Passion for paint: a spark for innovation and constant efforts

17:17 | 25/07/2019
AkzoNobel has just launched a series of super premium interior paints with advanced technologies to protect the beauty of homes for customers in Vietnam, one of its key market in the key South Asia and Southeast Asia (SESA) region. Oscar Wezenbeek, AkzoNobel’s managing director for Paints SESA, affirms his and the company's efforts to maintain AkzoNobel’s leading position in the Vietnamese as well as the SESA premium paint segment.
passion for paint a spark for innovation and constant efforts
Oscar Wezenbeek, AkzoNobel’s managing director for Paints SESA

How long have you been working for AkzoNobel?

I joined AkzoNobel in 1989 as a consultant and was responsible for various ICT implementation projects in production facilities within AkzoNobel Coatings. In my nearly 30 years at AkzoNobel, I’ve changed my position several times before I settled in as Regional Business director of SESA Decorative.

During this time, I was proud to be on the teams to start and manage new technology, new complexes, new organisations, plant startups and shutdowns, and emerging markets. Thanks to the dedication of my team, we have achieved many unexpected successes. We have had excellent products and now look back on a proven track record in growth in top line, market share, and profitability in B2B and B2C markets.

Besides, with a key interest in Sustainability, I am actively involved in the ADB DutchCham Sustainable Business Committee, joining a network that drives business performance while positively impacting the global environment and society. We are also a member of the World Green Building Council in Asia where we actively promote painting the construction industry green.

How has your work inspired and motivated you to stand where you are now?

In my 30 years at AkzoNobel, I have been proud to be a part of a leading company which always stands behind sustainable development and actions. During this time, AkzoNobel has been constantly striving to not only offer the best products for inspiring living spaces for everyone but also increase sustainable elements in everything we do, every product we provide.

Here at AkzoNobel, I feel the passion and drive of my teammates, and we push each other to make a difference and work for a brighter future. AkzoNobel is not only a leading company in paints and coatings but also one of the leading companies having a sustainable development vision and actions. We not only offer the most environmentally friendly solutions but also implement activities toward inspiring living spaces for everyone, contributing to the sustainable development of all communities.

During my time at AkzoNobel, I have realised the meaning and effect of colour on people's daily lives. This has been a spark to light up my motivation and passion, urging me to explore and create new colours and paint products to enhance customers’ experience.

How do you evaluate the potential of the SESA market?

SESA is a market which is experiencing robust economic growth, with a large population and high levels of construction. Currently, the region is witnessing massive building booms in major cities thanks to years of rapid economic growth. These result in demand for large quantities of paints, following the enormous high-end housing developments altering the skylines of the country’s urban areas and the apartments housed in these buildings.

Besides, the impacts of climate change are more obvious in this region than others. People in SESA need not only protective paints products but also sustainable ones to help them to adapt to this challenge.

Thus, we see significant growth in the consumption of paints and coatings in this region in the upcoming years. We consider it as a key market where we have been standing at the leading position for many years now. In the past decade, AkzoNobel hugely invested in this region with new technologies and services, especially sustainable ones.

Could you share about the current situation of the Vietnamese market? What potential does AkzoNobel see in the market and what strategies have you crafted for it?

Vietnam is one of our key markets with astounding economic growth, a large population, and high levels of construction.

In the Fourth Industrial Revolution, as a result, the Vietnamese market is also growing dynamically and vibrantly, leading to the constant need for development and innovation in all aspects – and the paint industry is not excluded. In the following years, paints and coatings consumption will increase steadily and create more potential for paints and coatings companies.

Besides, as consumers increasingly turn into prosumers, they have always demanded the highest standards of sustainable and efficient solutions. These result in a large requirement for premium products.

With a coastline of 3,260 kilometres, Vietnam is often affected by tropical depressions. Customers in Vietnam will also need high-quality exterior paint products that can protect their buildings again harsh weather.

In the past decade, AkzoNobel has hugely invested in Vietnam with new technologies and services and continuously keep focusing on researching, developing and introducing new advanced products to Vietnamese consumers.

In the past decade, AkzoNobel has made huge investments in Vietnam into new technologies and services and kept focus on researching, developing, and introducing new advanced products to Vietnamese consumers.

This is how we will retain our leading position in the following years. This year, we are proud to introduce consumers new advanced solutions to protect their houses inside-out such as the Dulux premium interior paint products we launched a few days ago.

What investments has AkzoNobel made to promote sustainability in paints and coatings, especially in the SESA region?

As the leader in the paints and coatings industry, we are always committed to preserving the environment in whatever we do. Almost all of our products have the least possible impact and we are also step-by-step introducing sustainable products, including the eco-performance and eco-premium category. These are solutions with clear benefits for our customers in terms of economic, environmental, and social performance. They accelerate our business agenda by meeting societal needs and consistently demonstrate higher growth than more traditional products.

Globally, our sales for this segment totalled 22 per cent of our revenue in 2018. Another significant portion of our portfolio fits into the eco-performer category. These are solutions offering clear sustainability benefits but are overall on par with other offers. Initial assessments indicate that eco-performers make up 20 per cent of sales, bringing the total sales of sustainable solutions to 42 per cent.

Could you share AkzoNobel’s plan to promote sustainable development?

In the past years we invested a significant number in developing sustainable and environmentally friendly products that meet our customers’ demands. We have 4,000 scientists working closely with our customers around the world to develop sustainable solutions to meet the challenges we face on a daily basis.

From that point, we create a green standard for paint products as well as offering high-quality and eco-premium products to the market. In terms of manufacturing, we focus on the continuous improvement of processes and practices to reduce solid waste and to reduce the consumption of energy and other resources.

By constantly innovating, our aim is to maintain eco-premium solutions at a sustainable 20 per cent of revenue through 2020, which will help to drive margin improvement and revenue growth.

By Anh Duc

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