Sherwin-Williams Chooses a Big Blue Shade of Linux

Flexibility Key to Paint Company Relying on IBM for its Store Technology infrastructure

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CLEVELAND - 23 May 2002: Sherwin-Williams today announced it has chosen IBM to provide the store technology infrastructure for the company's more than 2,500 stores in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico in what is one of the first and largest deployments of the Linux open source operating system in a chain store environment.

The largest paint company in the U.S. is turning to IBM for the technology and services to support its customers in a multi-store environment, improve customer service and create an innovative, flexible front-end system and user-friendly experience.

By selecting IBM's portfolio of services, consulting and IBM NetVista personal computers running Turbolinux, Sherwin-Williams establishes the platform for future improvements, upgrades hardware and software without disrupting store operations, provides new in-store features such as e-mail, intranet browsing, and office productivity software and implements a fast and open platform for quick resolution of technical issues.

"Maintaining leadership in a competitive environment requires us to have flexible technical solutions, and to build a customer facing platform that can be easily integrated with our future and existing systems," said Bill Thompson, Director of Information Technology for Sherwin-Williams' Paint Stores Group. "The solution we've developed with IBM will help us do that."

The company worked with a Linux services team from IBM Global Services to design and integrate an in-store network that will consist of 9700 IBM NetVista M41 small desktop personal computers for all 2500-plus stores, all running Linux. In addition, all peripherals such as printers, scanners, cash drawers and switches will be Linux compatible, offering a flexible, open architecture that is easily adaptable with inventory and sales applications running on the Linux platform at workstations throughout the Sherwin-Williams chain. One desktop PC will serve as an in-store server and another as a manager's workstation, improving customer service by enabling accessibility to both servers and their respective applications from any workstation in the store.

Sherwin-Williams' paint tinting and color matching applications will also be tied into the network, enabling the formulas for custom paint blends to be filed and kept securely for the customer's next project. The Sherwin-Williams' Point of Sale and inventory applications will run in the Linux environment. Sherwin-Williams will be using IBM E74 color monitors, a 17-inch CRT monitor ideally suited for accurate display of colors and information.

Pilot installations have already taken place in stores in the Cleveland area. Main deployment will begin in July and completed by second quarter 2003. The Sherwin-Williams project team designed, engineered, and developed the overall solution. IBM Global Services will continue to provide Linux consulting, integration, project management, installation and OEM procurement.

"Linux is truly a business-friendly operating system that simplifies the technical infrastructure," said Patricia Gibbs, IBM vice president, Linux Services. "It can also seamlessly integrate and thus enhance the quality of service and relationships with all of a company's constituencies -- its customers, employees, vendors and suppliers. Sherwin-Williams understands this, and is installing Linux-based technology in a highly visible, mission-critical area because it provides open-ended flexibility for whatever the company wants to do next."

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