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Harris Paints: The Caribbean Champions of Colour

June 28, 2012


Colour is the essence of life. It enriches beauty and spawns creativity; and at Harris, their paints present a world of colours to explore.

As it celebrates its 40th anniversary this coming September, Harris Paints Limited continues to satisfy the needs of its customers through product evolutions and the guarantee of a high standard of service. Harris Paints Limited is one of the largest paint companies in the region, and is the region’s exclusive technical partner of Akzo Nobel; the leading paint company in the world. The company possesses an International Standard of Organization (ISO 9001 – 2008) certification for its high level of Quality Management.  In its strides for continuous growth, the company acquired B-H (Brandram Henderson) Paints West Indies Ltd in Jamaica, in 2006, which observed its 50th anniversary in November 2011.

Mrs. Marguerite Desir, Senior Vice President of the Human Resource department for the region, and Head of the Business Units of Harris Paints Limited in St. Lucia and Dominica, stands confidently behind Harris Paints products, stating that “the company not only sells paint but sells solutions as well.” What exactly does she mean? She elaborates by stating that the company lives and breathes high standards of service, which is evident in the provision of before and after-sales services to its valued customers. Customers receive a personalized and reliable service, and when the situation renders it necessary, Harris comes to the rescue at home, at the office or wherever its expertise is required. This process entails the visit of a Harris Paints representative to the client in order to assess the magnitude of the task to be completed, and to provide information on available options.  In essence, customers receive a superior service through education on the products they wish to purchase, provision of initiatives, and assistance in making informed and satisfactory decisions.

The company prides itself on being a “one stop shop for all your coating needs,” selling a complete range of products under both the Harris and international brands, in addition to supplying its clientele with over 6,000 paint colours and custom colour matching.  Harris Paints has manufacturing plants and company stores in 5 business units, namely Jamaica, Dominica, St Lucia, Barbados and Guyana and also sells its products through over 1,000 dealers spread over 15 islands across the region. Proof of Harris Paints’ quality is evident by the demand for its products in countries where there are no company stores, such as St. Maarten, St. Kitts, Nevis, Anguilla, Antigua and Grenada—whose market demand is satisfied by neighbouring Dominica.

Harris’ quality products have received regional and worldwide recognition through their diverse uses in all sectors.  Some of their renowned projects include being featured on “Design Style” in St Lucia, where their paints adorn the island’s Government House.  Harris Paints has also been the product of choice for “Design Style” in home renovation projects in neighbouring Martinique.  Its guarantee of a quality product has afforded the company opportunities to embark on many other projects including the newly built St Lucia National Hospital, the beautification of the car park at Baywalk Mall, Serenity Park in Castries, through the use of its Troweltex coatings, and the application of their high performance coatings on the roof of the Sandals Grande hotel.

With Harris Paints, the possibilities are infinite, as different lines of products are available to meet the budget and needs of every customer. With the aim of fulfilling its purpose of bringing long-lasting, superior visual delight to customers, new products are continually introduced by Harris, with plans for a major series of new product launches within the next year that will continue to ensure the products on offer are market leading with respect to innovation and quality. The company also prides itself on ensuring Safety, Health and preservation of the Environment (SHE) and every effort is made to ensure that standards in these areas are maintained. Harris Paints Barbados is currently a Green Business awardee, having been the first and only company to attain Tier 2 of a national initiative, based on the Green Business Barbados footprint rating system. Harris Paints Barbados has shown commitment to applying green business measures to their operations and management systems and is leading the way to a greener future for local businesses as an environmentally and socially responsible corporate entity. Once the other islands where Harris has operations introduce the Green Business initiative, Mrs. Desir is confident that all the Harris operations would be in a position to obtain this prestigious Green Business Award through their current practices.  Harris, as an environmentally friendly company, ensures the proper disposal of its waste products through the establishment of their own disposal plants.  Safety is an essential aspect and is not compromised for profit. All products are subject to constant testing conducted throughout the region.

Late in 2011, the Harris Ulttima range of products was determined by laboratory work to be “best by test” in several categories including colour accuracy, washability, and ease of application.

As the success of the company is achieved through the holistic efforts of the team, Harris Paints deems itself a staff-oriented company that motivates and supports its workers. The company offers bonuses, recognition and incentives to employees who have gone above and beyond the call of duty. In the face of difficult economic times, Harris is very proud of being able to maintain its current staff ratio, as many other companies are making positions redundant.  Mrs. Desir describes the Managerial board as being reasonable and understanding. This in itself is essential for the maintenance of high employee morale and motivation.   Harris is an employer of choice, which is evidenced by their many long term members of staff and by the constant flow of applications they receive from across the region and also from the international labour market to join its talent pool.

In this competitive market, Harris is able to stand esteemed and satisfied with its many accomplishments. At the St. Lucia Manufacturers Association Awards this past February, Harris took home five awards: three Diamond Awards for Leadership, Product and Customer Service Quality and Implementation of Standards and Best Practices as well as two Platinum Awards, one of which falls in the category of Human Resource Development and Social Responsibility.

When asked about the key to the company’s success, Mrs. Desir proudly affirmed that they are always learning and growing, accepting correction and taking heed of the errors of others in the market, as they aspire to offer a great product to their customers.

And for the future? The company intends to grow and also introduce other brands across the region whilst providing continuous improvement in all areas of its business especially its high standard of service. Mrs. Desir reiterates: “we pride ourselves on our service; we want it to be second to none.” The constant emphasis on quality service combined with the provision of a superior product are the flagstones of Harris Paints which pave the way for a promising future. (PR)


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