Operational Strategies of the Sherwin-Williams

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The Sherwin-Williams Supply Chain

The purpose of this paper is to describe and critique the supply chain management of the Sherwin-Williams Company. We will focus on areas such as supply chain risks, productivity measurements, the flow of information between suppliers and customers, supply chain alignment with company strategy etc. We will analyze and critique the existing supply chain and make suggestions for future improvements. Finally, we will relate the topics discussed in Lee’s “The Triple-A Supply Chain” back to the Sherwin-Williams Company and its Team 150 goals.

The Sherwin-Williams Company is a paint and coatings manufacturer headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio. Henry Sherwin and Edward Williams founded the company in 1866. Sherwin-Williams produces some of the most popular paint brands including Dutch Boy, Krylon, Minwax and Thompson’s WaterSeal. The company is currently the world’s fourth largest paint and coatings manufacturer with $7.78 billion in sales (Wright, 2009).

Sherwin-Williams is organized in three divisions: the Paint Stores Group, the Consumer Group and the Global Finishes Group. The Paint Stores group serves both professional painting contractors and do-it-yourself homeowners and is the largest operator of specialty paint stores in North America (The Sherwin-Williams Company [SWC], 2011c). The Consumer Group supplies branded and private label products to retailers and supports the Paint Stores Group with new product research and development. The Global Finishes Group manufactures and sells industrial coatings, automotive finishes, protective and marine coatings and architectural coatings to customers around the world. The Global Finishes Group is currently is leading Sherwin-Williams’ international growth with three acquisitions completed in 2010 alone (SWC, 2011c). Sherwin-William’s manufactures almost every kind of paint and coating, including home paint, architectural paint, automotive paint, original equipment manufacturer coatings (such as coatings for iPads and electronic equipment), and aerospace finishes. Not only does Sherwin-Williams supply its paint and coatings to other companies for their own use, but it also operates 3,390 specialty paint stores in North America. There are also 564 branches in North and South America that service the Global Finishes Group (SWC, 2011c). Company Strategy

Sherwin Williams currently conducts business in 109 countries. Domestic sales account for about 87% of the company’s revenue, with 13% of the revenue coming from international sales. The company has a goal it has named “Team 150.” The goal is to expand internationally and increase its international sales to 33% of total sales. The company plans to do this by doubling total sales to $15 billion. The target for this goal is Sherwin-Williams’ 150th anniversary, or 2016. Sherwin-Williams’ supply chain is currently in transition to accommodate this goal. The company recently acquired Sayerlack and Becker Acroma, two industrial wood finishing businesses to expand its existing global wood finishing market and provide research, development, manufacturing and distribution capabilities for its European and Asian divisions. Pinturas Cóndor, a coatings supplier in Ecuador was also acquired to expand its South American market (SWC, 2011c). Although Sherwin-Williams plans to focus on international sales, it continues to invest in new domestic stores. This is because the company believes the professional painter will be the fastest growing customer segment in the near future, and professional paint contractors prefer to shop at specialty paint stores (SWC, 2011c). Sherwin-Williams considers the professional painter one of its most important customers since this is the customer who is continuously exposed to paint chemicals and the manual labor of painting. The company puts a significant amount of research into technology to reduce risks for professional painters...
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