When talking industrial wood coatings, there are a number of resources available, but only the impressive Sherwin-Williams includes a combination of previous well-known businesses such as Becker Acroma and Granyte.

For the uninitiated, please introduce the Sherwin-Williams business

Sherwin-Williams is a US multinational group, with its headquarters in Cleveland, Ohio. With sales of nearly $18b, and over 60,000 employees in 2019, it is one of the largest paint and coatings business in the world. The group is organised into three sales divisions – Paint Stores, Consumer Brands and Performance Coatings. The latter division is focused on industrial coatings, supplying the automotive, general industrial, packaging, protective and marine, coil and industrial wood segments. 

Sherwin-Williams UK Coatings Ltd, based at Knottingley, West Yorkshire, is the UK headquarters for our industrial wood coatings business. 

Whilst some readers may not be familiar with the Sherwin-Williams name, the roots of the industrial wood coatings business go back many decades, and the company is a combination of previous businesses such as Becker Acroma, Granyte and Hickson.

Sherwin-Williams is well known for its consumer brands – Valspar, Ronseal and others. Please summarise its key options for the UK furniture, joinery and carpentry trades

Sherwin-Williams’ consumer brands such as Valspar and Ronseal are justifiably well known, but the Sherwin-Williams’ industrial business is an important player in its respective markets, and Sherwin-Williams UK is a key supplier to the industrial wood sector, where we provide leading-edge coatings solutions to some of the country’s  largest manufacturers producing kitchens, exterior windows and both exterior and interior doors, architectural mouldings and furniture, plus shopfitters and a host of more specialised industries such as luxury yachts, audio, musical instruments, and more. 

Additionally working with long-established distribution partners, the business also reaches SMEs operating in sectors such as joinery/carpentry, shopfitting, hospitality, etc.”

What are the strengths of Sherwin-Williams?

Sherwin-Williams, as part of our European organisation, is uniquely able to draw on the strengths of both its Swedish and Italian laboratories and, through this access to both northern and southern Industrial wood coating technologies, is able to provide effective, low-cost and high-quality solutions to any user requirement. Additionally, at our Knottingley base, Sherwin-Williams UK is able to adjust products to fit the needs of the most exacting customer – this is particularly important due to the growing demand for fast and highly precise volume colours. 

Another winning feature is the depth of experience in our great team, and that Sherwin-Williams offers a large and very experienced team of field technicians in the UK Industrial wood coatings market.

What makes Sherwin-Williams’ product range stand out? What are the key benefits for users?

As outlined above, the product range is uniquely wide in combining the best leading-edge technology from both the north and south of Europe. The range includes, of course, traditional ‘northern’ products such as Pre-Cat and A/C, as well as standard ‘southern’ technologies such as polyurethane and polyester. But Sherwin-Williams’ range is considered highly innovative because of its strength in ‘green’ solutions such as waterborne (both for interior and exterior), UV/IR cure and even powder coatings for wood. 

Another important aspect of our business is the strength of the two  key brands of Sherwin-Williams UK – Sherwin-Williams and Sayerlack – which are sold with pride by our distributors, with full support from our UK team.

Describe a typical Sherwin-Williams furniture trade customer – what are the benefits of working with Sherwin-Williams?

Of course, there is no such thing as a typical customer, and that is what makes our job always so stimulating! If a large manufacturer has a specific requirement – it may be that they are looking to reduce their VOC emissions, or increase the efficiency of their production lines, or improve the finish they are achieving on their products, or achieve a better colour consistency across their production, or to change their line configuration and application process – then we are able to provide them all the technical support and products which they will need. 

The customer will, of course, benefit from the depth of knowledge of the Sherwin-Williams local team, but we are able to go way beyond this, and work in close conjunction with our Swedish and Italian colleagues to provide the most innovative and cost-effective solutions adapted to the specific requirements of our customers. 

We are also able at our Swedish and Italian labs and technical centres to run large-scale trials of systems so that our customers can evaluate the performance without having to interrupt their own production.

Discuss one of your halo products, and explain why it stands out from its peers

One of the features of the Sherwin-Williams industrial wood coatings organisation is that new products are constantly being launched on the market, which is excellent news, both for our customers and for our distribution partners.

There is a lot of work in many areas at the moment – for example, in exterior coatings systems, fire-retardant product, bio-renewable products such as Excimer UV,  powder for wood …the list goes on and on. So there are a great many to choose from. 

However, if I had to identify one area of particular interest, I’d highlight that  we continue to work closely with customers in the interior furniture market - and especially kitchens – to develop new products that provide a combination of durability and stain resistance with a  truly excellent finish and feel, as well as delivering significant improvements in VOC emissions and in the working environment for our customers.

Can you tell us about current and future developments?

Like many businesses, our main focus at present is on maintaining a high level of service and supply to our customers whilst keeping them and our own employees safe during the Covid pandemic. We remained open throughout the first lockdown, and we expect to do the same in the coming months. 

Brexit is another matter high on our priorities at the moment and, despite the many continuing uncertainties, we are trying to plan as extensively as possible to ensure  an excellent continuity of supply and service. 

Looking further ahead, in 2021 we plan to recommence the growth strategy which has worked so well in recent years. We will be launching new products which we expect will strengthen our position in markets such as exterior joinery, interior mouldings and kitchens, whilst also looking for new market segments where we can grow. 

Whatever challenges lie ahead in 2021 and beyond, Sherwin-Williams and our UK team are committed to supporting our customers with continued innovations, especially in the area of environmentally compatible coatings systems, as well as industry-leading service, where our Knottingley facility operates as the local connection to our research and development teams across Europe and around the world.