1. What management problems and challenges typical of global companies was Sherwin-Williams experiencing? What management, organization, and technology factors were responsible for those problems?
2. How did Sherwin-Williams’ new global systems support its business strategy? How effective was the solution chosen by the company?
3. What steps did Sherwin-Williams take to make sure that its global systems implementation was successful?
Sherwin-Williams is the United States frontrunner and world’s third-largest producer of paints, varnishes, and specialty coatings. It also develops and produces refinishing products, motor vehicle and airplane finishes, and industrial finishes for metal, wood, and plastic. A network of exclusive wholesale dealers and agents set up more than a hundred years ago has blossomed into 3,390 company-operated stores, the only authorized outlets for Sherwin-Williams branded products. Mass merchandisers, home centers, independent paint dealers, hardware stores, automotive retailers, and industrial distributors market its other brands. Major brands in the Sherwin-Williams portfolio include Dutch Boy, Krylon, Minwax, Thompson's Water Seal, Ronseal, Becker Acroma, Pratt & Lambert, Sayerlack, Red Devil, Euronavy, Martin-Senour, and Altax. With over 32,000 employees, $7.78 billion in annual sales, and operations in 109 countries, Sherwin-Williams is truly a global presence. The company logo adopted in 1905, “Sherwin-Williams Covers the Earth” (a paint can pouring paint over the globe), reflects Sherwin-Williams’ long-term global aspirations.