In the word of famous author Paul Byrant, “Winning doesn’t always mean first, winning means you are doing better than you have done before”.
Company of the year 2014
The journey to being Company of the year has been long and winding. It is a journey that began as a small outfit in 1958. Today, Crown enjoys an enviable position as East Afric’s leading Paint Company with factories, depots, distribution infrastructures and showrooms spread across Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, South Sudan, Rwanda, Ethiopia and Congo DRC. The company currently produces over 2.3.million litres of paint and has an impressive turnover of Kshs. 5.3 Billion. It is the only paint company listed in the Nairobi Security Exchange, the largest bourse in East and Central Africa.
Human resource is Crown’s largest asset.”In every market where we operate, we recruit only the best candidates, and continuously improve their capacities through training and other exposures. We are proud to have an excellent team”, says Hussein Ramji, the company’s vice-chair.
The company has anchored itself along three pillars; quality, innovation and distinction. It has put in place customer-facing systems and structures to ensure total customer delight through products and unique consumer experiences. It is no surprise therefore that in just one evening, Crown became the first paint company in Kenya to win the prestigious Company of the Year Award (COYA), CEO of the year award, Leadership and Management Award, and Productivity Award â€“ all which Rakesh Rao, the Group CEO attributed to teamwork and partnerships. â€œThese awards set the pace for transformation of this organization from good to greatness,” says Rao.
Quality and Productivity
Crown’s passion for quality ensures only the best of products are released to the market. All products are subjected to rigorous research and development. The board of directors is clear on one thing; Crown paints have to have low Volatile Organic Compounds (low VOC), must be environmentally friendly. This philosophy has seen the emergence of innovative products that meet the highest international standards. For instance, Crown Medicryl is an anti-bacterial emulsion that when applied in hospitals, kindergarten and public places fights bacteria, fungi and algae â ensuring healthier environments for mothers, newborns and children.
Crown Matt Emulsion, is an initiative by Crown Paints in partnership with United States-based DuPont Chemicals. The move essentially brought to market the first-ever surface protector ideal for hiding surface imperfections and enhancing wall wash ability. â€œCrown Paints is the first company in this region to bring surface protector to paint consumers in Kenya and which reinforces our commitment to innovation, quality products, and customer satisfactionâ€, says Rao.
In the recent wake of unfortunate fire disasters that cost organizations lives and millions in monetary values, the company introduced another first in the market; Crown Timonox is a fire retardant paint that slows down the spread of fire to allow for evacuation of persons and emergency fire responsiveness.
In October 2014, Crown introduced Crown Ultraguard silicone paint, using technology from the Wacker Company in Germany. According to Mr Rao, â€œThis unique product is designed to suit the Kenyaâ€™s diverse weather conditions. It is suitable for the Kenyan environment because itâ€™s withstands extreme weathers. In addition, it gives surprisingly self-cleaning properties, which does not allow dirt to settle on the painted surface. These high-end (self-cleaning and breathing) properties help in reducing the maintenance cost of the building.â€
Leadership and Management
The citation of Rakesh Rao as CEO of the Year 2014 is clear manifestation of the effective leadership at the helm of the organization. This announcement comes close on the heels of Mr. Raoâ€™s nomination as CNBCâ€™s
This year Crown Paints was among the first manufacturing firms to be awarded, a mark of identity by Brand Kenya Board (BKB). The mark of identity, titled A Touch of Kenya was developed by BKB to enhance the competitiveness of Kenyaâ€™s products and services.
In November 2014, Crown joined a handful of organizations certified with OHSAS 18001:2007 International standard for Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems that promote healthy and safe working Environments by setting out international best practices â€“ helping organizations manage and control risks, and continuously improve performance. The certification recognizes companies that link business objectives with operating effectiveness.Â Recipients of this certification demonstrates ;Effective implementation of documentation and records management, Top managementâ€™s commitment to the safety, health and well-being of their employees, Establishment of clear HSE policy and practice, Good planning and implementation, Good resource management, Efficient health and safety control, measurement, Preventive action and an institutionalized process for continual improvement. The certification provides evidence to customers, suppliers, employees and the community of Crownâ€™s commitment to a healthy and safe working Environment.
Mid this year, Crown Paints commissioned a Ksh300 million paint factory in Kisumu County, the first of its kind outside Nairobi. The factory will manufacture various paint products and its first production of water based paints is expected to be ready in 2015.
As the market leader, crown has taken manufacturing to retail by investing in state-of-the-art showrooms across East Africa. Described by Waweru Gathecha, Architectural Association of Kenya (AAK), as the â€œultimate designer labâ€, these showrooms showcase fashion and design. They are manned by qualified interior designers and have visualizers that can be used by customers to simulate room sets before making purchase decisions.
Finally, throughout 2014, Crown Paints Kenya Limited sponsored several CSR opportunities to uplift livelihood of less unfortunate people in the society. From music to arts, environment to education, health and hospitality, Crown Paints took a bold move to invest in unusual sectors. The firm is committed to supporting societies and enhancing the environment in which it operates in.