, who possesses cognitive empathy for their readers or followers and colleagues. He or she will also know the importance of the receiver’s absorption of the message.


There are three types of communications within a plating operation:

  1. Operating procedures
  2. Written informal operating instructions (i.e. emails and uncontrolled document displays)
  3. Verbal delivery of information

Lengthy, convoluted, and incomplete procedures defeat the purpose of its creation and existence. One should not consider writing instructions as a piece of an article to show the skills of the author, rather must shift the emphasis on the readers.

electroplating lab


Here are a few factors influencing communication:

  • The knowledge delta between the author and the readers on a particular subject.
  • Output consistency demand and reader(s) turnover.
  • Verbose communication:
    • Eases error and rework and enhances dissatisfaction.
    • Encourages a selective reading and favorable interpretation of the message.


Before we look at the qualities of good communication, let us reminisce what two stalwarts of our times had said on this subject.


Nobel Laurette Herbert Simon once said, “A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention”. 


Albert Einstein related the concise expression of thought to one’s understanding of the particular subject. He said, “if you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough”.


From the readers’ perspective, focus’ is an important habit, and one shall acquaint themselves on the (focusing) ability of mercurial John Maynard Keynes.


Now, dive deeper and answer the below questions:

  1. Is concise expression alone enough?
  2. Don’t people forget?
  3. What is important to the author, and the reader is it always aligned?
  4. Don’t our priorities change?
  5. Doesn’t information retention power differ between people?

Here I propose a few characteristics of good communication and leave it in your able hands:

  • Enhance empathy for the reader or the follower.
  • Avoid halo effect - don’t assume and allow individual interpretation of information
  • Ensure the information is orderly, complete and easy to understand.
  • Be unambiguous about your openness to a timely revision of the procedure(s).
  • Ensure the receiver understand and agree with the message.
  • Customize information suitable to the receivers.
  • Revise, revise, revise….


After these steps, make communications accessible (visible and visual) and periodically (and proactively) reiterate the information.


Finally, in a plating operation, the operating procedures must be complete, concise, and continuously revised to reflect the present requirements. Understanding the influence and effect of empathy and focus is imperative.


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Venkat Raja
July 22, 2024
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Charles G Graham
July 7, 2024
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