Editor's note: The following are excerpts from a presentation made by the authors to a gathering of customers during the 1994 Paint Industries' Show of the Federation of Societies for Coatings Technology, Oct. 12-14 in New Orleans.
THE ARCHITECTURAL coatings market has seen many changes in the past 10 to 15 years -- changes that have impacted both formulators and their suppliers, and how they do business. The market will continue to see change in the coming years, perhaps more rapid and more radical.
The most significant of these changes is the change in the customer-supplier relationship. All suppliers have made efforts to strengthen the customer-supplier relationship, changing from a reactive posture common in the past to one today that's more proactive. As a result, suppliers and their customers are now working more closely together to achieve mutual goals.
Another change we've noted is in the area of "vision." By this, we mean the vision of suppliers and manufacturers such as ourselves to look not only to our customers but to also look beyond to the marketplace.
While auditing the Hardware Show in Chicago last August, we happened to mn into the CEO of a very large trade sales coatings manufacturer we knew. He seemed pretty unhappy, which was surprising since his company has a good reputation and a diverse product line. The company is very competitive in the area of pricing, and had been aggressive in the marketplace in general while holding a good market share.
He said his company had failed to see beyond its customers. His company and his sales team were selling to their customers, but had paid no attention to the market mn general. This company had a very good market position at hardware stores -- the local hardware stores all across America. But, as everybody now knows, there's been a significant shift away from hardware stores to the warehouse outlet-type stores, such as Home Depot and Home Quarters.
This company neglected to note that market shift and, as a result, wound up with no shelf …