For Excelsior Paint, traditions and values began serving the company when Walter Rauner, a German immigrant, opened the business in 1937. Since then, Excelsior has only had three owners and retained the pillars on which in was founded. It’s a rare thing in today’s economic climate to find a business where growth didn’t mean having to give up its family traditions, values, and strengths.
Today, Excelsior bears little resemblance to the company opened and cherished by Rauner. It has grown exponentially, has a sophisticated production line, its own paint laboratories, chemists and technicians for quality control and boasts a national footprint.
However, it is still a family-owned business. Ron Lawson controls all day-to-day aspects of the business, son Guy keeps a watchful eye on production quality and daughter, Kim, steers the finances. Excelsior Paint might possibly be the longest-established, family-owned, independent paint company in South Africa and is crossing South Africa’s borders for growth.
“Our independence and small, focused family team mean that decisions are made and implemented quickly. If you want a decision, you get a decision; there is no middleman,” says Ron, explaining that this has helped the business to anticipate and meet market trends in the ever-changing coatings market.
The company, which was recently awarded the accolade of ‘Best Paint Supplier for 2016’ by DIY Trade & Industrial News, has recorded many highlights under the Lawson family banner. These include:
- The founding of the Dealer Protection Network
- Increased dealer margins
- A full range of decorative and industrial coatings
- Constant quality control to ensure the highest quality on all manufactured products
- The expansion and modernisation of manufacturing facilities
- The expansion of operations through logistics, warehousing across the country
- Product presence in South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, Swaziland, Lesotho, Namibia and Zambia.
“One of our main principles is that we will continue to deal specifically with independent hardware retailers and build personal relationships with them. Keeping them competitive means offering a full range of quality paint products for their customers,” says Ron Lawson, adding, “Our commitment is outlined in our unique Dealer Network Protection Plan, which guarantees that the company will not compete with its own network of dealers by selling Excelsior products direct to the public.”
“The Dealer Network Protection Plan also reflects our belief that strong partnerships are built on an understanding that fair margins and realistic profits are the keys to keeping business relationships solid for all involved in the value chain,” says Ron.
“For the paint manufacturer 2017 is, therefore, a year of celebrating ongoing independence, strong growth, and keeping family and quality at the centre of everything,” he says.
Whilst following its unique business commitment, the company has expanded to the point where company administration, sales, warehouse, and logistics have been relocated to Industria West. The new facility ensures that the company can easily accommodate future growth and is able to process customer requests within a guaranteed ‘factory-floor-to-dealer-door’ turnaround time.
As a producer of a wide range of water-based, solvent-based products, wood finishes, waterproofing and a wide selection of Enviro-friendly products, Excelsior believes that quality is just as important as a wide product range. That’s why its products for the industrial and domestic sectors adhere to stringent quality requirements.
“We were one of the first independent producers to embrace international standards that match and are approved by the South African quality authorities. We keep pace with changes and developments within the industry through Excelsior’s access to the American Guild’s Color. This is a system which, among other things, predicts colour trends at least 12 to 18 months in advance of their entry into the market. We are, therefore, always on-trend with our products and colour ranges, keeping ahead of the ever-changing colour curve that consumers follow,” says Ron.
Looking to the future
“Eighty years of success should guarantee an easy future, but this is not the case,” emphasises Ron, adding, “Companies that rest on their laurels are doomed to ultimately fail,” he says.
“The retail environment is constantly changing, and with it comes products changes dictated by the buying public. What will remain the same, hopefully for decades to come, is Excelsior’s dedication to our dealers, the provision of quality, and a commitment to competitive pricing- elements that will ensure that for Excelsior dealers the products, prices, and margins are always right. We look forward to an exciting future,” he concludes.
For more information, call 011-474-1900
Author: Guy Lawson