In the days of the pandemic, Vince Rea, of Canada Trade, Architectural Coatings, reflects on the impact COVID-19 has had on business, his team and customers. As one of our leaders, Vince shares how PPG is accelerating growth despite COVID-19-related challenges and adjusting to the “new normal”.
Working Hard, Moving Business Forward and Having a Good Time
Vince Rea is PPG general manager, Canada Trade, Architectural Coatings (AC), and is responsible for running more than 250 AC Canada corporate stores as well as for business with our independent dealers and large-buying groups, such as Lowe’s Canada.
I really enjoy working with our team and customers and coming up with innovative solutions. We are working hard, but also having a really good time.
When the pandemic first unfolded in the spring, Vince was impressed to see PPG among the first to take steps to ensure the safety of our team members, customers and communities – with sanitization, masks and Plexiglas dividers at stores.
Despite continued challenges presented by the pandemic, his team continued to address clients’ needs, partnering with vendors to sell disinfectant and the equipment to apply it in places like schools, hospitals and other institutions, and enabling consumers to order online.
I’m very proud of the way we’ve all banded together. Despite the crisis, we’ve been able to move the business forward.
Doing What It Takes to Succeed
As Vince shared, the architectural coatings business naturally did take a knock due to government regulated store closures, especially in the area of general construction.
However, the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) market is showing unprecedented growth due to an increase in consumers spending time at home and tackling home improvement projects, and, he is proud of the team’s ability to pivot to make it happen and meet changing customer needs. In fact, Lowe’s Canada is enjoying a record year.
“The key has been our grassroots approach and willingness to do what it takes to succeed,” Vince added.
Elaborating further, he shared that the buy-one-get-one promotion the team executed this year had staggering results, surpassing the already-record-breaking previous year. Plus, the innovative DULUX® DIAMOND™ interior low sheen eggshell product is nearing an impressive $1MM in sales after just a couple of months.
Additionally, the team collaborated to address private label program issues at Lowe’s Canada, adding exclusive sub-brands to their main offering. Though still in the early stages, it’s already proving extremely successful.
Getting Back to The PPG Way
There is going to be recovery, there’s no doubt. And with it will come new opportunities.
Vince reinforced that it’s really important to be ready for the recoveries of sectors like construction, and to be able to meet demand. He sees our biggest challenge as ensuring organic growth, year-in and year-out.
Up until recently, it was all about the products and the customer relationships we’ve developed over the years. I’m excited we are now taking it a step further to build on our legacy by supporting our great products and relationships with appropriate cadences and technology.
Vince with his colleagues in front of the PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh in 2017
“We’ll Benefit for Years to Come”
Vince is pleased to see the change has already started – the new centralized ClientLink customer relationship management (CRM) system is already proving a success with sales reps, as it helps them in managing their sales pipeline.
There is no question in my mind that we will benefit greatly for years to come as a result of the investment in ClientLink.
He welcomes the commitment to “move fast and to move forward” as we accelerate our decision-making, boost our productivity and advance the scope and scale of our innovation at PPG.
For me, it’s pretty simple. We’ll focus on delighting customers, and getting better every single day, so that we can accelerate PPG into the future.