14-inch Roller System Hits the Productivity Sweet Spot

Innovative Purdy® product helps painters get more done

The Purdy 14-inch Roller System, now complete with 14-inch roller covers in all your favorite fabric constructions, is maneuverable, durable, lightweight, and is configured in size and shape to maximize painter productivity and minimize overall painter fatigue.

Like many new product innovations, the 14-inch roller system is partially the result of Purdy and Sherwin-Williams listening to painting contractors talk about their pain points and needs. Such insight results in a wide variety of productive solutions that maximize your business’s performance and profitability. But as with other Purdy innovations, this one is as much the result of watching painters work as it is listening to them talk about it.

“If you ask a painter, ‘What’s the most challenging part of your job?’ they may say something about not having enough time in their day, but they don’t really have a specific answer,” says Sherwin-Williams Senior Product Manager Connie McKinney. “They’re always finding a way to be more productive, put more time in their day, and work around whatever challenge they have. That’s what they do. They’re resilient.

“So we don’t get told, ‘Please make this specific product with these features.’ But we can watch them work, interact with them at the jobsite, learn from what we see, and design products based on what we learn.”

McKinney reports that a busy team of Purdy and Sherwin-Williams sales representatives and technical product managers “have their ear to the ground” and are regularly in the field, interacting with painters and sharing their observations. Both in observation and conversation, the pain point contractors identified most frequently was dealing with a labor shortage and the resulting inability to get work done as quickly and efficiently as they would like.

While Sherwin-Williams does offer resources such as the Employer Resources Board to help contractors address hiring challenges, field personnel also turned their attention to how the tools contractors were using could improve productivity. They noted that most painters were using 9-inch roller frames and covers. From there grew discussion about using 18-inch rollers, a popular choice that essentially doubles paint coverage per stroke.

However, an 18-inch roller frame configuration requires an arm on both ends of the roller cover, reducing access and maneuverability in tight spots, such as around trim and window frames. And there was some concern about the weight of the 18-inch applicator.

The sweet spot that offered high-level productivity and maximized access for many painters, it appeared, was somewhere near the middle of the 9- and 18-inch roller systems.

“We started asking people about a 14-inch,” McKinney says. “What if we could give you the frame that had the open side, providing the maneuverability you require, while also improving your coverage and productivity by 55 percent?*

“Increased productivity, maneuverability, not as heavy, plus it fits between possible bows in the drywall and provides an even finish with studs that are 16 inches apart – all of a sudden, their interest was really piqued. And when we said, by the way, you can get White Dove™, Marathon™, Colossus™ — whatever fabric was their favorite — in that roller cover as well, we were checking all the boxes for them.”

The entire product development process was similar to the one that brought the Purdy Painter’s Backpack to market, according to McKinney.

“The backpack came about because we were watching people in the field and they were running back and forth to their van multiple times a day to get tools they had forgotten,” she says. “And we learned from talking to people who take mass transit and asking them how they got their tools from home to the jobsite. From that input, we designed the backpack.

“That’s what we do. We go out in the field and we talk with painters, but we also watch them. And the result is products that improve productivity, such as the Purdy 14-inch Roller System.”

*Compared to average completion time using the Purdy 9-inch roller and frame