QUESTION AND ANSWER SESSION WITH NEIL ABRAHAMS

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February 1, 2023

QUESTION AND ANSWER SESSION WITH NEIL ABRAHAMS

Neil Abrahams is Territory Sales Manager – South Africa Automotive Finishes Division for the Sherwin-Williams Company. He recently sat with Automotive Refinisher to give us a more in-depth look into their products, training, back-up support and much more.

Q Which products do you have available in South Africa and what types of customer businesses do they support?

A Our portfolio features world-class premium offerings in the DeBeer Refinish and Octoral brands that include water-based and solvent-based systems.  To further complement our portfolio, we offer a comprehensive Prospray system, as well as our Spralac ancillary product range. All products have been well received in the market as we continue to focus on delivering operational and labour optimisation benefits that end users enjoy.

It’s worth noting that each individual product has been developed in our state-of-the-art research and development facility in the Netherlands. Our solutions have been tested to the highest standards – both as individual products and as part of complete refinishing systems – to meet and exceed the market’s requirements. Our customers can benefit from the broad availability of these brands delivered by a trusted distribution network. They can also take advantage of our key after-sales and technical support critical to body shops and the repair industry.

Q What kind of training options do you offer to your customers?

A At Sherwin-Williams, training is a foundational component of our business model and the philosophy we adhere to at all our global locations. As a result, our South Africa teams frequently travels to the Sherwin-Williams Regional Training Centre in the Netherlands to enhance their on-the-job skills and knowledge on anything from new energy-efficient solutions and smart tools to best practices for repairing electric and ADAS vehicles. This ongoing education allows us to extend our world-class expertise through local training sessions both at our South Africa Training Centre and at customer sites, helping end users increase body shop efficiencies at those locations.

We regularly include our distributors’ technical staff and painters in training sessions to keep them abreast of technology and product advancements.  We provide train-the-trainer programmes to ensure that technical expertise is available through our distributor partner locations.

As a forward-looking organisation, we are very focused on expanding our web-based and virtual training options. That includes providing businesses and customers access to e-learning programmes related to product, application, eco-friendly solutions, best practice repairs, and business management tools.

Q What are some of the ways Sherwin-Williams supports the local automotive refinish market?

A Sherwin-Williams offers comprehensive logistic and technical support to our customers in South Africa. We provide all our brands through distributors who have extensive and knowledgeable teams to support customers. We complement our distributor network with a strong, strategically based Sherwin-Williams team of technical experts and commercial staff.

In addition, our local team is backed by the world-class industry and product expertise of a large global organisation when it comes to product development, colour formulas and tools, customer service and marketing.

Q What are the key issues you see in the automotive refinish market that your solutions can help address or remedy?

A One of the most pressing issues we’re all facing is the limited supply and high cost of energy in South Africa. Sub-optimal spraybooth utilisation is one of the highest energy drivers for a body shop. That’s why Sherwin-Williams is committed to providing body shops with sustainable solutions designed to create an efficient refinishing process that saves time and energy. The technology used in a number of our products significantly cuts baking time, and we offer air-drying and UV drying as a non-baking alternative.

Q What are other significant developments you’ve seen in the market and how are you responding to those?

A One development we’ve seen in the past few years is digitisation in all aspects of car refinish, including a shift to electric cars and ADAS systems used in vehicles. Obviously, these changes require an adjustment in the application process.

More digital tools are also being used in body shops. In addition to digital colour tools, such as advanced colour retrieval systems and spectrophotometers, you see expanded digitisation during the mixing process. To support our customers in this overall platform shift, Sherwin-Williams continues to understand and develop tools to improve labour efficiency.

Classic COrner & REStoration

Classic cars are the next big investment. As such the sector of restoration is growing in the realms of collision repair and it’s definitely the “sexier” side of the business. There are many opportunities to create exotic special-builds as well as keep timeless beauties in mint condition.

DRIVEN

With three motoring-journalists on our staff, we are able to test drive and review some of the latest models available on our roads as well as attend the latest model launches.

TRAINING

Knowledge is power. Training is key to up-skilling repairers as models launch onto our local roads faster than we can count. We also need to grow new talent into the collision repair industry. Courses are available to help and organisations are in place to train - this information is in Industry Index.

classic corner & resoration

Classic cars are the next big investment. As such the sector of restoration is growing in the realms of collision repair and it’s definitely the “sexier” side of the business. There are many opportunities to create exotic special-builds as well as keep timeless beauties in mint condition.

Driven

With three motoring-journalists on our staff, we are able to test drive and review some of the latest models available on our roads as well as attend the latest model launches.

TRAINING

Knowledge is power. Training is key to up-skilling repairers as models launch onto our local roads faster than we can count. We also need to grow new talent into the collision repair industry. Courses are available to help and organisations are in place to train - this information is in Industry Index.

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