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A Case Study Examining the Benefits of
Digital Color Management in the Paint Industry
By Rik Mertens, Global Applications Manager, Datacolor, Lawrenceville, NJ
The adoption of digitalization within the paint and coatings industry has accelerated significantly since 2020. Pandemic-fueled market shifts highlighted digital color management’s role as an essential part of winning in today’s competitive space. As a result, companies are rapidly embracing digital workflows to increase customer satisfaction by ensuring accurate color matching. Digital solutions also benefit paint retailers and manufacturers by streamlining color development, improving quality control, cutting costs and increasing sustainability.
Take, for instance, the paint and coatings experts from Crown Paints, a United Kingdom-based paint company with over 140 Crown Decorating Centers located throughout the U.K. and Ireland, along with a manufacturing site in Hull, U.K. Crown Paints is the perfect example of a company that has set an industry-wide benchmark through its implementation of progressive digital solutions to establish color accuracy from initial product development to point of sale (POS).
The Value of Digitalization
Crown Paints prides itself on consistently meeting the high standard of excellence expected by its customers, who rely heavily on the knowledge of its color experts. To maintain and expand its reputation as a color matching leader, the company keeps a close eye on advancements in digital color management technologies to meet the changing needs of customers.
Speed to market is critical in today’s world, and inaccurate color measurements can delay production, increase environmental waste and lead to unnecessary business costs. An integrated digital color management workflow avoids these obstacles by building an effective color control process guaranteeing quality, consistency and customer satisfaction. Implementing digital color management solutions ensures accurate color matching from start to finish.
For these reasons, Crown Paints decided to invest in new modern color matching solutions, upgrading its POS software and installing a top-of-the-line colorant system to establish color consistency throughout the production process. Through this process, the company found that true success hinged on the development of a long-term partnership ensuring access to top-of-the-line technology, the highest level of color expertise, and exceptional customer service and support.
Ensuring Color Consistency Across the Supply Chain
At Crown Paints, the adoption of an enhanced system ensuring accurate color matching was multifaceted, involving the phased rollout of both a new colorant system and new POS software across its retail centers.
At the same time, the company set out to upgrade the digital workflow in its lab environment. This ongoing effort to optimize operations in the lab backend and on the POS frontend removed extra steps between color development and POS, saving time and increasing ease of use for both employees and customers.
The efficiency provided by digitalization was especially helpful for Crown Paints stores with benchtop color measurement tools already in place. Customers with access to spectrophotometers at POS now have multiple ways to look up paint colors quickly and easily.
To accommodate trade and retail paint customers, Crown Paints continues to invest in curated portable color measurement equipment to help ensure success.
Investing in Portability
Since the needs of Crown Paints customers vary widely, the company focuses on investing in both mobile and benchtop tools. Crown Paints customers typically fall into three different bands: low-volume, mid-volume and high-volume. Company leadership agrees that spectrophotometers fit the needs of high-volume customers, while portable tools typically work well for low-volume customers.
Portable solutions have also proven effective for Crown Paints’ mid-volume customers, who benefit from the use of cost-efficient color identification tools with excellent accuracy. For example, trade customers can use portable color measurement equipment to match colors in-store rather than transporting physical samples off-site to determine color accuracy.
Investing in new, portable color matching technologies helps Crown Paints stand out in the marketplace, attract and retain customers and meet rising demand for high-quality paint matching and on-the-go convenience. Company leaders strongly believe that the key to profitability is understanding customer needs. By making state-of-the-art benchtop and mobile tools available at its retail centers Crown Paints is delivering on what customers want, while leading in the U.K. market.
Lessons Learned and Best Practices
Having superior color matching technology in place is much more than a worthwhile consideration. In today’s competitive field it is the key to business growth. Upon reflection, Crown Paints leaders can easily point to their custom color matching capabilities as what set them apart and allowed them to win business in the past.
To ensure future company and customer success, Crown Paints experts intend to continue setting the bar for competitors by carefully monitoring new color management technologies with stand-out accuracy and custom matching capabilities.
Throughout its implementation and ongoing use of digital color management tools and software, Crown Paints’ team has also come to appreciate the importance of global customer support, not only to resolve issues with digital instruments and software, but also to offer employee training and support in the lab. Since there will always be hiccups in the color development process, the presence of a reliable partner available to assist around the clock is critical.
Looking Ahead at the Latest Advancements
Many companies, like Crown Paints, have come a long way by implementing a fully digital approach to color management. Crown Paints will undoubtedly continue providing customers with innovative solutions through new investments as digital color management technology advances.
As the paint and coatings industry adapts to new and existing global challenges, the necessity of digital solutions will only intensify. Today’s companies would be wise to proactively search for new ways to increase efficiency and agility in the changing market.
Learn more about this Productivity & Color Management Case Study.
*Photos courtesy of Datacolor.