At PPG we never see dilemmas, we see opportunities and through their tenacious attitudes and unbridled business acumen, the Belgian Architectural Coatings Team embodied the true PPG spirit to turn an unfortunate situation into a tremendous success.
To give you some background on the story, Sigma Coatings, the number one brand in Belgium, is distributed throughout the country through an in-house network of 20 Sigma Service Centres with an additional network of seven wholesalers. Until recently, there were no Sigma Service Centres in the province of Antwerp.
Very early in the year the Management Team, specifically Guus Duray, General Manager Benelux, DACH and Middle East, and Marc Vansteelant, Sales Director Belgium, received the news from their most important distributor that Sigma Coatings would no longer be their main focus. The news came as somewhat disconcerting as it meant that the biggest competitor would potentially gain market share in the Antwerp area.
Unperturbed by the news the whole team sprung to action as it was clear straight away that in-house distribution in the region had to be set up. A task force was put together, with the full support of Steve Pockock, General Manager AC EMEA North, and Jean-Marie Greindl, Senior Vice President AC EMEA & President EMEA and following a thorough analysis of the customer concentration, the team began their search for four suitable buildings to set up shop.
Every department of the company was involved in the crusade, from HR, Marketing and Facilities to Customer Service, IT, Finance, Technical Support, Sales and of course EHS. The Belgian and Dutch teams worked together across national borders.
Like a phoenix rising from the ashes the Belgian Architectural Coatings announced the opening of the first three new service centres:
- 13/02 SSC Herentals
- 23/02 SSC Wijnegem
- 20/03 SSC Sint-Job-in-’t-Goor
- The fourth, SSC Kontich will be opening on the 2nd of May
A lightening-quick turn around on a plan that was only conceived two months previous, revolutionising a building process that typically takes six months!
Of course the Sales Team got to work too, with strong campaigns targeting customers identified as high potential. A call centre was also made good use of as smaller customers were invited to a demo-do event, combined with a BBQ, in one of the three new SSCs.
In March the team welcomed around 150 customers to an event at an inspiring location where the new distribution strategy was presented, together with the new Sales Team and SSC staff.
In April, Jean-Marie Greindl, Senior Vice President AC EMEA & President EMEA visited Belgium. He took the time to listen to the team and the new strategy.
In the afternoon, there was a meet and greet with the wholesalers and, in the evening, the team organised a networking event with the top 20 painting companies in the region. The next day, Jean-Marie then visited the three operational SSCs, his visit being highly appreciated by both the team and customers.
The Belgian Architectural Coatings Team should be proud of what they have achieved so far. Thank you to everyone who contributed to this and the great support received from many people.