Monopol Colors as guest at the “Coatings Summit” in Miami
The Coatings Summit takes place every two years. It is jointly organised by the World Coatings Association and Vincentz Network and brings together the top representatives of the global coatings industry. It is held alternately in Asia, Europe and America.
In December, it happened again: this time in the USA, in Miami. The theme and content of the policy paper presented by the World Coatings Association was “Sustainability in the Global Paint & Coatings Industry”. This was also the subject of most of the lectures and statements.
Monopol Colors CEO Lionel Schlessinger was also present, but he spoke about a somewhat different kind of sustainability. Against the grain of the general tenor that one had found good ways to act in conformity with the environment and sustainability in the shortest possible time, Schlessinger spoke about a learning process that had hurt, but was unavoidable to get a company back on track. The fact that this learning process is Schlessinger’s own story and that the transformation relates to himself and his own company made the audience sit up and take notice.
Who likes to put their own misjudgement up for discussion?
Schlessinger’s sovereign lecture began by enumerating the difficulties and dangers of modern industries that exist everywhere and can be perceived with an alert eye and ear. These include possible disruptive innovations, the consequences of the Anthropocene with its climatic effects, the challenges of Industry 4.0, the metaverse, lockdowns and supply chain disruptions, the facts of the energy cost explosions as a result of the war of aggression in Ukraine and the dangers of overregulation in Europe and deindustrialisation.
How did Schlessinger meet these challenges? Like many company captains, he tried to react quickly and forgot about his company crew. As analogue people with brains 1.0, we are slow to get involved and enthusiastic about technology 4.0. The fast-acting company boss also had to learn this. Input had to come from the grassroots, the employees, and Schlessinger had to accept and embrace that. First of all, a vision was needed, then clearly defined and implementable corporate principles, on the basis of which the corporate culture then grew. A very communicative time began between boss and staff, which continues to this day, Lionel Schlessinger tells us.
The implementation lasted 2 years and was a prerequisite for being able to tackle changes in the product portfolio, which not only initiated new developments, but also successfully realised them. One of these projects and products has gone down in company and paint and lacquer history as “The Coolest White”. This is a paint that sustainably counteracts the heating up of cities by solar radiation.
In the end, Schlessinger says both modestly and optimistically: “We have not achieved everything we wanted. We have to keep changing and not lose sight of our vision. But we are well on the way to achieving it.” And with this he found the understanding agreement of all participants of the Coating Summit, from whose ranks one or the other might well have thought of their own experiences.