PCI Magazine just launched two new features on our website, www.pcimag.com. The first is a section called “EU Today,” which houses technical articles, company and industry news, and events from Europe. If you are looking for information specifically from coatings suppliers and manufacturers in the European Union, click on the EU Today tab on our home page to find out more. The second new feature is a blog called Industry Insights. I often receive emails from members of our industry with interesting insights and opinions, and this blog has become a place for these views to be heard.

The first blog in this series is an open letter from Mike Reed, General Manager of US Coatings, to independent sales reps. It discusses how independent sales people in the industrial coatings arena are becoming something of a dying breed, as large coatings manufacturers strive to bring them on board as company employees, or establish small facilities in their operational areas for dealers to operate from. Both scenarios have the effect of pushing individual sales people to the side or absorbing them into low-paying positions with almost non-existent sales incentives. Money saved on the sales side compensates for the huge overhead required to maintain a global brand.

Reed suggests an alternative, independent sales model that keeps all of the manufacturing capabilities without the overhead that comes with putting the brand name above everything else. Lower operating costs allow for higher commissions, which, in turn, attract a more driven, talented sales force.

 I would be interested to hear your thoughts on Reed’s opinions, which you can view at www.pcimag.com/blogs. Be sure to add your comments in the space provided at the bottom of the page. Or, feel free to send me your industry insights. I am hoping that this blog space will become a way for people throughout our industry to share their ideas and experiences. Your views may be featured in an upcoming blog!