TW Special Report
Fast fashion means a new trend every week. But fashion can only be as fast as the supply chains that support it. In the fast-paced textile industry, businesses increasingly rely on digitalization to make their supply chains more efficient. Although fashion thrives on the thrill of color, color development often remains a tedious process. This makes the road from design to production very long and can lead to substandard results. This is precisely where Switzerland-based natific AG comes in. With smart software solutions and professional services, the company helps customers digitize their color results, shorten development cycles by four to six weeks, improve color quality — and make sure color stays thrilling.
“As part of Global Sourcing, our Color team manages the color approval process,” said Carol T. Revels, senior manager of Color & Fabric Operations at Dodgeville, Wis.-based Lands’ End. “In the past, the management consisted of a manual process of emails, spreadsheets, and data re-entry across disconnected systems. In partnering with natific, we have a centralized and integrated color management solution to communicate with our suppliers and internal cross-functional partners. The efficiency gains allowed the business to scale up product offerings to our customers, meaning increased color development, with no increase in headcount and no decrease in color quality.”
“Working with natific systems and certifications has improved our communication with suppliers, reduced time spent on tedious tasks, reduced our reliance on email communication, improved our historical record keeping, and standardized our submit and approval documentation,” reported Marielle Newman, color analytics manager at Baltimore-based Under Armour.
The fashion industry is increasingly digitalizing product development, thereby shortening lead times and reducing costs long-term. But it often neglects the color development process along the way, and that can be a critical mistake: “The traditional color approval process is quite laborious. Time gained from other digital efficiencies is quickly lost — and unforeseeable color differences between original samples and production are a common occurrence. Digitalization means more than just defining a digital Pantone® or CSI® standard for a supplier,” pointed out Christoph Bergmann, responsible for sales/marketing and senior partner at natific AG. “With our software and our years of dye house know-how, the textile industry gets precisely the colors it specifies, avoiding compromises caused by lack of time. This is also the message we’ve embodied in our slogan: Let’s make your color right!”
natific ColorWarehouse – Real-Time Color Management System
In order to provide customers with a platform for monitoring color production in real-time, natific developed its ColorWarehouse. This industry-first B2B software solution ensures high precision and reproducible color results for both brands and suppliers. All color data from the supply chain are transferred to a cloud-based system for central information management. Designers no longer need to send physical color samples or make visual assessments. In addition, there are fewer surprises when colors are off-shade or show metamerism. Dye houses actually self-approve colors when they are within tolerance. Key performance indicators (KPIs) can be benchmarked across different mills, services tracked and monitored, and quality issues minimized. Development cycles are shortened by an average of four to six weeks while color quality is elevated.
Beyond production monitoring functionalities, the system enables strategic supply chain management. Solid indicators help identify key performers and facilitate decision-making that supports supply chain optimization.
ASAP: The Analysis Tool For Generation 2.0 Color Managers
Another innovative product from natific AG is ASAP, a B2B platform for digital and physical color development that helps brands and affiliated suppliers efficiently achieve the greatest possible color accuracy. Based on a brand’s color standards, the system tracks key indicators for digital and physical color matching as well as for evaluating a supplier’s quality and delivery performance. This gives retailers and brands reliable information about whether and by when suppliers can execute a desired colorway, print or pattern. Suppliers, on the other hand, can optimize their dye formulas and reduce or completely eliminate lengthy lab dipping processes by using digital color approvals. In short, ASAP tells customers very clearly how accurately a supplier can produce a given color for a given material before going into production.
Fully Integrated For Precise Color Results
In contrast to traditional platforms that solely provide digital color data to suppliers, ASAP works by enabling a two-way interactive exchange between brands and their suppliers. The platform’s ability to seamlessly integrate into existing IT infrastructures, such as Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) or Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), ensures smooth communication. Traditional data management based on the exhange of emails and Excel sheets can be eliminated. ASAP is the perfect way for textile and apparel companies to start digitizing their colors and create sustainable color processes for the future.
August 16, 2019