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Frost & Sullivan has assessed the digital transformation in the paints and coatings industry and, based on its findings, recognises AkzoNobel with the 2023 Global Company of the Year Award.
AkzoNobel constantly evaluates ways to improve operations using more advanced and futuristic digital technologies. AkzoNobel collaborates with notable companies such as Microsoft to streamline the processes involved in research, manufacturing and delivering seamless and personalized digital customer experiences.
It was also the first in the industry to use drones for automated coating applications. AkzoNobel’s new, fully automated powder coatings plant in Taiwan enables it to reduce energy consumption by about 30%, increase water reuse by 60% and provide tailored solutions for its large customer base in the country.
AkzoNobel’s two augmented reality (AR) glasses helped the team in Singapore to oversee operations in Vietnam in real time to overcome challenges its employees faced because of travel bans during peak lockdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic. AkzoNobel has now integrated AR throughout its supply chain, enabling it to circumvent major hurdles posed by global supply chain disruptions. It also uses virtual reality (VR) technology for training in its aerospace coatings and vehicle refinish businesses. For its aerospace business, VR mimics the production environment at a customer’s facilities and immerses the trainee in a virtual paint booth. AkzoNobel is the only paints and coatings company that has implemented AR/VR technologies to this extent in operations and training.
Christeena Thomas, Global Program Manager, Chemicals, Materials & Nutrition, Frost & Sullivan, observed “AkzoNobel has carved a niche for itself as a trusted brand among customers through its vast network of facilities, including plants and centres for R&D, operations, sales, marketing, and distribution worldwide. It is the first company in the industry to make substantial investments toward digitally transforming the entire organisation.”
AkzoNobel is in a unique position to grow its digital capabilities across touchpoints such as websites, apps and eCommerce channels faster than competition because of its close relationship with customers. The company is taking a holistic approach and invests heavily in training and upskilling its employees to ensure adoption and effective activation at the customers’ end. This approach has proven to be a great success by enabling it to stand much ahead of competitors in this industry. ‘Paint the Future’ is AkzoNobel’s global collaborative innovation ecosystem. It’s a bold initiative to accelerate, test, launch and scale ideas and solutions for the paints and coatings industry. Paint the Future runs a variety of programs to accelerate innovation. Initially open to startups, it was quickly expanded to embrace customers, suppliers and other value chain partners. AkzoNobel is also an industry pioneer in offering digitally enabled products to its paints and coatings customers.
“AkzoNobel’s offerings delight and satisfy customer needs before, during, and after purchasing paints and coating products from the company. It has also expanded its digitalization to include the automation of manufacturing and application of paints and coatings. AkzoNobel consistently acquires, serves, and delights its global customer base through such initiatives and products,” added Thomas. With its strong overall performance, AkzoNobel N.V. earns Frost & Sullivan’s 2023 Global Company of the Year Award in the paints and coatings industry.
Each year, Frost & Sullivan presents a Company of the Year award to the organisation that demonstrates excellence in terms of growth strategy and implementation in its field. The award recognises a high degree of innovation with products and technologies, and the resulting leadership in terms of customer value and market penetration.
Frost & Sullivan Best Practices awards recognise companies in various regional and global markets for demonstrating outstanding achievement and superior performance in leadership, technological innovation, customer service, and strategic product development. Industry analysts compare market participants and measure performance through in-depth interviews, analyses, and extensive secondary research to identify best practices in the industry.