Useful background information about digital color communication
In the early days – the first adopters of digital color communication
Pacific Textiles in China was one of the first adopters of right-first-time dyeing. Pacific Textiles used and accepted digital color standards from a retail brand (Marks & Spencer) and achieved self-approval status. Self-approval status means that the supplier is able to self-approve lab dips and no longer need to submit lab dips to brands.
The result? Shorter production lead time and lower costs.
Pacific Textiles applied the M&S standard method of working for all their customers (whether they asked for it or not). It was at the heart of their business, it was in fact “the only way the business could operate”.
Pacific Textiles ran the M&S method internally, sending color difference printout forms to their customers. It worked and everyone was happy. Pacific had one quality standard method of working internally and the customers were happy with the results.
A second player
Textured Jersey United Kingdom (TJ) operated in a similar way. Although TJ and Pacific were competitors they worked in partnership. Both suppliers were instrumental in the development of M&S’s industry SOP and the correct commercial industrial color production tolerances that were acceptable and achievable.
This was tested imperially and modified over the years with industry feedback.
All this happened during a period in history when there were long lasting business relationships and many joint venture innovations and technology sharing. At this time, it was not unusual for suppliers to be with their brands for +10-20 years.
A great start, what happened?
The off shore sourcing changed to the East for lower price goods. Long term supplier partnerships were broken and supplier and country sourcing changes became the norm.
Customer’s behavior changed too with expectations of constant newness of product through frequent changes of color. Greater color variety with smaller orders has created new challenges that the dyers face today.
Quite often today brands have limited technical color knowledge within their head offices and with the teams that specify and approve color in head office or regional hubs. This naturally leads to a brands preference to see and approve everything.
Suppliers with a much greater level of knowledge and understanding of both visual and digital color remain trapped and limited, unable to gain full return from their investments in digital technologies dyeing capabilities. They have come to rely and want the security of the customer approval signature. It is difficult for the supplier to ask a brand to work differently and risk losing their customer.
As the partnerships and trust of the old days has passed, some dyers who want to go down the digital right-first-time dyeing and self-approval route will have a great fear of failing.
Individuals have the fear of being the leader of a project that may not work.
They want to try and improve their dyeing capability first before involving an external brand. They fear the transparency of their production to a brand while they are making improvements may lose them customer orders.
So, some dyers would want to carry out an improvement project internally before sharing with a partner brand.
MAS in Sri Lanka may fall into this category. Wanting to improve their internal processes and people skills before involving a brand.
MAS are considering going through the natific Color Accreditation Program (CAP) for total quality improvement benefits, seeing this as high value in its own right and their first step requirement. It will allow them to privately benchmark themselves against their competition.
Collaborate and create outstanding benefits
Digital color management adoption for fashion textiles has a proven return on investment for both the specifying retailer/brand and the production dyer. Maximum benefits are achieved when both partners are knowledgeable and apply agreed best practice.
- Sustained shorter lead times
- Lower costs
- Less administration
- Improved quality
- Contribution to sustainability goals
Even if only you are working knowledgeably and effectively with digital color you will still attain worthwhile measurable benefits, while being ready to capitalize on maximum return on investment when other partners become operational.
Are you scared of change?
Are you happy with your current color lead times, quality and the amount of time devoted to resubmissions, re-dyes, coordination, color continuity, and associated administration?
Change can seem scary and uncomfortable. Any successful transition from traditional visual to digital system must be made with controlled steps. While your business and future business strategy for managing color will be unique, there is no need to reinvent the wheel.
Partner with a company (read natific) that is recognized as the global innovation authority on textile color management technology, knowledge and services.
Execute the Smart Color Supply Chain step by step
Retailer & Brands, your step-by-step plan is available HERE
Vendors & Suppliers, your step-by-step plan is available HERE
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